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Dead Simple [Paperback]

Peter James
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 20 2006

It was meant to be a harmless stag night prank. A few hours later four of his best friends are dead and Michael Harrison has disappeared. With only three days to the wedding, Detective Superintendent Grace - a man haunted by the shadow of his own missing wife - is contacted by Michael’s beautiful, distraught fiancée, Ashley Harper. Grace discovers that the one man who ought to know Michael Harrison’s whereabouts is saying nothing. But then he has a lot to gain - more than anyone realizes. For one man’s disaster is another man’s fortune... Dead simple...

‘James has got the gift for turning mind-stretching subjects into novels that are irresistibly readable as well as utterly believable’ Robert Goddard

‘A brilliant idea, superbly crafted. A terrific page-turner’ James Herbert

‘A page-turner of a book with some terrifying twists... a very satisfying read’ George Baker, Inspector Wexford

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

British author James's far-fetched but terrifying thriller is the first of a new series featuring Det. Supt. Roy Grace. Michael Harrison, a successful real estate developer with a penchant for practical jokes, gets a horrible taste of his own medicine. As a prank, four of his friends bury Michael alive in a coffin equipped with a breathing tube and a bottle of whiskey and leave him, ostensibly for a couple of hours. But when their van crashes head-on into a truck and three of them are killed (the fourth dies later "in hospital"), Michael is trapped. His cell phone doesn't work, but he does have a two-way radio whose companion is in the hands of Davey, a mentally challenged young man who finds the phone near the scene of the accident. Grace, a detective with a taste for the supernatural (he uses mediums to help him solve crimes), gets on the case and discovers just how devious Michael's friends have been. The "buried alive" trope is undeniably powerful, and Grace shows promise as a hero—but the crime and the plot surrounding Michael's plight are just too cumbersome and transparent to really engage the reader.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

James, the executive producer of the recent film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, brings his filmic talent to a suspense tale that is almost excruciatingly easy to visualize. His opening premise is startlingly simple, that of the trickster tricked. Four friends celebrate one of their members' impending marriage by embarking on a pub crawl through several Sussex villages. What the groom-to-be doesn't realize is that his pals plan to play a payback prank on him by burying him alive (with a breathing tube and a walkie-talkie) for a couple hours. They leave the scene and are killed by an oncoming vehicle. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, assigned to investigate the missing-bridegroom case. Grace finds the case difficult, both because of the dearth of clues and because of his own wife's disappearance some years before. Achingly well plotted, with suspense that has no letup. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dying to Finish Dead Simple Nov. 12 2011
I didn't expect much of Dead Simple. I had never heard of it but it was part of the goody bag I received at the book blogger event that I attended recently. The author, Peter James, is also the director of the movie Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Ralph Fiennes. His Roy Grace series stars a detective by the same name who dabbles in the paranormal by regularly consulting psychics to help with unsolved murder cases.

Which may be a reason why his books are named Dead Simple, Look Good Dead, Not Dead Enough and Too-Dead-Easy-To-Make-Up-These-Unoriginal-Titles. But don't let the cheesy titles fool you, Dead Simple was a page turner. It's a fast read and I was dying to get to the end of it.

The story is about a bachelor party gone wrong where the groom ends up trapped in a coffin and buried alive. His prankster friends have all died in a car accident after burying him. If that doesn't make you want to keep reading, nothing will! Add a beautiful fiancee and a business partner that mysteriously didn't make it to the bachelor party and you have yourself a good story.

Roy Grace is a Brighton detective with a soft spot for a lot of things - psychics, children and women. If you've ever seen the British cop love interest from Bridesmaids, you've met Roy Grace. He's just not very macho but he is very loveable. His British slang confused me in the beginning but you get used to it pretty quickly. The book also ends with a car chase which would have been great on screen but in my opinion, car chases suck in a book.

Especially when you're dying to figure out if Grace will find the missing groom alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy plot but great book Feb. 3 2007
Kind of a strange plot, but the writer is good enough to make it believable and keep the reader turning the pages. I always love when an author puts a couple of credible but shocking plot twists in the book and Dead Simple has a few of these. This is the first book I have read by this author but I will definitely be seeking out others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One I had missed June 28 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great intro to the Roy Grace series. Thought, I had read all but the last two, but somehow I had missed the first one. So glad I could easily downloaded it to my reader from Amazon. As expected, it was a page turner. Can't say enough about Peter James's writing. Love all the details and the research makes it so real. Thank you
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy July 25 2013
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Book 1 in the Roy Grace series

My first experience reading this author was a most exciting one, a fascinating rollercoaster ride that kept me riveted through the pages from the very first line. The book is a page turner in the best sense of the word, a kind of cat and mouse game from beginning to end. This is a well-crafted and structured story, essentially a police procedural featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a faintly flawed hero who has a penchant for the supernatural. With a heavy dash of suspense and just a soupcon of psychics this fast paced and good plot is full of unexpected twists and turns and is refreshingly free of swearing and bad language. This book is definitely plot driven.

Told in the third person with short and catchy chapters, it opens giving you a chill down your back. Michael Harrison, in an outlandish bachelor party prank, is buried in a coffin on his stag night by his closest friends. On their way home, a horrific car crash kills the group that entombed him.

Detective Roy Grace is called to investigate the bizarre circumstances of this disappearance. While following the most rigorously police procedures he also seeks assistance of mediums to help him find Michael before it is too late. Then the chase is on and as reader we are plunged into one of those cliff-hangers we rarely see. Roy is a great character, sympathetic and intuitive and it is easy to warn to, the rest of the cast are as varied as can be. Close to the end, there is a car chase that is inventive and so entertaining that I was disappointed reaching the final moment of this most gripping story. I am looking forward the next installment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  72 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping! March 25 2006
By L. J. Roberts - Published on
This is a book one should start with plenty of time to finish it in one sitting. Gripping is the word which comes to mind. James' background as a screenwriter and producer are evident in his ability to create strong characters and relationships, his ear for dialogue, and the pacing of the story. James' previous books look to be more in the horror or psychological suspense category, where this is a solid police procedural. My one slight criticism is the authors years in Los Angeles show as I kept having to remind myself the book is set in England; the style is more American than British. But the good news is this is the first in a series. The second book, "Looking Good Dead," is due out soon and is on my "must buy" list.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you will need a seatbelt!! July 23 2006
By Barbara Cappucci - Published on
There are so many unexpected twists and turns you need a seatbelt!!! My jaw doesnt often drop when reading a book, but this one has done it. Ive read about three book from this author and always have my radar out for more, so when i saw this one i grabbed it!! Dont miss this book.....You will defintly be looking for more books by this author also. this is one of the books where you want the character to hear you yelling Do It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make up your mind Feb. 22 2011
By Srdjan Pesic - Published on
" Dead Simple" is a frustrating book. It starts with an interesting plot that quickly reels the reader in, continues as a police procedural, albeit with some supernatural elements, and ends as a cliche thriller.It seems that author couldn't make up his mind which way to go. So, he did it all and padded the book to 336 pages.
The weakest spot are the endlessly annoying cardboard characters.And writers neurotic need to repeat every point at least dozen times. Yes, we know that Ashley is seriously good looking, that Grace is traumatized with the dissappearance of his wife, that police officers have no life and etc. etc.Those few of us left in this world that still read books, usually get the point after third repetition. So, Mr. James knock it off. Hopefully the rest of the books in this series, and yes, I bought them all on blind trust, will overcome beginners neurosis and insecurity.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a thriller March 18 2006
By rgregg - Published on
This was my first Peter James book but it certainly will not be my last. This page turning thriller that starts off as a stag night stunt gone horribly wrong turns out to be far from what the reader expects. Roy Grace is one fine new lead character...flawed but determined, intelligent but superstisous..he will be one to be reckoned with.

Michael Harrison is a soon-to-be groom who is buried alive by his joker friends as a gag. A terrible road accident leads the reader to an assumption of where this thriller is headed. The reader will soon find out that he it completely wrong.

James creates distinctive players in this game of who is good and who has hidden motives. This is a pure definition of page turner.

The reader will imagine watching this on the screen with appropriate scary music and moments of great shock and surprise.

My only quibble with James is the insertion of a phsycic late in the story that detracts from a nearly perfect conclusion.

Despite that I would recommend this book to nearly anyone who enjoys a great page turner and doesn't mind a "late night can't put it down" piece of suspense.

I finished this book in a single day and you will too!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! Dec 28 2011
By Grammy Sal - Published on
I love British mysteries. I've read all of P.D. James', Colin Dexter's, Deborah Crombie's, and many, many more authors of the genre. This was my first by Peter James. Let me just say that it is now 2:30 in the afternoon and I just finished Dead Simple after picking it up for a "15 minute break" at 9 this morning. This was after reading until I fell asleep last night.

The plot is engaging and the characters believable. The story moves through many turns, some predictable but with an unexpected little twist at the end of each.

I am surprised at some of the low ratings. I certainly will recommend this book to my thriller-loving friends.
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