Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose, big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.

Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.

Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought in to investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the Publishers, Pan MacMillan for this review copy given in exchange for an honest review.

This book is Number 14 in the Roy Grace series.  To understand parts of the story you need to have read the other books in the series, but it can also be read as a standalone book.  For information, the book (and the majority of the series) is based in the Brighton area.

This book begins with Kipp Brown.  He’s a very successful and wealthy businessman, but he’s also a compulsive gambler who is on a major losing streak.  You would think things couldn’t get any worse, but when Kipp takes his son Mungo to a football match at Brighton & Hove Albion’s new stadium, Mungo disappears.  Kipp receives a ransom demand of £250,000 to get his son back alive.  Meanwhile, the new stadium is also under a threat of its own when a terrorist claims to have left a bomb.  Right in the middle of all the action if Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, who is also at the football match with his son.  Investigating both cases, Roy finds himself pulled into a dark criminal gang who will stop at nothing.

I love the Roy Grace series of books and have read every single one of them, so was excited to be given the opportunity to review the latest instalment.  It begins with all these little stories of different people.  They are not connected to each other, but you just know sooner or later all these stories are going to come together.  Kipp Brown is a compulsive gambler who is on the verge of losing everything.  Part of me wants to tut, raise my eyebrows and call him a silly man for risking everything, but as the book goes on I began to feel sorry for him and you realise he’s not really a bad man, just a desperate one.  I also loved the storyline of the bomb at the stadium, although scary to think of how easy it was to get one in there despite there being so much security to get past.

It’s absolutely wonderful to have Roy Grace back and is like welcoming back an old friend!  The book also has all the usual characters from the previous books, including Norman Potting who I have to admit is my favourite.  The storyline started well and carried on going strongly right to the end.  I’m obviously not going to go too deeply into the plot for fear of spoilers but I loved the way that this instalment featured mainly on the action and featured only a little of Roy’s personal life, unlike the last couple of books.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Roy and obviously his personal life has been a major part of the so many of the books but it is fantastic when the action is forefront as it is so cleverly written.  The plot was well researched and well described and it was nail-bitingly filled with suspense and tension!

I completely and utterly loved it.  It is Roy Grace and, of course, Peter James at his best.  It had me hooked from page one to the very end.  Highly, highly recommended!  Roll on Roy for book number 15!

Peter James is an international bestselling thriller writer. He is a New York Times bestseller, as well as having 11 consecutive Sunday Times No 1s, and he is published in 37 languages. His DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 18 million copies worldwide. Prior to becoming a full-time author, he was responsible for 25 movies. In 1994 Penguin published his novel, ‘Host’, on two floppy discs as the world’s first electronic novel. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence, and he was publicly voted by WH Smith – Britain’s biggest book selling chain – The Best Crime Author Of All Time. Visit Peter James on YouTube:

Dedicated to authenticity, Peter bases his books upon real life experiences he has witnessed through shadowing the Sussex Police and often uses their techniques in his novels. In researching Dead If You Don’t, Peter travelled to Albania to gain a better understanding of the roots of the 2,000 strong Albanian community in Brighton; investigated untraceable cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, that are commonly used to pay ransoms; and visited the pyrotechnic team behind the explosive Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson World Tour. Peter drew upon his connections with Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team to establish police procedure when faced with a kidnapping and shadowed the Amex Stadium security team to authentically plot out the kidnapper’s moves, although certain details have been omitted or altered to protect security measures.