I am going to divide my review in four chunks. First, I would give an initial view of this novel. Second, I shall explain its positive aspects. Third, I would make those points, which are not in favor. In the end, I would give my final thoughts on what I perceive from this overall novel. So, by establishing clear line of action, let us dive into it.
Dead Simple was the first in the installation of Roy Grace series. It carries ninety chapters. The description of it was in a two-sided narration, covering both the protagonist and the villain simultaneously.
On Tuesday, Five friends, went on a stag night, in which four of them pranked Michael Harrison. They locked him inside a coffin and buried him alive along with walkie-talkie, an adult magazine and a tiny breathing tube.
Michael’s fiancée Ashley, reported his missing to Roy Grace and from there the search began.
After few turns and twists, Roy left with four bodies, one suspect, one missing person, and no trace.
Roy Grace: The protagonist
Michael Harrison: The young charming prankster
Ashley Hooper: The mysterious fiancée of Michael
Victor Bruce Delaney alias Vic The mysterious Australian tough man
Mark Warren: The prime suspect and Michael’s business partner
Following aspects are those, which I believe the positives of this novel:
Internationally acclaimed author Peter James wrote this novel.
The writer shares significant amount of information on various tactics, which normally, police use it during their investigations.
Ashley Hooper, fiancée of disappeared Michael Harrison, was the one strongest character. Her background was mysterious and interesting. She knows how to deal with the men and play’s on their weaknesses, masterly.
Roy Grace is a knowledgeable character; he reveals valuable input on wide range of criminal cases.
The novel started on a low point nonetheless, ended on a very high note.
Note: Unfortunately, I only found above mention positive points in this novel.
Following points are the negatives of this novel:
I am still pondering that, why writer choose title “dead simple”. May be, apparently, it appears attractive although, it is highly misleading. Do not mistake about the novel by judging its title because it never reflects properly.
The narration of this novel was two sided. Therefore, I believe, that it kills the mystery. The classic way of detective novels was one sided. They explained the narrative of the protagonists and merely a few aspects of villains. In this way, the suspense lasts long and the writer sometimes covers the loopholes properly.
The protagonist of this novel, Roy Grace, was a poor developing character. He explains good tactics on various occasions, but fails to apply them. He is a good theorist, but most of the times he lacks pragmatic approach.
He was an experienced police officer, but he rarely depended on his detective skills and more on supernatural activities. He became a laughing stock in front of the press due to his views in the court.
First half of the novel was dead boring. There was nothing concrete in it. Then, the writer picked the pace up and ended it on a high note. Consequently, it got the space of three hundred plus pages. Otherwise, one fifty pages were enough. Probably, the commercial aspect propelled him to do so.
It took three days for Roy Grace and his team to take Michael Harrison’s disappearance, seriously. He went missing on Tuesday night and Roy along with his team was playing poker on Thursday night at the casino. This shows the professionalism of him and his team.
The turns and twists were mostly predictable. Thus, makes a novel vulnerable on various sides. However, at the end, the writer did best to cover vulnerabilities and made it look compelling.
Initially, I decided to discard it, given the fact that the novel was low pace. However, latter opted otherwise. It could have been better, if Roy Grace was as enchanting as Ashley and Vic. They provided fuel, otherwise; it exposed flaws on numerous situations.
The reason, I gave the novel less rating because, as a reader, if you know what is coming next. It would not impress, either. The plot was solid; however, not presented in a good way.
I have tried best to dissect it in a balanced way, without revealing the original content of the novel. This piece manifests my opinion; however, I welcome conflicting views regarding this.