Death Sentence by Damien Boyd

Death Sentence by Damien Boyd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

The body of an elderly man is found in an abandoned World War Two pillbox beside the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. With no obvious motive and no credible suspect, DI Nick Dixon starts digging into the victim’s past.

The more he digs, the deeper Dixon is drawn into a case that takes him from the cave systems beneath rural Somerset to the heart of government, and threatens to expose a military cover-up at the highest level.

Blocked by a wall of silence, Dixon must unravel a dangerous conspiracy before the killer strikes again.

When the body of a Veteran is found in a World War Two pillbox DI Nick Dixon at first struggles to find any kind of motive that makes sense. But as he and his team peel back the layers the military cover-up and resounding silence that meets them leads Dixon into very dangerous territory.

I have been enjoying this series and really enjoyed this newest addition. I was very pleased that the author kept a series of strong and believable links between what happened in the past and how it was relevant and still effecting people in the present – I feel this kept the book from dwelling too hard on the history and kept it modern and far more relatable.

I also really appreciated how – tempting though it might have been for the author – the story didn’t have many flashbacks to the past. This also really helped me feel like the story was centered and rooted in the present and I was very happy with this. One slight critique would be that there is a short opening scene at the start of the book set in some underground caves and while I thoroughly enjoyed this scene is it not referenced or linked in any way to the rest of the book until well after the halfway mark of the story. Indeed, around the halfway mark I went back to that opening scene and reread it to make sure I hadn’t missed anything as I could not see at all how it related to the rest of the book. It felt like an incredibly long time to not know how it fit in and I really wonder if it needed to be the opening scene – well written and attention grabbing as it was – or if it would have been better served later on in the story.

That said I really enjoyed this British police procedural style of story. I definitely feel readers can pick it up and enjoy it even though it’s part of a series. While some of the secondary characters feel a little thin – more of a support than a standout character – DI Dixon and the main characters are strongly written, and I found thoroughly enjoyable.

An excellent book. Recommended.