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Student Alistair Minton is missing, and his parents want Sam Dyke to find him. He does … but then learns that the reason Alistair went missing goes back to when he was five years old, to an event that his parents, Carol and Giles, have been hiding both from others and from themselves.

Dyke uncovers two murders separated by 15 years but connected by the same moral blindness and willingness to lie and act as though the ends always justify the means.

Writing in the spirit of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, THE LONELY GRAVE examines how damaged families can perpetuate the hurt and the shame experienced by one generation into the next, with results that are damaging to all.

Keith Dixon is a two-time first-place winner, private eye/noir category, in Chanticleer Reviews’ CLUE Awards for crime writing.

Dixon had a chance to meet with The Big Thrill and discuss the ninth installment of the Sam Dyke Investigations series, THE LONELY GRAVE:

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

As a Brit, I’ve been reading American crime novels for more than 30 years. This series is an attempt to capture some of the feeling of the best American private eye novels, particularly the books of Ross Macdonald, Robert Crais, and Robert B. Parker.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

In this book I focused on giving the plot resonance in the larger world. I wanted the book to have something to say about the current political situation in the UK, without making it didactic or dull. With this in mind, the characters and their development became even more important than usual.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I was interested in developing my style in this book, and decided to use a more imagistic and metaphorical style of writing. I think this enabled me to enlarge the book’s meaning so that it had relevance to more than just the characters I’d invented to populate it.


Keith Dixon was born in Yorkshire and grew up in the Midlands. He’s been writing since he was 13-years-old in a number of different genres: thriller, espionage, science fiction, literary.

He’s the author of seven novels in the Sam Dyke Investigations series and two other non-crime works, as well as two collections of blog posts on the craft of writing.

When he’s not writing he enjoys reading, learning the guitar, watching movies and binge-inhaling great TV series. He’s currently spending more time in France than is probably good for him.

To learn more about Keith, please visit his website.