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Dead Simple

(Roy Grace #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  20,436 ratings  ·  1,637 reviews
Michael Harrison had it all: good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the 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 breathing tube. It's all ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 14th 2005 by Carroll & Graf
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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 fo…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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Apoorva Nadig Yes that's right.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,436 ratings  ·  1,637 reviews

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Tea Jovanović
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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 assum
Simon Taylor
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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 "every vote counts"
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.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Tracie Payne
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
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.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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!
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read
This is the first book I have read by Peter James. It is a pretty straightforward entry in the British police procedural genre, with Detective Chief Superintendent Roy Grace as the main protagonist. Grace is a 39-year-old single man whose beloved wife disappeared nearly 9 years ago without a trace, but whom he has refused to have declared dead. Grace’s main sidekick is a fellow police officer, a Black bodybuilder named Glenn Branson. There are other sidekicks as well as a potential love interest ...more
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 breath
Mark Rubinstein
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My first Peter James novel but certainly not my last. If you like gritty UK detective thrillers, then this delivers all the way.
Deb Jones
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself in hot water when he testifies in a high profile murder trial that he used a medium to help him find vital evidence in the case.

Grace became involved with mediums when his wife, Sandy, disappeared nine years earlier, leaving no trace, giving no hints that she intended to go anywhere. In the years since her disappearance, Grace has used the usual police techniques to try to find Sandy. When that failed, he turned to the supernatural, which to date
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 ½ that I read however the end wasn’t satisfactory for me. (view spoiler)
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
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
great thriller 📚
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
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.

Dead Simple
L.M. Krier
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
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
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 inter
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 aut
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 thi
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 M
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 p
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 I ...more
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My first Peter james book and definitely not my last!
Loved the side story of Roy's wife missing and hope that story is carried on with his other books, very interested to see how the other characters develop over the series.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dead Simple is book one in the Roy Grace series by Peter James. Four mates Robbo, Luke, Michael and Josh, went out for the evening to celebrate Michael last night as a single man before his wedding to Ashley. Robbo Luke and Josh decide to give Michael a night to remember and buried him in with a breathing tube and a phone. However, Rob, Luke and Josh well-planed prank was derailed when they were involved in a road accident. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace became involved when Ashley reported ...more
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Peter James is a global 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 16 Sunday Times No. 1s under his belt, he has achieved global book sales of over 20 million copies to date and has been translated into 37 languages.

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

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)

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