17 February 2019

Review: AS THE CROW FLIES, Damien Boyd

  • this edition published 2015 by Thomas & Mercer (first published 2015)
  • ISBN 978-14778210239
  • 160 pages
  • #1 in the DI Nick Dixon series
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Rock climbers can't afford to make careless mistakes. But Detective Inspector Nick Dixon's former climbing partner, Jake Fayter, died doing just that. Or so it seems. Dixon suspects foul play, but his only leads are unreliable accounts of something odd happening in Cheddar Gorge seconds before Jake fell.

The more Dixon learns about Jake's life, the more he realises that Jake hadn't been quite the man he remembered...and a lot of people could have wanted him dead. Once Dixon gets too close to the truth, those people will emerge from the shadows and kill to protect their secrets.

As the body count rises, Dixon bends the rules to breaking point to lure out a killer and unravel a conspiracy of silence that will rock the sleepy town of Burnham-on-Sea to its core.

As the Crow Flies is the electrifying first novel in the DI Nick Dixon Crime Series.

My take

In the Prologue we are there when Jake Fayter falls from the Crow climb at Cheddar Gorge. The fall is so uncharacteristic of Jake who is Nick Dixon's former climbing partner that Jake's father John contacts Nick to ensure that the police carry out an investigation into whether this really was an accident.

The book nearly lost me right at the very beginning: the details about climbing felt so very technical that I wondered whether I would persist.

Dixon is newly appointed to the Avon & Somerset police and is currently involved in a case where funeral notices appear to be leading to burglaries. Nevertheless, on a Sunday, when he gets Jake's father's call, he heads over to Cheddar Gorge to see the scene of the accident himself. He decides that, for his own peace of mind, there is something to investigate.

This is one of those novels firmly bedded in the 21st century: FaceBook, Twitter, mobile phones and the tracing of calls etc. I understood most of that but it did add to the technicality of the plot, and wouldn't suit every reader.

There are now 9 titles in the series, and it will be interesting to read another to see what direction the author has taken. Here is the list from Fantastic Fiction.
1. As The Crow Flies (2013)
2. Head In The Sand (2013)
3. Kickback (2014)
4. Swansong (2015)
5. Dead Level (2016)
6. Death Sentence (2016)
7. Heads or Tails (2017)
8. Dead Lock (2018)
9. Beyond the Point (2019)

My rating: 4.2

About the author
Damien Boyd is a solicitor and crime fiction writer.

Drawing on extensive experience of criminal law as well as several years in the Crown Prosecution Service, Damien writes fast paced crime novels featuring Detective Inspector Nick Dixon. 

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