Roderick Hart's Reviews > Dead Simple

Dead Simple by Peter James
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Nov 20, 11


** spoiler alert ** The opening of this book is unusually irritating. Michael Harrison is getting married so his ‘friends’ decide to bury him alive in a coffin, thoughtfully providing a breathing tube and a two-way radio, but with the emergency button glued so he can’t use the emergency frequency. Their intention is to come back at some point, but being wiped out in a car crash makes that difficult. Michael tries to get help using the radio, but his friends’ handset has been found by a young adult called David with a mental age of six, so their brief conversations get him nowhere.

We could call this an unlikely series of events. In a foreword the author counters the notion that writing is a solitary business, acknowledging the help he has had from various quarters. This includes two dogs who, I like to think, helped him with the plot.

There are, of course, many additional turns and twists, and the narrative is both ingenious and well crafted. But the whole thing is so unlikely that suspension of disbelief while reading will be too much for many, even for those who read crime novels.

The detective, Roy Grace, has his good points, but the fast expiring remains of Michael Harrison are found just in time, not by methodical police work but by a medium dangling metal over a map. Oh, and by the way,they are found not in the grave where he was buried but under the floorboards of a house rented by a man named Vic who is actually the husband of Michael’s own fiancée. How likely is that?
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