I have no pre-conceived notions about Nick. I can tell you what he is not, though. He is not damaged, by which I mean he is not an alcoholic, doesn’t take drugs nor does he visit prostitutes. That may make him a less interesting character perhaps but his personal battles are not the focus of the stories and certainly should not distract the reader from the plot. There will be no ‘padding’ of these stories with introspection on the part of the investigating officer!
Other than that, I have very few ground rules for him and the reader will watch him develop over the course of the series. I look forward to watching that too!
He is in the Avon and Somerset Police attached to Bridgwater CID. He is in his early 30’s, single (at the time of writing – that may change) and owns a Staffie called Monty that he rescued from a charity. He is diabetic, which will play a part in later stories, drives an old Land Rover and lives in a rented cottage in Brent Knoll. Pets are banned under the terms of his tenancy agreement. He has also won the George Medal (I haven’t decided how yet).
Reproduced here is the passage from As The Crow Flies where he is introduced to the reader for the first time:-
Very few people had understood his decision to leave the Metropolitan Police and join the Avon and Somerset force but Nick Dixon had never regretted it for a minute. Walking along the base of the cliffs at Brean Down on a gloriously sunny morning in early autumn, he was reminded more than ever that it had been the right decision. There was not a soul around, the tide was out and the wet sand glistened in the low morning sun.
Ambition and career had never been all that important to him and it had always been his intention to return home at the first opportunity. Career advancement in the police meant management and he wasn’t having that either. Crime detection was what it was about for him. He had to concede that the quality of work was better in the Met but that had never really motivated him either. It was just a job. A job doing what he enjoyed and now in a place he loved. Definitely the right decision.
His girlfriend had certainly not understood, making it abundantly clear, shortly before she became his ex-girlfriend, that she had no intention of burying herself away in the back end of beyond.
His parents had not understood it either. It was always expected that he would go on to become the Metropolitan Police Commissioner with a knighthood at the very least, and they never missed an opportunity to remind him how much his education had cost and the sacrifices that had been made along the way. They had left him in no doubt that his decision was an enormous disappointment to them.
Dixon had graduated from university with a degree in law and had gone on to qualify as a solicitor. Only then had he opted for a career in the police. Being a graduate, his promotion had been fast tracked to the rank of Inspector, a fact that was openly resented by most of his colleagues. Much to the irritation of his superiors, he had then insisted on a switch to CID. He had spent five years based in Wimbledon before the transfer to the Avon and Somerset force came up.
He was not entirely convinced that his new colleagues in the Avon and Somerset force understood why he had transferred from the Met either. Various rumours were circulating, each with a different reason for what was universally believed to have been his removal in circumstances that needed to be hushed up. Dixon took the view that no one would believe the simple truth that he wanted to move so he had given up trying to explain.
The move itself had been a bit of a rush. He had gone from a furnished flat in Wimbledon to an unfurnished cottage in Brent Knoll, both rentals, and, two months on, his only furniture consisted of a bed and a TV. He had also needed a car. For those living inside the M25 a car is an unnecessary expense, particularly when public transport is so readily available. The same cannot be said for life in rural Somerset. Dixon had opted for a blue long wheel base Land Rover Defender that had clearly seen better days. He had also invested in the relevant Haynes manual and was determined to do all the work on it himself.
Dixon’s most recent acquisition, if acquisition was the right word, was an eight-month-old white Staffordshire bull terrier he had called Monty. A cheerful soul, despite what he had been through; Monty had come from a rescue centre and had been found abandoned. Dixon felt sure that Monty had never been allowed to run off the lead before but he was certainly making up for it now. He was also getting the hang of chasing a tennis ball. Bringing it back could come later.
I hope you enjoy watching his character develop!