Making a killing in business is one thing – doing it for real is another.
Private Investigator Sam Dyke turns down a job that would require skills that he doesn’t have – patience, computer-literacy, tact. Then he finds that the skills he does have – tenacity, aggression, street-smarts – are exactly the ones he needs for his next case – hunting down a cold-blooded murderer who seems to know what his every step will be.
To solve the case Sam must negotiate with his ex-wife, cement a relationship with a new love, unravel an office-based financial fraud and fight off an arrogant murderer armed only with a pen-knife.
Altered Life is fast-paced, bitterly comic and introduces a tough new English private eye who knows what he wants and, usually, how to get it.
What some American reviewers have said:
“If you like private eye stories, you owe it to yourself to check out Keith Dixon’s Altered Life. I had a hard time putting it down and I bet you will too. With this book you’ll be in on the ground floor of what is sure to be a successful series of ‘Sam Dyke’ mysteries.” – Dan Marvin, The LL Book Review.
“Meet Sam Dyke, a shoot from the hip, slightly cynical, less than happy with how life has turned out private eye. A turned down job turns into a personal quest to do right by his ex-wife even if it is eighteen years too late. The plot escalates quickly and keeps going until the mystery solved with some death defying quick thinking from Dyke. The hook is baited for the second book nicely but not in such a way that you feel like you got thrown off the literary cliff wondering what happened.”
“This great read harkens back to the days of the straightforward in your face detective genre. The author does not try to be “cutsey” or politically correct. He just tells a great story with an extremely proficient hero, Sam Dyke. I usually can figure these types of tales out by the middle of the book, but not this one. It will hook you early with the deviously crafted characters. An example of this fine writer’s skill is an attempted murder by a forced car accident. When I was reading this heart stopping passage, I found myself literally holding my breath.
If you enjoy a good mystery with many surprises along the way, you’ll love this book.”
Some of the British Amazon reviews:
“The best part of this series is the main character and his personality infuses the writing style perfectly – I’d call it masculine, and masculinity at its best is very gentle.
Everything works – as it did in Private Lie – plot, rapid-fire tagless dialogue, and effortless pacing. You can’t help liking Sam, a character most people would want in their corner.”
“Keith Dixon creates strong visual impressions, of both his characters and his settings, which drive the narrative forward without any of the usual clichés prevalent in this genre. When an author keeps you up to the early hours of the morning, because you can’t go to sleep until you’ve finished the story, then you know you’re on to a winner.”
“I like thrillers, particularly detective thriller and I’ve read a lot of them. However, this one stands out. Not only does it avoid the usual clichés, but the characterisation of the main character, Sam Dyke, is particularly well conceived.
Another plus is the early twist that made me sit up straight and take notice. Sam Dyke’s personal life is much more interesting than the private detectives we usually come across in this genre.
Next, I’m always grateful when a UK writer takes on the genre as most US writers fall into the trap of trying to out-Chandler, Chandler.
Finally, this book is crisply written by a writer fully in command of his use of language, of pacing, of structure and of the settings he uses. Practically error free, this was a major plus.
Overall, an excellent read, which I recommend to lovers of the genre. Now, I’m going to read the next in the series.”