A Book Spy Review: ‘Dead If You Don’t’ by Peter James


Dead if you don't.jpgPeter James’ tension-filled opening chapter will either have you running towards the roulette wheel or swearing off casinos forever.

For all his success, Kipp Brown is down on his luck. Holding his breath as the small white ball bounces and ricochets its way around the roulette wheel, Kipp watches intently, willing the ball to fall his way. It doesn’t, a fact he’s getting used to. And while he’s slowly learning his lesson, it’s been one expensive teaching. Kipp tries to hide the fact that he’s now an impulsive gambler from everyone, putting on a brave and stoic face. Inside, he’s drowning, 

Hoping to get his mind busy, Kipp takes his teenage son, Mungo, to the Amex stadium to cheer on Albion in one of the year’s biggest football games. Still, his afternoon is covered by a cloud of guilt. The smug-looking Mungo has no idea that the funds for his next semester of school no longer exist. So while Kipp tries to block everything out and enjoy the match, guilt — plus the fact that he placed a spread bet on both teams — makes it more than difficult. 

A few minutes after arriving at the stadium, Kipp sees an old client and stops to say hello. By the time he’s done, Mungo is gone. Frustrated that his son took off without him, Kipp tries the boy’s cell phone, only to reach his voicemail. A moment later, a text message pops up on Kipp’s phone, causing him to stop, shock and fear freezing him in place as he reads the note from his son’s kidnappers. Mungo didn’t run off, he was taken, and his captors inform Kipp that they’re watching him through the stadium’s CCTV security system. Any attempt to involve the police will result in him never seeing his son ever again. To get him back, Kipp is told to leave at once and go home to await further instructions. 

Defiantly, Kipp swaps his normal cell for an encrypted one that he uses to talk to clients and initiate bank transfers with. Hiding in a bathroom stall, he alerts the police, pulling Detective Superintendent Roy Grace into the fold. . . who gets to work locating Mungo, but quickly discovers that there’s a bigger game afoot than what originally meets the eye. 

While this is the 14th Roy Grace novel, readers don’t have to read the series from the beginning to enjoy this book. There’s plenty of character development, and James is a master writer who fills in the blanks you need to know without giving away past books. There’s a reason why James has sold 19 million books worldwide. . . his fast-paced plot and clear, descriptive writing style reads like a movie. Once you read this book, you’ll be dying to get your hands on everything James has written. 

Every parent’s nightmare becomes Roy Grace’s most challenging case yet in Dead If You Don’t, the powerful, heart-thumping new crime thriller from Peter James. 

Book Details

Author: Peter James
Series: Roy Grace #14
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1509816356
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.


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