Boyd, Damien. Kickback.

Seattle: Thomas & Mercer, 2015.

This is the third in the series featuring homicide specialist DI Nick Dixon of Somerset and the theme this time is horse racing, which is rather different in the UK than in the U.S. A young trainer at a racing stable has been found apparently kicked to death by a horse whose aggressive tendencies are well known, but his brother, just back from Afghanistan, is convinced it wasn’t an accident.

To calm a suddenly dangerous situation, Dixon agrees to take a look at the matter and turns up information that convinces him the death was actually a murder. (And I have to say, I learned a lot about the business of horse racing in the process, at the same time that Dixon himself does.) The plot enlarges to include organized crime, corrupt betting, and drug smuggling, and the author — who apparently has a background in the criminal law, if not in police work — handles the investigation very convincingly.

Each of Boyd’s novels is a little longer than the previous ones, so he appears to be increasingly confident in his storytelling. He also has a good grasp of plot development and characterization, and he doesn’t allow descriptions of the weather and the countryside to distract him from the plot. An enjoyable series.

Published in: on 9 October 2016 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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