A stag night prank goes wrong when the groom’s four friends arrange a macabre surprise for him. Disastrously they are involved in a fatal crash soon after. The best man and business partner of Michael the groom missed the stag night but must surely know what has happened to his best friend? Michael’s fiancee Ashley, his mother and sister are distraught.

The Brighton Police become involved, led by Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, whose own wife went missing eight years ago. He uses a mixture of diligent police work, hunches and even the paranormal! He comes across as a likeable down to earth policeman, who, although he has been promoted quickly, still keeps very much in touch with his police team. His relationship with his female boss is strained because he often uses psychics to help him make a breakthrough in a case.

DEAD SIMPLE is a fast paced thriller. Peter James’s previous books were traditional thrillers often based on the paranormal and medicine and his background of living in the USA and experience of film production are both very evident. The book’s plot twists and turns, it is often far fetched but always gripping, and keeps you involved right to the end.

The author spent some time researching with the Sussex Police and with the Brighton and Hove mortuary team and this knowledge comes across very effectively. It is a very impressive crime thriller series debut. I look forward to reading the second in this series – LOOKING GOOD DEAD – and I’m quite sure it will be a long running series.

Geoff Jones, England
March 2007