In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the wife of parliamentary candidate Tom Perry is brutally murdered in an apparent burglary gone wrong.
With the by-election campaign about to start in earnest, and the festive season in full swing, torrential rain brings with it flood warnings on the Somerset Levels.
Suspended on full pay and transferred to the cold case unit, Detective Inspector Nick Dixon is languishing on the sidelines as the investigation into Elizabeth Perry’s murder unravels and the floodwaters rise.
Returning to duty, Dixon is convinced that the answer lies hidden in Tom Perry’s political life, but why was Elizabeth the target and not her husband? The more Dixon uncovers, the further he is from finding the truth…
The body of an elderly man is found in an abandoned World War Two pillbox beside the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. With no obvious motive and no credible suspect, DI Nick Dixon starts digging into the victim’s past.
The more he digs, the deeper Dixon is drawn into a case that takes him from the cave systems beneath rural Somerset to the heart of government, and threatens to expose a military cover-up at the highest level.
Blocked by a wall of silence, Dixon must unravel a dangerous conspiracy before the killer strikes again.
Heads or Tails
A man has been mutilated and left to drown on the incoming tide, handcuffed in his van. With the murder bearing a striking resemblance to a string of sadistic killings carried out with surgical precision in 1990s gangland Manchester, it can mean only one thing: the killer is back.
Transferred to the Major Investigation Team, DI Nick Dixon is assigned a new partner and sent to Manchester. Meanwhile, the gruesome murders in Somerset continue.
Convinced of a connection with the unsolved gangland killings, and with the odds stacked against him, Dixon takes the ultimate gamble, determined to bring the killer to justice before it’s too late.
But is it the same killer? If so, why has he resurfaced now? And how many more must die?
Early on a cold Somerset morning, ten year old Alesha Daniels is reported missing by her father, a violent alcoholic. Her mother, a known drug addict, is found unconscious, but it’s her mother’s boyfriend the police are keen to trace.
As the hunt for Alesha gathers pace, a second local girl is taken, plunging another family into the depths of despair.
Cutting short his holiday, DI Nick Dixon races home to join the Major Investigation Team, but no sooner has he identified a network of local suspects than they begin to show up dead.
At odds with his superiors, Dixon is convinced the child abductions are anything but random, but nobody is prepared for the investigation to lead quite so close to home.
Can Dixon and his team crack the case before all the suspects are silenced? And will he find the missing girls before it’s too late?
Beyond the Point
DI Nick Dixon is on the hunt for a vicious serial killer, following a trail of fingerprints and DNA across west Somerset.
When the body of a young woman is found on the building site of a nuclear power station, work grinds to a halt. The body bears all the hallmarks of yet another random murder at the hands of the escaped killer. Then Dixon finds a motive.
Fighting for his place on the Major Investigation Team, he soon uncovers a family’s desperate search for the truth, exposing a web of corruption and death that will shake the billion pound construction project to its very foundations. But who can be trusted when so much money is at stake?
Can Dixon find the killer under intense pressure from the top of government? And, can he do it before anyone else has to die?
I actually read these five books before I read the last few I posted reviews for. However, as it takes longer to get all the bits together for multiple books, I posted the single ones first. Ironically, I probably have less to say about these books, as I will take them as a whole, than I have in some of the other reviews.
I continue to really enjoy this series. Nick is a great character, very human, the type of chap I'm sure I would get on with. He has his faults, as we all do, which makes him all the more real. The writing continues to be good; we learn more about Nick in each book and the cases are all excellent and keep one guessing. Once again Nick's life is in danger and this time I really did wonder how he was going to get out of it (I knew he had to as I had more books in the series *g*). Nick really is the kind of copper you would want helping you.
We also learn quite a lot more about Nick's girl-friend Jane, other detective - in fact we learn a great deal more about her. And we learn more about the regular characters and all of them are definitely real people and not just names on the page. Again, they have their good points and their less than good points. I do think characterisation is one of Boyd's real strengths; he isn't afraid to make them real and rounded and imperfect.
The one for me slight negative thing about these later books is that Boyd, like so many authors, has started to make the books longer and flesh things out and give us more personal stuff - mainly about Jane, it has to be said. For me, whilst it's quite nice to learn a bit more about Jane, her background and how it impacts on her life today, I don't need it; I actually don't think it really adds anything to the books. In fact for me, it has slowed the books down somewhat. They are still fast-paced, but not as much as they were. What made Boyd stand out is gradually seeping away - in my opinion anyway. I suspect I'm in the minority as I'm guessing the reason he did start giving us more personal stuff is down to reviews, etc. asking for it. For me, I'd wish he'd go back to how he wrote in the first few books and cut out a lot of what I regard as superfluous stuff.
That said, I'm not going to stop reading the series - quite the opposite. I have already pre-ordered the next book. And it is still a series I would recommend highly. In fact if you do like longer books, with more personal stuff then you'll definitely prefer the later books to the earlier ones.