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on 8 December 2017
Wow, up another notch for this Sam Dyke thriller.
This one not in first person this time, nevertheless just as exciting and nail biting as the previous 2 books. Attention to detail and mannerisms of characters, makes it easy to picture exactly what's going on, but not where it's going, ultimately adding to the intrigue and compulsion to keep reading, when you should be sleeping.

The key to this story is a diary, written during the second world war, in an unknown language and belonging to Chantal Bressette, whose grandfather was the author. Chantal wants it translated, which sends everything spiralling out of control. Sam happens to be in the same place at the same time, and saves her life, both their lives are now in great danger........but why?

It seems some people will go to extreme lengths to get hold of this diary, even cold blooded murder. Murderers who are ex-forces and even protected by shadowy government ministers. Lots of mind searching questions, twists and turns and nail biting throughout this great storyline, exciting in its entirety!

On to book 4!!!
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on 2 July 2013
(Possible Spoilers). First off, I am a confirmed Keith Dixon / Sam Dyke fan. I loved the first two tales, I loved the plots, and I loved the delivery; in these Mr Dixon manages the (Briticised) world-weary first person gumshoe musings exceptionally well. However, that has been abandoned here, and although still a very good tale which I enjoyed a lot, I feel I would have enjoyed it even more if this had been offered to us in first. I think I understand why this has happened though: perhaps the under-belly of other characters cannot be (independently) exposed so comprehensively in first - perhaps needing their own time and space possibly achieved through wholesale shifts in both narrative and dialogue towards them, which of course would mean the whole tale being written in third person, which is indeed the case here. However. . .

Overall, the tale is a good'un. A chance intervention by Sam - in the vicinity due to a bread and butter assignment - serving papers - sees an attack on a young lady outside an Edinburgh conference centre timely thwarted. Here is the first point where there may be some degree of spoilers, so, as they say on the footy results - look away now if this is likely to be a problem. But it wasn't just an everyday mugging or even a more serious sexual motive; the lady has on her person, what is deemed to be by some, sensitive written / printed matter from many years before, which, if it came to the public's attention, could possibly put a spanner in the works of the ambitions of a rising star of the establishment. The baddies are so well placed, protected and resourced, it was never going to be a shrug and 'Shucks - that's it, fellas, let's go for a burger and we might make it home in time for Match of the Day', far far from it. Soon, Sam's involvement is known, in fact full details of his identity and life - where he lives, his partner, his son and so on, are all soon on the desk of the main mover and shaker; but Sam has already sensed a remaining danger and takes the lady, a British-French lady but more British - Chantal Bressette, into his protection.

So, we start in Scotland, and then the plot and the action shifts - briefly - to the north-west, and then down to various points on the south coast, and finally, it all comes to a head, climax - denouement (whatever), somewhere in the middle of France.

There are also the existing strains of Sam's personal relationships on show, and these develop further - not section-hoggingly so, but enough; I think Mr D has done well on these parts as unobtrusive as they are, and, I feel, must be very true to life for those who lead both personal and professional lives similar to Sam Dyke. It's not just the doings of his job which is part of the problem, it's also partly due to his attitude to life. Whether his job makes him so, or whether his character is well-fitted for the job, who knows?

Once the readers of Sam's previous outings have got used to the change in writing style in this offering, then it can be read as a highly enjoyable romp. What really makes it so, is imperfection: Sam, Chantal as well as the head of the baddie outfit actually doing the job, all make errors, some big ones, some minor ones, resulting in the upper hand being held by each party at different points. Sam is basically a good bloke, but - he ain't the best of the best despite trying his best, and this shows throughout, and such realism aids the tale throughout.

There are some minuses to the tale, though, but not major ones. I'd have liked a bit more meat to the main reason the whole shooting match exists in the first place. I'd have liked Dan to figure at least a little more; I thought from the previous tales that we were heading for a very definite 'Dyke and Son' with a newly painted legend on the glass door of a second floor office in Plaistow or Bethnal Green or somewhere. (Ok, Sam's NW based, but you just can't beat these old stereotypes!)

I think if Mr D had managed his usual Raymond and kept this in first person, I don't think 5 stars would have been a problem, but for me, third person takes the shine off these type of tales (a tad) however well done, (hard boiled, preferably!), so 4 stars it is. But still a very good offering from Keith Dixon.
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on 6 January 2018
This is the third book I've read by this author and yet again it's kept me turning the pages and I found it hard to put down you can read the storyline on Amazon but I will say it has all the ingredients of a first class book politics murder secret agent's and even a bit of true history thrown in so if you want a good read here it is I'm on to book four now
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on 12 April 2013
I liked this enormously. It has a Dick Francis like attention to detail which makes the plot totally convincing. The thing that I found fascinating was the character of Steele and the psychology of someone who knows he is a sadist but at the same time is aware of what it does to his karma and who thinks of himself as an honourable soldier until disillusioned. A really good read with a depth of characterisation, a classic private eye hero and interesting historical twists to the plot.
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on 26 November 2017
With twists and turns spanning across the (UK) and France this is another great novel from Keith Dixon with Sam
Dyke playing the role of a private investigator that never seems to quite get it right with his Wife !
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on 3 June 2014
I was a bit put out initially thinking that the excellent Cheshire/south Manchester scene wsa out the window as Sam was up with the Jocks. didn't last and happy to say it was another great read with dogged Sam keeping on going. Definite Spenseresque vibe which I really like and tonnes of potential for a series as long as Mr Dixon wants to make it.

Well recommended.
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on 17 April 2013
Unable to resist a damsel in distress or an unsolved mystery,Sam Dyke puts both his life and his relationship with the long suffering Laura on the line. This is a well written plot that glimpses the lengths those with aspirations of political power will go to in order to protect their dubious reputations. Keith Dixon's 'baddies' have a sadistic edge that make you wince. Connell Steele's uncontrolled thirst for violence is no less gruesome than that of Little Jimmy in The Private Lie. And who is the mysterious Angel? Undeterred as usual, Private Eye Dyke's Yorkshire grit drives him on, taking the reader on a journey into WWII and a possible conspiracy that causes ripples in the present day. As with Keith Dixon's previous Sam Dyke investigations, I read The Hard Swim in a matter of days. His writing flows in such a way that you don't want to put the book down. Buy this book...you'll love it!
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on 27 April 2013
Sam is a good northern straight talking man and by this third book you really feel as if you have got to know him better and he is just the kind of guy you want in your corner if you were ever in trouble. I enjoyed the characters, dialogue and story tremendously and if there was any justice out there these would be made into a tv adaptation. If you liked Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie character then you will like these Sam Dyke books. I hope there will be many more in this series.
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on 5 April 2016
What a brilliant read I could not put it down. It was a roller coaster from start to finish thank you.
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on 7 September 2017
Enjoyable read
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