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Dead Simple

(Roy Grace #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  16,956 ratings  ·  1,469 reviews
It was meant to be a harmless stag-night prank. A few hours later, his friends are dead and Michael Harrison has disappeared. With only three days to the wedding, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace—a man haunted by the shadow of his own missing wife—is contacted by Michael's beautiful, distraught fiancée, Ashley Harper. Grace discovers that the one man who ought to know ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 1st 2019 by Pan Books (first published December 14th 2005)
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Mitchell I think he was just trying to confirm that the news story was about him. As well, Davey would more likely respond to a factual question than a plea…moreI think he was just trying to confirm that the news story was about him. As well, Davey would more likely respond to a factual question than a plea for help, given his mental condition.(less)
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Scooby Doo This was one of many minor plot points that weren't adequately answered for me in the story.…moreThis was one of many minor plot points that weren't adequately answered for me in the story. (less)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,956 ratings  ·  1,469 reviews

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Tea Jovanović
Don't tell me that none of my Goodreads friends has read this fabulous thriller/crime novel, start of wonderful series about Roy Grace???? Hurry up, must read!!!!!!!!!!!
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
Looks like I am committing myself to yet another good series! I enjoyed spending time with Detective Superintendant Grace and will be happy to find out more about him. I liked spending time in Brighton and Hove too which is where my grandparents used to live and where I visited often as a child.

Some of the book was gruesome and the chapters about being buried alive were the stuff of nightmares! However there was lots of realistic and interesting police work and some great characters who I
Simon Taylor
The first case for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace was a relatively unique thriller in the way it was presented. The basic storyline is thus: groom goes on stag night, groom buried in coffin as stag night joke, stags killed in car accident, hunt for missing groom.

From the outset, we are told that his best man knows where he is but is keeping silent, effectively allowing him to die. The book follows the story through the victim, the would-be murderer and the detective. It’s not a whodunnit, or
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! That was a twisty, nail biter! This book kept me guessing and on edge the entire time. I will be on the lookout for the next in the series. The only reason I even knew about or read this book was because I happened across a review by a random person on Goodreads who said "For heavens sake, read it" that intrigued me, so I did and really enjoyed it! Love finding books I never would have heard about!
Kirsten #doagrouchafavorday #kyotoprotocolday #timtamday
Wow! What a roller coaster ride! Once this story got up that first hill of the coaster it never really let up. A good thriller with an engaging detective and also a very good police procedural. There were twists and turns throughout. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of this book is the creepiest I have ever run across. Anxious to play a prank on their soon-to-be-married friend Michael Harrison, known for his pranks, four of his friends get him drunk and passed out, then bury him in a coffin with only a tube for air, a porn magazine and a walkie-talkie. Then they drive off and are T-boned by a concrete truck. All are killed. The tow truck driver's retarded son (or should I say mentally challenged), finds the walkie-talkie in the grass where it ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a gruesome premise: buried alive, a man waits for his "friends" to come back and release him....but they are all killed in a car accident.....and no one comes back.
The chapters told from inside the coffin are claustrophobic and terrifying.
This book seems written to be a movie. Lots of descriptions of the rooms, scenes, clothing, actions. At first, one pays attention....the scene could hold a clue. But, no, it's just description, so one starts to skim the descriptions.
I found the rest
Alexa ❤️
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

This was a great thriller / murder mystery. The description was extremely realistic and the coffin scenes terrified me. It felt like I was stuck in that coffin too!

I also liked the multiple POV's especially having the killers it gave such a different take to the whole crime genre.

I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!
Tracie Payne
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This 450 page book could have been told in about 150 pages. I've read a lot of books and this has to be the wordiest book I have ever, ever read. I skipped so many pages and I know I didn't miss a thing. Not sure why I finished but I was curious what would happen to the guy trapped in a coffin. Huge let down, and the damn ending? It could have used a few more pages. Can you believe that?! It ended almost mid fucking paragraph. Huge waste of $1.20. Jesus Christ.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recently discovered Peter James books. I find them fast paced and full of suspense and I read this book in one sitting.
I will certainly be reading more of his novels.
Mark Rubinstein
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dead Simple is the first of Peter James's novels about Brighton-based detective Roy Grace. It has a compelling narrative arc in which a practical joke involving a coffin is central. The writing is excellent and, at times, beautiful. There are many twists and turns that keep the reader trying to maintain balance, and the novel is a perfect baseline for the others coming after it in this series. A well-deserved five stars.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Turned out to be better than when I started it.

While reading the first half of the book I was wondering where the mystery is since everything that happened had been summarized in the synopsis with only one thing missing, which turned out to play a bigger part in the story. Thankfully, the story picked up for a while and I was so surprised by the things happening that I was ready to forgive the that I read however the end wasn’t satisfactory for me. (view spoiler)
aPriL does feral sometimes

The book opens on the concluding hours of a drunken stag party. The young men celebrating Michael Harrison’s incipient wedding to Ashley which is to take place in three days have known each other for years, so whenever one of the friends marries, they plot practical jokes and get blind drunk. Michael himself has been behind several particularly fiendish jokes, so his friends are looking forward to the payback they have developed for Michael. Days before, with shovels and a coffin and a breathing
DEAD SIMPLE (Police Procedural-UK-Cont) – VG
James, Peter – 1st of series
Macmillan, 2005 – UK Hardcover
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace’s wife disappeared several years ago without a trace. Now Grace is asked by Ashley Harper to find her fiancée, missing three days before their wedding. Michael Harrison is a practical joker. But his friends have turned the table, taken him out, got him drunk and buried him in a coffin with an air tube. But the joke goes bad when the friends are killed in an
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first Peter James novel but certainly not my last. If you like gritty UK detective thrillers, then this delivers all the way.
L.M. Krier
This was the first Peter James book I have read. I read it in French from my local library. It came highly recommended by various crime groups on social media. If there was a half-star option, for me it would be a definite 3.5 star.

It starts off well, with a stag night prank which goes horribly wrong. **Only a spoiler if you speak French**. Ironically, in French, a stag night is an enterrement de vie de garçon. It's the stuff of many people's nightmares, although you do need to suspend belief at
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of this story was so uncomfortably tense that I almost didn't carry on reading but I am so glad I did otherwise I would have missed a smashing tale.
The mystery unfolds layer by layer, by twists and turns, piling on more tension and urgency all the way. At first I considered some of the twists came a little fortuitously out of the blue. Sometimes I can be a bit thick. It soon sank in that it was exactly how it would have appeared to the two main tellers of the tale. Thank heavens
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Another great read from Peter James.

I was intrigued by the idea of putting someone into a coffin as a bucks night stunt - the thought of being that person terrified me - and then I found out that Peter James had actually done it for research into his book. Brave man!

While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before his wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
This book was recommended to me by a stranger while I was browsing in a bookstore. It's rare when another customer out of the blue recommends you read a book without knowing anything about your tastes, so I knew I had to read this book. And that other customer was right, I loved this book and will absolutely read the next book in the series.
The plot is one of the most inventive and entertaining ones that I have ever read. The story begins with a batchelor party gone horribly wrong, five friends
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
This is the first book in the Roy Grace series and the first book I have read by Peter James. I love thrillers and this book definitely appealed too me!

The characters that feature in the book are very well described by the author and he portrays them in a way where you can imagine the characters and you do start to slightly think ahead of them once you know what the characters are like and you start to notice the way that they think.

The fact that I managed to read this book in less than 2 days
I've come to the conclusion I'm not a fan of Peter James and that it's now finally over between us, I've read four or five of his and have yet to be wowed. This was for me, only OK, I got a slight kick out of it as it's set in Brighton, I live there so I enjoyed the familiarity of the locations. The chapters from inside the coffin were well written and tense but the characters all felt very flat to me. I have to have either an absolutely ripping yarn or brilliant characters and if there's both ...more
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding series debut that will have you guessing right to the end. On a stag night the groom is buried alive in a coffin as his stag night prank...but it all goes horribly wrong when the best men responsible, are killed in a car accident before they have had a chance to dig their friend up. just when you think you have worked out what is happening, the story takes another twist and leaves you wondering how it will all end
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great thriller ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Peter James had his thirteenth book in the Roy Grace series published earlier this year. Since I’d never read a book by him before, I apparently felt like that was the right time to start and naturally, I began with book number one because I just can’t help myself. Still, the odds that I will have caught up on this series by the time book fourteen comes around are pretty slim and there’s something quite satisfying in knowing you don’t need to anxiously await a publication date.

May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was lucky enough to be able to read an ARC of the authors latest book The House On Cold Hill which I loved. I hadn't actually read anything else by the author even though I had already bought Dead Simple a while back but just not got round to reading it. Well after reading The House On Cold Hill I had to bump Dead Simple up my reading pile and boy am I glad I did.

Wow oh wow oh wow! That is how I felt when I finished this novel. The adrenalin is still coursing through me now whilst writing
4.5 stars rounded up
For my full review of this first book in what promises to be an excellent series, visit my blog:


If you are looking for a British Police Procedural series with an engaging protagonist, then look no further. Roy Grace is one of those coppers that you just can't help but like.

The East Sussex setting, during the last week of May, brought the narrative into sharp focus. The characterization was exemplary and the police case
Dec 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carey
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie, Elizabeth Chadwick
Even if this is the firs book of the series with Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, I started with book#5 Dead Tomorrow , then I read book#2 Looking Good Dead.

Since I was curious to learn more about Grace's wife disappearance, I decided to read the first book of this series.

Even if this topic is mentioned several times along the book, the mystery remains unsolved and it doesn't bother me any more.

This is the story of Michael Harrison and his fiancee who is buried alive by his friends to play a
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, i was about 10% in and i thought i had it figured out and i was wrong. It had a few twists and turns and some of them i didnt see coming.
I found it quite distressing - what happened to Michael - dont want to give the game away, but what happened to him is my worst nightmare and my skin crawled when reading it.
I have downloaded the second book in the series.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Now this book was very satisfying,indeed!You think you know what is going to happen, but then there are surprises! First book in the Roy Grace series, and I am interested in reading more.action packed right from the start. Gritty, well written, interesting characters and lots of twists. What more can you ask for. Can't wait to start book 2.
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Peter James is a UK No. 1 bestselling author, best known for writing crime and thriller novels, and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. With a total of 13 Sunday Times No. 1s under his belt, he has achieved global book sales of over 19 million copies to date, and has been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners, Peter has garnered an

Other books in the series

Roy Grace (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Looking Good Dead (Roy Grace, #2)
  • Not Dead Enough (Roy Grace, #3)
  • Dead Man's Footsteps (Roy Grace, #4)
  • Dead Tomorrow (Roy Grace, #5)
  • Dead Like You (Roy Grace, #6)
  • Dead Man's Grip (Roy Grace, #7)
  • Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace, #8)
  • Dead Man's Time (Roy Grace, #9)
  • Want You Dead (Roy Grace, #10)
  • You Are Dead (Roy Grace, #11)
“Branson ate his salad, and left the rest of his fish untouched, while Grace tucked into his steak and kidney pudding with relish. 'I read a while ago,' he told Branson, 'that the French drink more red wine than the English but live longer. The Japanese eat more fish than the English but drink less wine and live longer. The Germans eat more red meat than the English, and drink more beer and they live longer too. You know the moral of this story?
'It's not what you eat or drink - it's speaking English that kills you.”
“«La mente, una vez expandida, nunca puede volver a sus dimensiones originales».” 0 likes
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