On the face of it, Peter James’ first Roy Grace novel, Dead Simple should be a rollicking crime novel. It is in some ways. A harmless stag-night prank—even though ‘harmless’ is a relative term when coffins are involved—goes horrifiying wrong when Michael Harrison ends up buried alive and the only people who know about his whereabouts are killed in a road accident.
Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace —’a man haunted by the shadow of his own missing wife,’ as the blurb informs us—taking on the reins of a missing persons enquiry that could turn into a murder investigation at any moment. Add to the mix Grace’s propensity to seek help from other-wordly entities, and you have an unusual set-up.
On the one hand Dead Simple is a live crime-thriller-meets-police-procedural; on the other… well, let’s just say it disappoints in places. The full review here.