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Altered Life (Sam Dyke Investigations Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Keith Dixon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

"Right out of the gate, this is an amazing novel for first-time author, Keith Dixon." - Ron Peters, POD People.

"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.

Editorial Reviews


"In the spirit of Chandler's Marlowe, though with an unmistakable British voice and style, Dixon's prose flows seamlessly and pulls in the reader from page one. His characters are real; flawed, imperfect, human. His story is well thought out, believable and holds together without the slightest glitch. Though not a novel of non-stop action, the suspense grips the reader and forces him, or her, to read just another page, or chapter, or more."
Claude Bouchard, author of the 'Vigilante' series.

From the Author

Thanks for stopping by! 
This is the first book in the Sam Dyke Investigations series. The second in the series is THE PRIVATE LIE, the third is THE HARD SWIM, and both are available on Kindle and through in print.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Altered Life -- exceptionally well written tale January 13, 2008
The first thing that hits you when you read the opening lines of Altered Life, is the fact that it is in the First Person. This of course is the standard format for the genre; ie, Crime / Detective / PI stories; but it has rarely been accomplished well since the days of the famed Raymond Chandler; well that is not the case here I am delighted to say, UK writer Keith manages to put First Person back up where it belongs, on top of the pile, due to his great forte for the style as shown here.

Minus the seedy monologues involving dames and broads and neon lit corner diners providing the only light on dark rainy nights, Keith Dixon stoutheartedly keeps the style of delivery firmly on this ( UK ) side of the Sargasso, and makes the first person narrative style all his own. Altered life is a tale of a private investigator, Sam Dyke, who is asked by a management consultant, Rory Brand, to investigate his beliefs that someone is trying to scupper his business and steal new software related to the still burgeoning Human Resource culture-monster which is engulfing all aspects of Personnel and Recruitment in both the private and state sectors in all countries where paint bombing and away-days are King.

The story has a surprising very early twist and this then really sets the scene for the rest of the tale; so much so I cannot relate it here as it would be a Class 1 Spoiler. But, the combination of A1 narrative and dialogue, the totally believable characters, and the tense situations punctuating the overall plot, make this a great story by a great writer. Keith once won an award for one of his earlier offerings, let us hope he repeats this achievement with - Altered Life. Well done, Keith, here's to your next offering.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nicely written but... March 21, 2013
By K.Rose
When I began reading this book, was impressed by the quality of the prose and cleanliness of the copy, so I thought I was in for a good read. Unfortunately, however, the book failed to live up to its early promise. Although there were some lovely metaphors, well-written prose alone does not make a good book. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book, it just doesn't quite hang together and it lacks the sparkle that makes a book shine.

The main character seemed well enough developed, but I would like to have seen a bit more of his thought process and emotions. Murder mystery readers need a few clues so they can participate in the hunt for the killer. As it was, since he didn't share his thoughts on the case, I had nothing to go on, and found it a little unbelievable when he put it all together after a rather haphazard investigation.

Secondary characters were a little sketchy and the major players at the end of the book were so little known to me that I couldn't remember exactly who they were. It was supposed to be a twist, but it failed because I couldn't work out what the woman had to do with the overall crime or what her motivations were, both in past scenes and in the final scene.

Also, for a character who we were supposed to believe was your usual street-smart private detective, he was inordinately stupid at the end when he met the killer with no back-up. Any person with half a brain would have waited at the inn for him, but that wouldn't have provided the dramatic ending, hence the ending seemed rather contrived.

Though it kept me reading, the story was basically rather dull. Books of this genre need a lot more excitement to be successful.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good first effort May 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I think of hard-boiled detective fiction, I don't think of British writers. When I think of British detective fiction, I don't think of the hard-boiled kind. So it was a surprise to see a British hard-boiled detective novel. But it was a good surprise.
I haven't had a chance to check out the second in the series, but it's on my list for the summer.
This first novel doesn't reach the level of the great American hard-boiled novels, but there's a lot of potential here. I certainly would recommend it for fans of hard-boiled detective novels.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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.

It has twists and turns, with the clues leading you to think in one direction but actually taking a surprising turn down a different path. You think you might get the traditional American ending where the detective solves the mystery, resolves the issues with his old flame and gets the new girl... But does he really?

Dixon leaves you with a twist in the tail, wondering whether there's not more to the mystery than first meets the eye and, thinking that there is more to be added to them, the mystery and Dyke, leaving you wanting more of both.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mix of Good and Not So Good April 10, 2014
By RMoore
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This author is a good writer in that he crafts sentences and paragraphs with clarity and colorful descriptive phrases. The story as a whole, though, suffered a bit from what they call the "sagging middle." The hero spends chapter after chapter going around interviewing people without making appreciable progress.

Characterizations are well drawn, and the settings are beautifully described, so I enjoyed that part.

The ending seemed lame, because the hero knowingly walks into a trap -- anything to confront the killer, right? -- and gambles his life with little preparation for what he should expect. Then a minor character rescues him, so we can't even admire Sam Dyke for saving himself against great odds.

The motivations for the guilty parties aren't adequate for murdering people. Many experience disappointments in business without trying to kill everybody involved, including the detective who's on their trail.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good mystery
Well thought out story infused with dry comedy. I liked the main character, Sam Dykes, and the setting in England. I will definitely read the other books in the series.
Published 15 days ago by Darrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
I found this book to be an interesting and fast read. Did see some of what was coming but not all. I enjoyed the book.
Published 1 month ago by Mary Ann Wolf
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual management concept
Although most people would groan at management consultants and their "games" author Keith Dixon goes 1 better by murdering 1 to add spice to their topics.
Published 2 months ago by Edward Beavers
3.0 out of 5 stars Some how not the best!
The story had too many contrived twists. His descriptions particularly of clothing were over done. Did not reflect the work of a mature author.
Published 3 months ago by Peter K. Worsley
5.0 out of 5 stars great
well written and very good plot, it was a very interesting read held my interest during the whole time i was reading the book
Published 3 months ago by Mary
4.0 out of 5 stars The nest type of read, as it grabs you and takes you along.
It was a gripping story that had me flipping pages as fast as I could. I enjoyed the ride, which had some unexpected turns.
Published 3 months ago by Charles S. Smith III
4.0 out of 5 stars Private Eye Plus
Expect the expected. There's the inevitable car chase, a good deal of mayhem worked on Sam Dyke, the protagonist, and it all ends with a cliff-hanger--literally. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JOHN A. BROUSSARD
5.0 out of 5 stars Another British Book Finished
Even though I was born in the USA, my ancestry goes back to England. I'll always prefer a good story with familiar locations and vocabulary. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Miles Henri Sumner
3.0 out of 5 stars Facinating.
This author wrote a very interesting book. His characters were a bit jumbled at first. The storyline was great. It kept you wondering what would happen next. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Darlene Moody
2.0 out of 5 stars Thin on plot, heavy on geography, angst and preachiness
Started out well, but deteriorated into detailed tours of the surroundings and lots of judgmental ravings. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rosina Maiers
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More About the Author

A few years ago Keith Dixon had a revelation and realised that what he wanted to do was give up work and write fiction full time.

So since then he's written three novels featuring private eye Sam Dyke and published a non-crime book, Actress. He's also given up work.

The fourth Sam Dyke Investigation, The Bleak, was published in May, 2014.

He's currently sharing his time between the UK and France.

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