Dying Inside by Damien Boyd

Dying Inside by Damien Boyd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

In this thriller from the bestselling DI Nick Dixon crime series, a brutal murder looks like a gangland execution… until the next body is found.

Newly promoted DCI Nick Dixon is stuck behind a desk when the peace of the Somerset countryside is shattered by a spate of sheep killings. Dixon recognises a sinister pattern: the animals have all been slaughtered with a crossbow, the power increasing with each kill. It seems whoever is responsible is practising, but for what?

Then the owner of a yacht that capsized on a suspected drug run is found dead, pinned to a tree by four crossbow bolts. Convinced that the killing is a gangland execution, the organised crime unit take over the investigation.

Dixon is sure the motive lies elsewhere, but is forced to watch from the sidelines—until another body is found.

Leading a major investigation team at Avon and Somerset Police headquarters, and with internal politics threatening to thwart him at every turn, Dixon must find the murderer before he kills again. And again…

After a recent promotion, DCI Nick Dixon finds himself sidelined from the field work and detective work he loves. His schedule crammed with meetings and performance appraisals and webinar training sessions, Dixon is finding himself drowning in the boring slog of police work which doesn’t satisfy him. So when a local farmer rocks up out front of the station with the six decaying sheep carcasses killed with a crossbow bolt to make his concerns taken seriously, Dixon is thrilled to finally have something – no matter how small – to actually investigate. When a body with the same crossbow bolt markings soon turns up, Dixon can see the sheep carcasses for that they really are. Practice. And now the killer is ready for his real targets – humans.

I’ve been enjoying this series for quite some time now and I’m thoroughly pleased that this author has only grown from strength to strength. I heartily sympathized with Dixon – caught between a rock and a hard place. With his management squeezing him into a slot he has no real desire to fill Dixon has been trying to work his own solutions but his streak of luck is finally running out. Grabbing a hold of this multi-faceted case though has finally put some spark back into Dixon’s work life and it’s really interesting to follow along with him and see where it all leads.

In many respects this is an average or normal type of case, a number of different elements – a sunken yacht, dead sheep and a murder victim – all tied together through either coincidence or very thin threads, but watching Dixon and his team tie everything together and uncover what’s really going on what excellent reading. This is not a crack-paced, fast action thriller, but it’s also not a plodding or boring police procedural story. I did feel some of the office politics was a little boring – though I can readily admit it gave quite a bit of tension and structure behind just how pinched and trapped Dixon felt with where his career had turned. I felt all these different elements wound together to form a really interesting, well paced and very well plotted murder mystery.

Readers can be assured they can easily pick this story up by itself. Despite it being the latest in a decent length series the plot and setting and characters are all very well explained and while I enjoyed seeing the various elements of Dixon’s team work together and felt the ending was quite satisfying on a number of levels.

An excellent British police procedural story with a realistic and compelling plot, some great characters and a delicious story to add into this series. A great book.

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