FEBRUARY 1942: The Struma, a broken-down steamer, explodes and sinks in the Black Sea, drowning 768 Rumanian Jews fleeing the Nazis and heading for Palestine, and safety.
JUNE 1944: Thirty-one SAS soldiers are captured behind enemy lines and are forced to dig their own graves before being shot and buried in a forest in the heart of France.
SEVENTY YEARS LATER: A young woman is attacked in the grounds of Edinburgh Zoo – the attacker seeking the document that might link these two wartime events.
Private Investigator Sam Dyke rescues the woman, Chantal Bressette, and embarks on a quest to find out why the document she carries is being sought by a high-ranking Government official and his team of ex-Army thugs. They follow a series of clues that lead them eventually to an isolated village in central France, tracked by the thugs and government minister Gideon Blake, who becomes obsessed with uncovering what the document reveals because he believes it implicates his family in an obscene war-crime.
The Hard Swim is the third in Keith Dixon’s series of Sam Dyke Investigations.
If you like fast-moving thrillers in the vein of The Day of the Jackal, the Jason Bourne movies and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, then you’ll love The Hard Swim.
“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 honorable soldier until disillusioned. A really good read with a depth of characterization, a classic private eye hero and interesting historical twists to the plot.”
The trucker poked him in the chest again, a small grin lifting one side of his mouth, as though he was taking pleasure in testing Angel’s limits.
Angel said, ‘Don’t do that.’
The man poked him in the chest once more. ‘Do what?’
Which was when Angel hit him. He had been trained in at least three unarmed combat techniques and had studied more. For him, the simplest manoeuvre was always the best, especially when surprise was on your side. So when his right hand whiplashed towards the trucker’s neck he met no resistance. He remembered his first instructor’s advice, as always: ‘Hit and stick,’ leaving the side of his hand against the driver’s neck for a tenth of a second to allow the shockwave to travel down his own arm and set up reverberations in the man’s own body.
Almost immediately, the man’s eyes rolled back in his head, he juddered and fell to the floor. Angel stood over him.
‘Perhaps you’ll watch where you’re going next time, you twat.’
He pulled down the sleeve of his jacket and climbed back into the Passat. He didn’t look behind him as he exited the service station car park and rejoined the M40.
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