Thursday, December 14, 2017

Royal Security, Life, and Fiction


Scotland Yard has been making some changes in how it provides security for the British royal family and government ministers, and reportedly the Queen is not appreciative. The palace declines comment on the report, as it usually does on matters like this one. The change is likely driven by a cost reduction plan.

Early on in my third novel Dancing King, there’s a conflict over security at the palace, and Michael dismisses the security chief, who leaves with almost all of his people. A stopgap plan is put in place, using the Guardsmen, and then Michael opts for a private security firm. It doesn’t seem like that major a deal, just like the Real Scotland Yard changes noted in the news report, but in the novel, it becomes a small step that will eventually lead to bigger changes.

Photograph by Steve Bryant via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

“Heads or Tails” by Damien Boyd


Detective Inspector (DI) Nick Dixon of the Avon and Somerset CID is helping Environment Authority officers catch eel poachers in a tidal estuary. The poachers are indeed caught, but what’s also discovered is a paneled truck, partially submerged in the estuary mud, with a driver who looks dead but isn’t. He’s handcuffed to the steering wheel, and his foot is handcuffed to the floor. No one has a metal cutting tool, and Dixon, the Environment Authority officers, and the Coast Guard have to watch the man drown as the tide comes in.

The autopsy shows the dead man had some gruesome injuries – part of his skull cut out and slashing wounds to his neck. The injuries are almost exactly like the ones a number of victims of a serial killer in Manchester had many years before. The killer may be back, or someone with inside knowledge of the Manchester killings may be a copycat. But why? And how?

Then there’s a second killing. And a suicide atop a long-buried body.

Heads or Tails is Damien Boyd’s seventh Inspector Nick Dixon crime and suspense novel. It’s just as action-packed as its predecessors; when Dixon is around, a lot of things happen, and few of them good. Gangsters, organized crime, serial killers, police corruption, murders, Dixon’s run-ins with superiors (he has a tendency to do that) – Heads or Tails is chock full of things happening.

Damien Boyd
Boyd wraps Dixon’s personal life into the main story. He’s diabetic, and needs to make sure he’s prepared and avoids the foods he needs to avoid. His live-in girlfriend, police Sgt. Jane Winters, is dealing with the finding of her birth mother; because of her own police work, she also plays a crucial role in the story because she knows how to access the “dark web,” the internet most of us never see (and probably don’t want to).

With Heads or Tails, Boyd is maintaining a consistently high quality of mystery story. It’s a fast-paced, enthralling read.

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Top photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission (A hillside filled with heather is involved in a critical scene in the mystery).