A parent's worst nightmare is Grace's deadliest case . . .
Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most complex case yet in Dead If You Don't.
Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s big Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.
Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye of Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy is gone. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.
Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought into investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .
Early in James's pedestrian 14th procedural featuring Sussex Det. Supt. Roy Grace (after 2017's Need You Dead), Grace and his 10-year-old son, Bruno, join the crowd in the city of Brighton and Hove's Amex Stadium for the home team's first game in the Premier League. Grace doesn't know that the stadium's head of security, Adrian Morris, has been warned that a bomb will go off during the match if an anonymous caller's demands aren't met, or that Morris has refused to meet them. Fortunately, the bomb, concealed in a camera that evaded security checks, is abandoned a few rows ahead of Grace, who identifies the suspicious object before it can explode. The bomb scare coincides with the abduction of 14-year-old Mungo Brown and ransom demands made of the boy's shady mortgage broker father, leading Grace and his team to wonder about a link between the two crimes. Most readers will anticipate how everything plays out, and James undercuts his otherwise realistic portrait of police work with a Bond villain complete with a crocodile pit.