Keith Nixon’s Dig Two Graves is a dark and very enjoyable character study. Solomon Gray is a copper whose life has been put on hold since his son went missing ten years ago at a fairground. In the present is a sixteen year old whose been murdered, and he has Gray’s number on his phone.
From there, Gray is on the hunt for the murderer, complicated by bodies piling up around him. The blame seems to point at him.
The book is more about Gray than the actual murders, and I’m fine with that. I love a dark protagonist and Gray’s life is as storm-ridden as any. He doesn’t know if his son is dead or alive. He doesn’t know if the sixteen year old is his son, though his age pings all possibilities around his racked mind. His wife, Kate, committed suicide in the aftermath of her son’s disappearance, and Gray has a non-relationship with his other child, a daughter.
On top of all that he has to deal with religious busy-body, Alice, who encouraged Kate’s faith, aggressive colleagues, and the possibility of new, complicated love. When the screw is turned you want to swig some of that whisky he throws down his neck.
When the screw turns, I did question Gray’s character. After one particular murder I wanted to bash him over the head with that whisky bottle for not being clear with the police – it felt out of place.
But, if you like mood, setting, and a great character to set your teeth into, this is a classy read.
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