Swansong by Damien Boyd

Swansong by Damien Boyd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Isobel Swan, a sixth form student, has been murdered. First, her ring finger is severed, then her throat is cut.

With the investigation going nowhere fast, Detective Inspector Nick Dixon is sent undercover as a trainee teacher into Isobel’s boarding school.

But to find the killer, he must first confront his inner demons and lay to rest the ghosts lurking in his own past. If he can…

As Dixon digs deeper, the stakes have never been higher and a murder has never felt so personal.

DCI Nick Dixon has just returned from a short holiday at Cypres when he’s informed of the murder of a sixth form student. Isobel Swan looks identical to Nick’s high school girlfriend who went missing mysteriously in their lower sixth form year. Nick goes undercover as a teacher at the school and all too soon there’s another murder and everything becomes far more personal and complicated.

This is the fourth novel in the DCI Nick Dixon series, and I’ve been really enjoying these books. While there is a bit of history between Dixon and his colleague/girlfriend Jane and other members of their team, I feel the story can definitely be read as a standalone story. The plot and everything surrounding it including the muddiness created by Dixon’s personal take on the crime is all very well explained and handled and I feel readers should be able to easily pick this up without having read any of the previous installments.

I found this to be very much a police procedural style of mystery novel and while I didn’t think there was anything too unique or fresh about it, I nevertheless found it thoroughly enjoyable. Readers looking for something new or envelope pushing won’t find that here – but for a solid, well plotted and interesting mystery I really feel this book fits the bill. I did wonder a little about how much leeway Dixon was given by his superiors considering his very personal agenda for this murder – to be honest I didn’t find it overly realistic – but I did enjoy the fact that (as a bit of a change) Dixon’s bosses had a lot of faith and confidence in his abilities and were willing to trust him. I find it a bit of a cliché when there’s an overly antagonistic relationship between a detective and his superiors, so it was definitely a nice change to read the other side to this coin.

Readers looking for a solid British based murder mystery novel should absolutely find this as enjoyable as I did. I’m eager to read more by this author and will happily continue with this series.

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