Dead Simple (1) (Roy Grace) Paperback – June 5, 2014
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|Paperback, June 5, 2014||
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 11.8 ounces
- Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1447262480
- ISBN-10 : 1447262484
- Dimensions : 5 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Pan Books; New edition (June 5, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Before we are introduced to the protagonist, we first meet a motley collection of individuals apparently celebrating the stag night of one of their friends, Michael, by visiting a string of pubs. An odd start to a crime novel, perhaps, but then matters take a turn for the unusual. As a prank on groom to be Michael, someone who has a reputation for playing exaggerated jokes on his mates, and not a little in the vein of vengeance, the group arrive in the midst of a forest where they proceed to inter the drunken Michael in a coffin and then bury it. Events quickly evolve tragically, leaving Michael buried alive and no one apparently knowing where. So here we have a police drama where the cops are trying to locate the groom before he expires from lack of air.
Enter Roy Grace, a seasoned cop with baggage of his own. Several years before, his own wife went missing and he turned over every stone to locate her without success, including using several psychics to try to find her. Author James doesn’t leave us with this relatively simple mystery though. A couple of neat twists throw new light onto what is really happening, and so, the chase to prevent Michael’s murder is on.
I did enjoy this police procedural novel with its plethora of detail, too much at times, that anchored it firmly in the present day, whilst introducing almost comic contrasts through Grace’s reliance on his psychic friends. I will definitely be reading more of the fifteen Roy Grace novels in the future.
There were many things I liked about this story. First was the opening where Michael Harrison is entombed in a coffin and buried in the ground by his friends during a bachelor party. His friends are killed and no one knows about the prank. That alone made me shudder and worried about Michael. Add on top the details James adds making Michael’s situation worse, well I was flipping pages to find out if he was going to be found or be able to get escape on his own. Second was our protagonist Detective Superintendent Grace. I liked him and how James introduced him. We meet Grace as on his way to a date from a woman he met on internet dating site. I love seeing the personal life of character and James does a nice job showing how Grace thinks, his worries, and what kind of man he is. I also loved that as detective he uses Mediums to help with his cases. It’s nice twist to see a law enforcement officer that believes in supernatural help versus the scoffing you usually see from so many other’s in novels.
DEAD SIMPLE was a suspenseful read with quite a few unexpected twits and turns that was a fun read. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Then, something happened. I felt it at the time and hoped, beyond hope, that things would shift again, back to the way the first half was. But they didn't. It was almost as though the first and second halves were from two separate books, although the characters, for the most part, carried over. Would love to know what happened there, with the author and the writing. Among other things, the scenarios became truly over-the-top, and the wrap-ups of the characters didn't fufill any of my expectations. In any event, I have to say I was left with a bad taste in my mouth after the whole thing was over. Really a shame.
Top reviews from other countries
The first thing to know about this book is that if you are at all claustrophobic it may be difficult for you to read. I almost never finished the first chapter because, despite not being overly descriptive when the victim is shut in the coffin, it was still uncomfortable reading and I felt panicky. As the story progressed and returned to the victim in the coffin, it became easier to read so I'm glad I persisted.
Several reviews have mentioned that the book brings nothing new to the genre and it's the same tired old format as pretty much all the other Police procedural novels. I won't dispute that, but there's an obvious reason for that: if the novel's protagonist/investigator is curtailed by the confines of Police Procedures and legalities, so too is the story itself! The one difference in this book is that it begins not with a corpse, but with a live victim shut in a coffin, and the race is on to find him before he dies...
Despite not offering anything particularly original, I'd certainly class the book as a page turner - I picked up my Kindle to read this at every opportunity I got, wanting to know if the victim survived! The reason I've knocked a star off is that, despite being set in the UK, the book has been written (or adapted) for the American market, using words such as 'stenographer' instead of 'transcriber' in the court setting, and quite a few other Americanisms! I expect these when I read American novels, but when I buy a book set in the UK and written by a British author it irritates me when the author or publisher feels the need to replace a perfectly good English word or phrase with its American equivalent!
Thank god it's over! And btw, it was over so frickin' suddenly - completely out of character with the rest of the book.
This book has made me angry!
The plot was a very intriguing one as I was constantly asking myself would Michael escape from the coffin alive? Furthermore, there were twists and turns of every kind. Just when I thought I had understood exactly what was occurring and what would happen, Peter James would surprise me by proving me totally wrong which I loved. I additionally liked the fact that there was another case mentioned here and there that Grace had to testify for in court. To top off the tense storyline, the penultimate chapter included an absolute corker of a car chase, just the kind of scene that you would expect in a James Bond film.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Roy Grace book and I will most definitely be continuing with this series. I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy tense crime thrillers.
Overall I was rather disappointed with the book. I'm well acquainted with much of the Brighton and East Sussex locations mentioned, which were actually the most interesting aspect for me. This is clearly in the well-trodden police procedural genre, where it is difficult to be original and really stand out, and I don't think James really achieves this here.
I thought the book started reasonably promisingly, but after about a third of the way through wondered where it was heading. There were a few twists, some of which I saw coming, but one was a major change of direction. However some of the unexpected shifts come at the cost of credibility. The whole scenario went from the just about credible, through to the unlikely, unbelievable and ended in the plain silly. There was also an awful lot of extraneous descriptions of places and buildings etc. and repetition in the prose. I thought Grace was a bit of a flat, uninteresting and somewhat clichéd character. The plot denouement required some rather unlikely behaviour, and disappointingly was only resolved by a car crash (literally) and Grace involving a psychic medium to locate a victim and conclude the scenario......really!?? In short a plot-hole searchers field day!
I would give this 2.5 stars really, but I'm feeling generous, although re-reading the review I'm wondering why!. Having written that I would give the author a second chance, because it was an easy book to read and the pages turned, in the hope of a more solid plot.