Friday, July 6, 2018

Peter James and the Dead if You Don't Gin and Tonic

International bestselling thriller writer, Peter James, joins us today on Drinks with Reads to celebrate the release of his latest Roy Grace novel, Dead If You Don't. James is a New York Times bestseller, has had twelve consecutive Sunday Times No 1s, and is published in 37 languages. Hi DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 19 million copies worldwide. 

Prior to becoming a full-time author, he was responsible for 26 movies. In 1994 Penguin published his novel, 'Host,' on two floppy discs as the world's first electronic novel. He is Overseas Vice=President of International Thriller Writers in the US. 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 bookselling chain - the Best Crime Author of All Time. 

Here's the synopsis for DEAD IF YOU DON'T...

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 off 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 . . . 

And now let's hear from Peter...

I have a writing ritual.  My best creative time is 6-9.30pm Monday-Saturday, that is when I write at my best, and in the mornings, I review what I’ve done.  It was Hemingway, one of my heroes, who famously said, Write drunk, edit sober.  So, OK, I don’t go as far as getting drunk, but I do like to kick my writing evening off with a stiff cocktail and music blasting – that really gets me into the zone!

In addition to this ritual, I have a second one, and that is, to change my drink with each new book I write!  Dead If You Don’t is about a kidnap that turns out not to be at all what it seems.  A father takes his 14-year-old son to a big football game.  The father bumps into a business client and they chat for a couple of minutes.  When he turns around, his son has vanished.  An hour later he gets texted a ransom demand for $2m in Bitcoins, if he and his wife ever want to see the boy again.

The criminal element in the story is very much set in the Albanian criminal fraternity of Sussex and back in Albania itself.  It is close to the heel of Italy, so a long way south and very warm.  So, what more appropriate than a cooling Gin and Tonic?

Here’s my recipe:

1. Use a large glass, like this wide-mouthed red wine glass.  All gins have a fragrance, and breathing that is part of the joy of this drink.

2. Choose your gin.  I am very partial to Tanqueray, which I think makes the most perfect Gin and Tonic of all.  Keep the gin in the fridge for 24 hours, at least.

3. The glass must be really cold.  Keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours before deploying!

4. Begin with pouring in the measure of gin you want, big or small.

5. Now shake in just a few drops of Angostura bitters.

6. Add ice cold tonic water.  My favourite is Fever Tree, but Schweppes is good, too.  The measure of Tonic water is critical – do not drown the gin or all you will taste is the tonic water.  I advise no more than six parts tonic to four parts gin.

7. Avoid adding ice as it dilutes the drink rapidly.

8. Add a small handful of blueberries.  They look pretty and they taste yummy infused with G&T.

9. Finish with a slice of lemon.

10. Enjoy!

Peter has a fun channel on YouTube where he interviews other writers in what he calls, the Author's Studio. 


  1. I love DS Roy Grace novels! Can't wait to dig into this book.

  2. I love the premise for this book. Also adding blueberries to a gin & tonic!

  3. Another great book for my TBR pile. I love the blueberry idea too, I'm definitely going to try that one