Crime Fiction Alphabet: J is for …

ithe letter Js for … Peter James

Peter James is an author I’ve been aware of for a while and although I’ve owned a couple of his books until recently I hadn’t read them. Now I’ve read Dead Simple I realise I should have read it years ago – I didn’t know what I was missing. It’s really good.

Peter James is currently the Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. As well as being a crime fiction writer he is also a film producer and script writer. He has sold more than a million books internationally and has been translated into 35 languages. His most recent books, set in Brighton, feature Detective Superintendent Roy Grace – there are 8 in the series, the first being Dead Simple.There is full list of all his books with summaries on his website.

Dead Simple is anything but simple. There are plenty of twists and turns in this story of a race against time to find Michael Harrison who disappeared after what was supposed to be a harmless stag night prank three days before his wedding. Michael’s fiancée, Ashley and his mother are frantic with worry, but surely Mark, his best man and business partner must have some idea where he is, even though he missed the stag night himself.

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is in charge of the investigation, which has added impetus for him as his wife disappeared eight years earlier and has never been found. When all the usual sources had failed to find her he had turned to psychics and mediums for help and he eventually resorts to consulting them again in this case.

It’s told from a number of viewpoints which gives a rounded view of the events and yet the full picture is never quite in view. There are hints that led me to suspect the outcome, but not completely. Some of it does seem rather far-fetched but it’s totally gripping, building to a tremendous climax.

I shall certainly be seeking out the other 7 books in his Grace series, and his earlier books too, which according to the author information in Dead Simple, all reflect his ‘deep interest in medicine, science and the paranormal.’

For more blog posts featuring the letter J in The Crime Fiction Alphabet go to Mysteries in Paradise.

11 thoughts on “Crime Fiction Alphabet: J is for …

  1. Glad to see this post on Peter James. I have been looking into him, thinking about adding him to my list of authors to try, but not sure about the paranormal aspects in a mystery. But I do like books with multiple viewpoints. I am thinking I should give Dead Simple a try.


  2. Hi Margaret,

    Peter James is another of those authors that I started to read some time ago and then put on hold for some reason. It definitely wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy his books and I certainly have many more of them on my book shelves. I think that blogging may have to take some of the blame, I just seem to read much less, as I am spending quite a lot of valuable reading time writing up posts.

    If you enjoyed his writing, perhaps you should stop by and visit Nikki @ ‘Notes Of Life’. She went to a session with Peter James at ‘Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival’, last weekend and she has put up a great series of interesting posts about the event.

    I am glad that you enjoyed the book so much, perhaps I shall now be stimulated enough to add one of his books into my reading schedule,



    • Yvonne, blogging does take up my reading time too – not just writing posts but reading other blogs! 🙂

      Thanks for the link to Nikki’s blog. I wish I could have gone to the Harrogate festival.


  3. Margaret – Thank you for reminding me that I must get more familiar with James’ work than I am. As you say, he is really talented. And in this particular case, using the strategy of telling a story from more than one viewpoint is really intriguing.


  4. Margaret: The opening grabbed rather than repelled me. I have not read any of his other books. If they have equally dramatic openings I can see why he has sold a million books.


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