The Bleak
Publisher: Amazon (2014)
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“The ninth rule of private detection states that you should never take on a client you think might be nuts. I wasn’t entirely convinced this was the case with the woman who’d called me that morning, but I was certainly tending that way.”

Sam Dyke is a private investigator whom you can’t help but enjoy getting to know. Readers will quickly get to understand Dyke’s character by his sharing of his detective tenets.

The case involves a distraught female named Margaret, who is deeply concerned over the recent behavior of her boss Nathan. Though apprehensive, Dyke takes on her case anyway even if it goes against his better judgement.

What unfolds is a fast-paced thriller based in England, specifically in Crewe, where a number of questionable suicides have taken place. One of these suicides turns out to be Margaret’s boss.

Dyke shares more of his detective axioms: “I’ve found that once I start a case it tends to move quickly. I hadn’t exactly started on this— whatever “it” turned out to be— but things still moved along at a click.”

Sam’s focus rests upon the research facility where Nathan worked. In fact, Sam is asked by the CEO of the company to look into Nathan’s death as well. This was not well received by some of the employees. “Why are you letting Dyke into all this? He’s a little toe-rag who shouldn’t be truffling around looking for something that he won’t find.”

Sam faces near silence and some pretty stiff push-back from some of those whom he interviews: “What do you think you’re going to find, exactly? What do you think people are going to tell you?”

Sam counters with “I won’t know until they tell me. That’s the way it is in this game. One minute, complete ignorance, the next, enlightenment. Private detection is almost a spiritual act.”

A real sense of danger and suspense culminates in some fairly intense moments for our main character. At times you are left wondering if Sam Dyke has taken on his last case.

When Sam interview’s Nathan’s wife, Isobel, what she tells him gives him grave reason for concern. “In the last eighteen months I watched my husband change from someone who enjoyed his life, enjoyed his work and enjoyed whatever spare time he had left to spend with me. He changed into someone whom I barely recognized. He didn’t eat well. He didn’t sleep well. He spent more time at the office than any sane man should.”

As the story progresses you learn of the bleak. Who or what is the bleak? You’re going to have to read this well-crafted detective tale to find out. Keith Dixon has given readers a thrill ride in this fast-paced story of hidden truths waiting to be discovered.

Keith Dixon’s winning protagonist is Sam Dyke; a gritty British detective who can take as well as give. Fans of hard-boiled detective series are going to revel in following the cases of Sam Dyke, Investigations.