Dead Simple by Peter James
Peter James is an international bestselling British writer of crime fiction. He was born in Brighton, England on August 22, 1948. He attended Charterhouse School and is rightly proud to be the son of Cornelia James, the former glove maker to Queen Elizabeth II. Cornelia was a Jewish refugee from Vienna who came to England in 1938. He has been recognised with nominations for Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award and the Dagger in the Library.
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, his friends get him drunk and when he has passed out, they bury him in a coffin with only a tube for air, a porn magazine and a walkie-talkie. It was meant to be a harmless stag night prank but a few hours later, his friends are dead after they drive off into a concrete truck: the accident kills them all. Michael Harrison has disappeared. At this point I was not sure I could go on reading. However, I did.
There are only three days to go until Michael’s wedding. Detective Superintendent Grace is contacted by Michael’s distraught fiancée, Ashley Harper. Grace learns that the one man who ought to know Michael Harrison’s whereabouts is saying nothing: he has a lot to gain-more than anyone realizes.
The tow truck driver’s son has learning difficulties but he finds the walkie-talkie in the grass where it had been thrown by the fatal accident. He talks to Michael, but then drops the unit and thinks he has broken it. Now he is afraid to tell anyone about what he found.
Michael’s realisation that he is buried and nobody is answering his increasing frantic calls gave me nightmares. The realism is very frightening. It is beautifully written. There are some interesting twists keep things moving along nicely. Peter James is one of my favourite authors, but I do not read his books after dark!