March 2006

Dead Simple is a jarring book. It swivels and maneuvers like a slalom skier. James writing is so tight that as a reader you can’t help but follow where he is leading.

The book opens with a stag party. The groom to be has pulled pranks in the past and tonight he is in for a reversal. He buddies bury him alive. This would be horrible enough, but when the buddies all die in a drunken crash Michael is left in the ground with no one the wiser. His fiancé Ashley seems plenty broken up, but something isn’t quite right with her. And his business partner is a little too smooth. Detective Superintendent Grace is on the outs with his boss and needs to play things carefully, but when asked to help on this case he gets drawn in. Will they find Michael in time? Do his friends know more than they are saying?

Peter James is a very gifted writer and he kept me guessing with his relentless pacing and suspense. I would be reading what I thought was a lead into the climax, only to notice I was only half way through the book. This book is a gem.