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06 October 2012

Peter James: Dead Simple

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Good UK Police Thriller
Peter James writes good UK police thrillers but this one is not as gripping as other police thrillers I have read recently. Interestingly, in the book Inspector Grace says that he doesn't watch UK police thrillers on TV because they are not very exciting and full of police procedurals and prefers US police thrillers because they can do more and have more action. That comment is relevant to this book until the last chapters.

I liked the book (that's what 4 stars means) but didn't love it. The police characters were very realistic, but the baddies were a bit difficult to understand. In the early chapters I found things a bit tedious but things warmed up towards the ending.

The plot is intriguing - an out of control stag party where a bridegroom's 4 friends bury him in a coffin to get back at his practical jokes in the past. Things go really wrong when all 4 are killed in a traffic accident and no-one appears to know what has happened to the bridegroom. The bride and his business partner are extremely distressed.

One major hangup for me is the name of the main character. A friend has difficulty with the Phryne (fry-knee) Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood because she can't cope with the first name. Here I have difficulty with Detective Superintendent Roy Grace's last name because it is also a female first name. Throughout the book the main character is often just referred to as Grace and I kept thinking "how did that female character get involved".

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