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 auto accident after leaving Michael buried.

This is a book one should start with plenty of time to finish it in one sitting. Gripping is the word which comes to mind. James’ background as a screenwriter and producer are evident in his ability to create strong characters and relationships, his ear for dialogue, and the pacing of the story. James’ previous books look to be more in the horror or psychological suspense category, where this is a solid police procedural. My one slight criticism is the authors years in Los Angeles show as I kept having to remind myself the book is set in England; the style is more American than British. But the good news is this is the first in a series. The second book, “Looking Good Dead,” is due out soon and is on my “must buy” list.

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