As The Crow Flies by Damien Boyd

As The Crow Flies by Damien Boyd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, Seattle
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

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.

It had been a number of years since DI Nick Dixon had been actively participating in the rock-climbing community, but he still had a number of good friends there and he kept in touch with their adventures online. When his old climbing partner and still very good friend dies in what appears to be an accident Nick can’t turn down his friend’s parents when they plea for Nick to help supply some answers. Jake had been a professional for many years and it seems incredibly unlikely that he made such a rookie mistake as tying an incorrect knot. But the more Nick digs into the case, the murkier everything becomes.

This is a completely new-to-me author, and I am so very glad I found this book and new series. Before I was halfway through this book, I had already ordered the second and I am very much looking forward to reading more. I thought this was a gripping and quite freshly different style of novel and story. The rock-climbing aspect to it was utterly new to me and while the author adds a good balance of technical detail (his knowledge and research is very clear from the outset) it also doesn’t get bogged down by too much data and the pace of the story moved along at what I felt was a good clip.

I enjoyed the main characters and definitely felt the author wrote this story really well. I was attached and intrigued by the characters but still found them realistic and relatable. The pace of the mystery was good – fast enough that I wasn’t bored or skipping pages, but slow enough I could actually catch everything and didn’t feel like I was racing along too fast to take everything in. For a first novel I felt this was a really good quality and standard and I am definitely eager to read more.

While in many ways this is a regular police procedural style of story, I feel enough different energy is present with both the interesting characters and in particular the rock-climbing element that this should appeal to readers as something a bit more than “just another British-inspector-murder-mystery” style of story. I certainly am pleased I gave this a shot and feel many other mystery/suspense readers will likely feel the same. Best of all this is the start of a decent length series so I have plenty more books to look forward to into the future. Recommended.


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