Whether you first met Detective Superintendent Roy Grace as John Simm on the screen or have been following along since the publication of the first book in 2005, there is no denying his allure. Intelligent, crafty, and refreshingly real, Grace has enamored fans for nearly two decades. If you’ve never read the Roy Grace books in order before, you’re in for a plot-twisting, page-turning treat.
Who is Peter James?
In addition to being the bestselling author of the Roy Grace books, Peter James has also written more than 20 other books, novellas, and short stories. If you would like learn more about everything James has written, you can check out this article about all the Peter James books in order.
Collectively, James has sold more than 21 million copies of his books internationally, which have been translated into 38 languages.
He has won more than 40 awards during his career, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award and Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger. But his first award came when he was a young boy attending Charterhouse School in 1967. There he won the poetry prize that year.
However, James did not immediately slip into authorship following his further education. He attended Ravensbourne Film School in London before moving to Canada and working as a writer for a daily children’s show.
He then went on to be a producer or writer, or both, on multiple features and television shows. It was while he was still in the film industry that he wrote his first novel, Dead Letter Drop in 1981.
He also made history in 1993 when his eleventh book, Host, was made available on a floppy disk. It was the world’s first electronic novel. Many of his works have adaptations, including four highly successful stage plays.
When he is not writing James has many hobbies, including racing classic cars at circuits around England.
Is there a Roy Grace TV Show?
You might have heard somewhere that there’s a Roy Grace TV show but aren’t quite sure what it is or how to watch it. The TV series is simply titled Grace, after the surname of the main character.
Grace is a British crime drama which originally aired on the UK’s ITV network. It was then picked up by BritBox (BBC and ITV’s joint streaming venture) for broadcast in the US and Canada.
Currently, there are two seasons with each episode running about an hour and a half in length. The first season has two episodes, while the second has four.
The first season is based on the first two Roy Grace books in order: Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead. The second season of Grace began airing in April 2022 and adapts the next four books in order with one book per episode.
Actor John Simm, who portrays Roy Grace in the series, has said he would like to play the detective superintendent for years to come, which is promising for fans of the show.
Roy Grace Books in Order
Peter James is well-known for his unexpected plot twists, sinister characters, and accurate portrayal of modern-day policing. All of that is exemplified when you read the Roy Grace books in order.
While each book contains its own crime for Detective Superintendent Grace to solve by the novel’s conclusion, there are additional benefits to reading the Roy Grace books in order. In reading the Roy Grace books in publication order, you will come to understand Grace’s backstory in the way Peter James intended.
The personal demons Grace faces each day as he tackles a new horrifying crime is a recurring theme throughout the series, and it is only in reading the Roy Grace books in order that you can understand this character development without stumbling across any potential spoilers.
- Dead Simple (2005)
- Looking Good Dead (2006)
- Not Dead Enough (2007)
- Dead Man’s Footsteps (2008)
- Dead Tomorrow (2009)
- Dead Like You (2010)
- Dead Man’s Grip (2011)
- Not Dead Yet (2012)
- Dead Man’s Time (2013)
- Want You Dead (2014)
- In the Nick of Time (2014) (Short Story with Ian Rankin)
- You Are Dead (2015)
- Love You Dead (2016)
- Need You Dead (2017)
- Dead If You Don’t (2018)
- Dead at First Sight (2019)
- Footloose (2019) (Short Story with Val McDermid)
- Find Them Dead (2020)
- Left You Dead (2021)
- Wish You Were Dead (2021) (Short Story)
- Picture You Dead (Expected: September 29, 2022)
Summary of Roy Grace Books in Order
If you’d like to know a little bit more about the books before you commit, or you’re looking for a refresher as you prepare for a reread, here is an overview of the Roy Grace books in order. The below summaries will give you a glimpse of what you are about to enjoy as you prepare to read these fantastic thrillers.
1. Dead Simple
Michael Harrison had it all: Good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube.
It’s all in good fun — a form of payback for his own penchant for tomfoolery. That is until the four are killed in a drunk driving accident just moments after leaving Michael completely alone and buried alive.
Detective Superintendent Grace is already dealing with the pain of losing his wife. But he begins investigating the case when Ashley reports Michael missing.
But things get suspicious when Michael’s only friend not at the bachelor party refuses to cooperate. Then Ashley’s faithfulness — not to mention her increasingly mysterious past — are suddenly under question. As Superintendent Grace soon discovers, one man’s disaster is another man’s fortune.
2. Looking Good Dead
Tom Bryce did what any decent person would do. But within hours of picking up the CD left behind on the train seat next to him, and attempting to return it to its owner, he is the sole witness to a vicious murder. Then his young family are threatened with their lives if he goes to the police.
But supported by his wife, Kellie, he bravely makes a statement to the murder enquiry team headed by Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a man with demons of his own to contend with.
3. Not Dead Enough
On the night Brian Bishop murdered his wife, he was sixty miles away, asleep in bed at the time. At least, that’s the way it looks to Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. He now must investigate the kinky slaying of beautiful young Brighton socialite, Katie Bishop.
Soon, Grace starts coming to the conclusion that Bishop has performed the apparently impossible feat of being in two places at once. Has someone stolen his identity, or is he simply a very clever liar?
As Grace digs deeper behind the façade of the Bishops’ outwardly respectable lives, it starts to become clear that all is not at all as it first seemed. And then he digs just a little too far, and suddenly the fragile stability of his own troubled, private world is facing destruction…
4. Dead Man’s Footsteps
Abby stepped in the lift and the doors closed with a sound like a shovel smoothing gravel. She breathed in the smell of someone else’s perfume, and lemon-scented cleaning fluid. The lift jerked upwards a few inches.
And now, too late to change her mind and get out, with the metal walls pressing in around her, they lunged sharply downwards. Abby was about to realize she had just made the worst mistake of her life.
Amid the tragic unfolding mayhem of the morning of 911, failed Brighton never-do-well Ronnie Wilson sees the chance of a lifetime, to disappear and reinvent himself in another country.
Five years later the discovery of the skeletal remains of a woman’s body in a storm drain in Brighton, leads Detective Superintendent Roy Grace on an enquiry spanning the globe, and into a desperate race against time to save the life of a woman being hunted down like an animal in the streets and alleys of Brighton.
5. Dead Tomorrow
Caitlin Beckett, a fifteen-year-old in Brighton, will die if she does not receive a liver transplant, urgently. When the health system threatens to let her down, Lynn, her mother, turns in panic to the internet and discovers a broker who can provide her with a black-market organ — but at a price.
Prepared to do whatever it takes, Lynn scrambles to raise the money. A few days later, the organ broker tells Lynn she has found a perfect match. Meanwhile, Caitlin is deteriorating by the hour.
With his beautiful girlfriend, Cleo, and his recent promotion, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace knows he should finally be feeling positive for the first time since his wife Sandy disappeared, nine years ago. But this new case haunts him, even more than all the others.
Following clues from three young bodies, he finds himself on the trail of a gang of child traffickers operating from Eastern Europe. Soon Grace and his team will find themselves in a race against time to save the life of a young street kid. While a desperate mother will stop at nothing to save her daughter’s life.
6. Dead Like You
After a heady New Year’s Eve ball, a woman is brutally raped as she returns to her room at The Metropole Hotel in Brighton. A week later, another woman is attacked. Both victims’ shoes are taken by the offender…
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace soon realises that these new cases bear remarkable similarities to an unsolved series of crimes in the city back in 1997. The perpetrator had been dubbed “Shoe Man” and was believed to have raped five women before murdering his sixth victim and vanishing. Could this be a copycat, or has Shoe Man resurfaced?
When more women are assaulted, Grace becomes increasingly certain that they are dealing with the same man. And that by delving back into the past he may find the key to unlocking the current mystery. But the past brings with it memories of Grace and his now missing wife Sandy still apparently happy together.
Soon Grace and his team will find themselves in a desperate race against the clock to identify and save the life of the new sixth victim…
7. Dead Man’s Grip
Carly Chase is traumatised ten days after being in a fatal traffic accident which kills a teenage student from Brighton University. Then she receives news that turns her entire world into a living nightmare.
The drivers of the other two vehicles involved have been found tortured and murdered. Now Detective Superintendant Roy Grace of the Sussex Police force issues a stark and urgent warning to Carly: She could be next.
The student had deadly connections. Connections that stretch across the Atlantic. Someone has sworn revenge and won’t rest until the final person involved in that fatal accident is dead.
The police advise Carly her only option is to go into hiding and change identity. The terrified woman disagrees — she knows these people have ways of hunting you down anywhere. If the police are unable to stop them, she has to find a way to do it herself.
But already the killer is one step ahead of her, watching, waiting, and ready…
8. Not Dead Yet
For LA producer Larry Brooker, this is the movie that could bring the fortune that has so long eluded him… For rock superstar, Gaia, desperate to be taken seriously as an actor, this is the role that could get her an Oscar nomination…
Meanwhile, for the City of Brighton and Hove, the publicity value of a major Hollywood movie being filmed on location, about the city’s greatest love story — between King George IVth and Maria Fitzherbert — is incalculable.
But for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of Sussex CID, it is a nightmare unfolding in front of his eyes.
An obsessed stalker is after Gaia. One attempt on her life is made days before she leaves her Bel Air home to fly to Brighton. Now, he has been warned, the stalker may be at large in his city, waiting, watching, planning.
9. Dead Man’s Time
A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. And millions of pounds’ worth of valuables are missing.
But, as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that the old woman’s powerful family cherish above all else. And they are ready to take the law into their own hands, and will do anything, absolutely anything, to get it back.
Within days, Grace is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe, and all the way back to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the force of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.
10. Want You Dead
Single girl, 29, redhead and smouldering, love life that’s crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship, and — who knows — maybe more?
When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror.
Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has known and loved — and then her too…
12. You Are Dead
The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton.
Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone.
That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for 30 years. At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected.
But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing — and yet another body from the past surfaces. Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan.
And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes… Does Brighton have its first serial killer in more than eighty years?
13. Love You Dead
An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life — to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second.
Her philosophy on money is simple: You can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect…
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back.
But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind…and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is.
14. Need You Dead
Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.
When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks like an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect.
Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalisingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.
15. 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 begins 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.
16. Dead at First Sight
It is clear that nothing is as it seems when Detective Superintendent Roy Grace begins investigating the suicide of a woman in Brighton. As his enquiries continue, a handsome Brighton motivational speaker comes forward.
He’s discovered that his identity is being used to scam eleven different women who are looking for love online. The first he knew of it was a phone call from one of them, out of the blue, saying, “You don’t know me, but I thought I knew you.”
That woman is now dead.
Roy Grace realizes he is looking at the tip of an iceberg. A global empire built on clever, cruel internet scams and the murder of anyone who threatens to expose them.
17. Find Them Dead
Ending his secondment to London’s Met Police, Roy Grace gets a tip-off about a county lines drugs mastermind operating out of Brighton. On his first day back in his old job in Sussex, he arrives at a seemingly senseless murder scene.
Separately, Meg Magellan finally has her life back together, five years after the car crash that killed her husband and their son. Her daughter, Laura, now 18, is on her gap year travelling in South America with a friend, and Meg misses her badly. Laura is all she has in the world.
In between jobs, Meg receives a summons for jury service. She’s excited — it might be interesting and will help distract her from constantly worrying about Laura. But when she is selected for the trial of a major Brighton drugs overlord, everything changes.
Gradually, Grace’s investigation draws him increasingly into the sinister sphere of influence of the drug dealer on trial. A man utterly ruthless and evil, prepared to order the death of anyone it takes to enable him to walk free.
Just a few days into jury service, Meg arrives home to find a photograph of Laura, in Ecuador, lying on her kitchen table. Then her phone rings.
A sinister, threatening stranger is on the line. He tells her that if she ever wants to see Laura alive again, it is very simple. At the end of the trial, all she has to do is make sure the jury says just two words… Not guilty.
18. Left You Dead
Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do — with a long drive, a visit to a country house, and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home.
But this Sunday ends differently — because while Niall waits and waits in the car park for Eden to pick up supplies, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her.
Gone without a trace, Niall is under arrest on suspicion of her murder. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace begins to investigate, it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems — and this might be his most mysterious case yet…
19. Picture You Dead
Harry and Freya, an ordinary couple, dreamed for years of finding something priceless buried amongst the tat in a car boot sale.
It was a dream they knew in their hearts would never come true — until the day it did…
They buy the drab portrait for a few pounds, for its beautiful frame, planning to cut the painting out. Then studying it back at home there seems to be another picture beneath, of a stunning landscape. Could it be a long-lost masterpiece from 1770? If genuine, it could be worth millions.
One collector is certain it is genuine. Someone who uses any method he can to get what he wants and will stop at nothing.
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself plunged into an unfamiliar and rarefied world of fine art. Outwardly it appears respectable, gentlemanly, above reproach. But beneath the veneer, he rapidly finds that greed, deception and violence walk hand-in-hand. And Harry and Freya Kipling are about to discover that their dream is turning into their worst nightmare…
Final thoughts on Roy Grace books in order
So, there you have how to best read the Roy Grace books in order with a comprehensive list of the series. As previously mentioned, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is beloved by many readers. These crime novels will be sure to shock and surprise you as you race towards each thrilling climax.
Looking for more books in order?
Check out this list of Jack Carr books in order.