PETER James has been pipped at the post by Stephen King at the top of the bestsellers’ list.

The Brighton crime author’s latest release Want You Dead missed out by just 200 sales to be beaten to number one by the American horror legend’s book Mr Mercedes.

Mr James attributed his success to the lead character Roy Grace and the stories being set in Brighton.

He said trips out with undercover officers had provided insights into the city’s “villains”.

Mr James shifted 11,700 copies while King managed to move 11,900 – taking a narrow victory in the nationwide Nielsen BookScan official chart.

Peter James said: “I am happy to be number two to Stephen King but we may be able to claw it back next week and retake the lead.”

Mr James said certain parts of the city in areas around the bottom of London Road and around Brighton station inspire his work.

He said: “That has always been an area of drug dealing and it’s always been a dodgy sort of area.

“When I have gone down there with undercover police they frequently point out Brighton’s villains.”

He added: “I adore Brighton. I think Brighton is an attractive place to write about and people from all around the world have been to the city.

“In all crime fiction the town or city is as important as the character. The location plays a huge role.”

The author is already 250 pages into writing the next instalment in the Roy Grace series. He said there will be “big news” in the coming weeks about the character being brought to television.

The Perfect Murder stage show will also be arriving in Eastbourne from October 13 to October 18 at the Devonshire Park Theatre on Compton Street.

To buy tickets go to