Death Message

Death Message is a detective novel featuring DI Nick Dixon, the main character in a series by Damien Boyd. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I set out below my more detailed comments.

Damien Boyd author of Death Message

The Plot

Death Message is a fast-paced murder mystery with a variety of suspects and several misleading clues. I certainly did not guess the outcome until I got there. There were interesting subplots about the hero’s relations with colleagues and his fiancee. The backstory, referring to previous novels, was adequately explained in digestible chunks.

The characters

Inspector Nick Dixon is a credible character, likeable but with his faults, including anger management issues for reasons going back to a previous novel. The other characters are drawn in varying but sufficient detail too and all seem credible.

The setting

Death Message is set in the west of England, moving from Somerset to Bristol and Gloucestershire. The scenes in Bristol in particular brought back memories of my time in that city. Westcountry people will probably feel especially at home in the many sections in other locations. There was enough detail for me without turning it into a travelog. I learnt a lot about street art!

The writing style

The clear, straightforward style helped keep up the pace with only such descriptions of people and places as were necessary, which suited my preference for minimalist writing.

One positive or negative feature?

The author was once a solicitor who worked for a time in the crown prosecution service. This doubtless explains his going into police procedures in some detail. He evidently appreciates the frustration these cause for real detectives as they do for Nick Dixon. For some readers this will be a fascinating element of the book, whilst for others they may sometimes seem a little excessive.

My overall response

With writers like this producing such good police detective fiction, I am more determined than ever to stick to writing about amateur detectives like Frank Hill, the accountant in the Accounting for Murder series.