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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.
“Keith Dixon has taken the classic American cop-turned-private eye mystery story with all its American-style action but given Sam Dyke a British intricacy by combining the wit, intelligence and complexity of the likes of Colin Dexter’s “upper-crust” Morse with the working class background and the reining in of the “madness” with method of Morse’s partner, Lewis.”
I heard a sudden shuffle of feet behind me and on instinct moved to my left. Something heavy glanced off my shoulder and I turned to see Brian standing with a square marble ashtray in his hands, his eyes wide open, a fleck of spittle on his bottom lip. He began to raise the ashtray again so I stepped forward and popped him with a medium strength punch on the point of his jaw. He staggered and fell backwards awkwardly into a metre-high roll of bubble wrap, which unfurled a tongue beneath him and exploded with a thousand little exhalations as he fell to the floor. He dropped the ashtray and raised a hand to his jaw.
‘Ow! You bastard, I’ll get you for that.’
‘Sit still, Brian,’ I said.
I turned back to Derek. He had collapsed and was sitting on a plastic office chair. The rain outside came harder and drummed on the tin roof like an overture for his confession.
‘Well?’ I said. ‘Do we have to carry on with this nonsense?’
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