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#Win Dead If You Don't by Peter James (US)

Peter James is an international bestselling thriller writer. He is a New York Times bestseller, as well as having 11 consecutive Sunday Times No 1s, and he is published in 37 languages. His DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 18 million copies worldwide. Prior to becoming a full-time author, he was responsible for 25 movies. In 1994 Penguin published his novel, 'Host', on two floppy discs as the world’s first electronic novel. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence, and he was publicly voted by WH Smith - Britain's biggest book selling chain - The Best Crime Author Of All Time. Visit Peter James on YouTube: www.peterjames.com/youtube.



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 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 off Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy disappears. 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 in to 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.

EXCERPT

Thursday 10 August
The small white ball skittered over the numbers on the spinning roulette wheel, passing 36, 11, 30. Tappity-tapTappity-tap. It ricocheted off a diamond-shaped bumper. Tappity-tap. Danced. Rattling around the rim; hopping over the numbers 12, 35, 3 and catapulting back onto the rim.
Kipp Brown watched it in silent concentration. His nerves were tightropes. This was the moment, as the rotations steadily slowed. The moment when time froze.
‘No more bets,’ the croupier announced, like a recording on a timed loop. It was pretty pointless; Kipp had no more left to bet. It was all there in those neat towers of chips spread across the baize. Covering his regular numbers, his lucky numbers and a couple of random ones, too.
All there.
The school fees. The mortgage. The hire-purchase payments on his cars.
Tappity-tap.
The dumb ball had no idea just how much was riding on where it landed; no knowledge of just how much money Kipp Brown, the only punter at this table on the high-value floor, had bet on this spin of the wheel. It didn’t know just what this particular spin of the roulette wheel meant to Kipp. Nor did the bored-looking female croupier.
So much was riding on just six of the thirty-six black and red numbers. So much.
It was a perfectly formed ceramic ball, less than one inch in diameter. It had no brain. It had no knowledge that the man at the table, watching it the way a buzzard watches a field mouse from two hundred metres high, had bet the ranch on numbers 2, 4, 15 and their neighbours.
No idea at all.
No idea that, until recently, Kipp Brown had been one of the wealthiest men in the city. That on a July night last year he had walked away from this casino with over one million pounds of winnings – the biggest sum anyone had ever won in a single night at Brighton’s Waterfront Casino.
Nor did it know that since then he had lost it all again on the very same tables.
That in recent months, with his judgement skewed from the stress of his mounting debts and his train crash of a personal life, he had bet and lost all the equity in his house.
His business assets.
Pretty much everything.
2, 4 or 15. Please.
Tappity-tap
. The ball rolled into number 2, then out again.
He sat, anxiously, nursing his drink. It was gone 11 p.m., and he 
should have left hours ago. He had to drive Mungo to school tomorrow morning and go straight on to an early meeting with a new, potentially large, client. He should be home, getting rest. His eyes were bleary. His brain was tired. Exhausted from chasing losses all evening. But he couldn’t help it. The wheel would come good eventually, it always did. Always had.
Hadn’t it?
If you stayed at the table for long enough.
Tappity-tap. It danced over 15. Then 4.
Yes!
Four! Fantastic, a home run! He’d done it!
Then as he watched, suddenly and inexplicably, as if pulled by
some force, the ball bounced out of 4. Then out of 17, 11, 1, 31. 
Come on.
Click
.
It settled, nestling between two frets.
The number popped up on the screen above the table. 16.
Unbelievable.
He drained his complimentary Hendricks and tonic, picked out a piece of cucumber and munched it, solemnly and disconsolately, as he watched the croupier scoop away the neat stacks of chips.
A tall, fit man of forty-five, who normally had fine posture, Kipp Brown was stooping badly as he left the table and walked over to the cashier with his wallet full of maxed-out credit cards.
Behind him, he heard the sound that was the music of his life. His secret, second life that few people, other than his wife, Stacey, knew about – and, guiltily, he mostly only told her about his wins, rarely his losses.
Tappity-tap.
Followed by a loud cheer from the group of Chinese who were here, like him, most evenings. It sounded like one of them had a big win. Great. Lucky them.
Every night these Chinese guys were here, adding to their winnings, so it seemed to him.
And every night, just recently, he was here, succumbing to the classic gambler’s folly, chasing his losses. Like he had been tonight. Except there wasn’t going to be any more chasing tonight. Not for him.

He was over his account limit with the casino. The cashier tried all six of his credit cards in turn. Then shook her head. She had the decency to look apologetic. 


Adapted with permission from DEAD IF YOU DON'T © 2018 by Peter James, Pan MacMillan 

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Comments

  1. Simple cover and title, but for some reason, I don't think it's a simple story.:-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was surprised to see Dead If You Don't show up on no fewer than three of my favorite blogs today. Good taste all round I'd say. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haven't read this author before. Sounds like a fascinating story. Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete

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