Dead Simple Paperback – Jan 20 2006
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.