Sometimes you just spot something on the bookstore shelves that appeals to you. This was one of those cases. The cover of Dead if You Don’t just called to me. It wasn't like I had read any of Peter James’s books before, but with one of my favourite genres being crime, I thought I'd give it a go.
The story relates to Mungo, a teenage boy who goes missing while at a big football match with his dad, Kipp Brown, a businessman and heavy gambler. Their relationship has been strained and his family is in crisis after the family has recently suffered the death of their daughter. Kipp is contacted regarding a ransom, and what at first seems a straightforward kidnapping case, turns out to be something much more complicated and sinister.
Kipp clutches at straws trying to determine what to do – contact police against the demands of the ransom, pay the ransom (although that is problematic at the time, too) or to wait and hope it is a bluff.
Amidst the confusion of his son having gone missing at the game, there is more drama. A bomb threat at the game, a discovery at a nearby construction site and mass killings mean that the police more than have their hands full, which will require certain skills, ethnic understanding and empathy to negotiate the various challenges.
The detective in charge soon realises that a criminal group are deeply involved and getting them to open up and divulge information is difficult.
Will the police save the boy, and make a breakthrough in the mafia style community where they protect their own and are tight lipped throughout any investigation?
This is an extremely fast-paced book, which has you wanting to keep going and not wanting to stop. The chapters are short, so if you need to, you can take a break at any time.
Like many crime novels, you never really get to the bottom of it until the end, and this one is no exception. It is well written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will certainly try a few more of the authors books now, of which there are many. I can thoroughly recommend this one.