Detective Inspector (DI) Nick Dixon of the Avon and Somerset CID is celebrating his release from hospital (and recovery from a stab wound in his shoulder). With him are Detective Constable (DC) Jane Winter and senior pathologist Roger Poland. While they’re eating, an argument breaks out at a nearby table and almost turns violent. Dixon intervenes, and calms a young man, on compassionate leave from Afghanistan to attend his younger brother’s funeral.
Hours later, the young man takes his father and sister hostage, and insists on talking with Dixon. He believes his brother wasn’t killed by an aggressive horse at the stable where he worked, which another police investigation determined, but was in fact murdered. Dixon meets with the young man, begins to check the investigation, and gets Roger Poland to check the post-mortem of the victim. The brother turns out to be right – the dead man was indeed murdered.
Kickback is Damien Boyd’s third DI Nick Dixon police procedural mystery, and it’s a riveting read (I read in almost one sitting). The investigation takes Dixon and Winter (who are more than just work partners) deep into illegal horserace gambling and how it’s done online, Albanian gangsters, cocaine smuggling, and pillars of society turning out to have more than a few cracks.
Boyd is the author of six Nick Dixon mystery stories. He has extensive experience in criminal law in the UK and worked for a time with the Crown Prosecution Service, and infuses that experience throughout his stories.
Kickback shows Boyd’s development with his craft and narrative control, and is the best DI Nick Dixon yet.
Top photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.