Review: Rich Men, Dead Men by Michael Dylan

Rich Men, Dead Men by Michael Dylan

Timy reviews Rich Men, Dead Men, the first book in Michael Dylan‘s crime thriller series, DI Simon Wise.

About the Book
Series:DI Simon Wise #1
Genre:Crime, Thriller
Date of Publishing:April 24, 2023
Trigger Warnings:Blood, death, violence
Page count:494
Possible The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge prompts:
  • Free Your Mind
  • Justice
  • I’m Still Here
  • Middle Fingers
  • Vészhelyzet (Emergency)
  • Cotton Eye Joe
Book Blurb
Rich Men, Dead Men by Michael Dylan

It doesn’t matter how rich you are when death knocks at your door.

A killer stalks the streets of London, murdering the richest people in the capital. Is this the work of a serial killer or just someone angry with the super rich? Or is there another reason why billionaires are being killed every three days?

Detective Inspector Simon Wise, reeling from the death of his partner and harbouring more than a few secrets of his own, is assigned to the case. But the killer leaves no clues as to their identity, only bodies in their wake and each new death sends Wise’s team in startling new directions.

As the pressure mounts on Wise to get a result, has he got what it takes to solve the case before the murderer strikes again?

RICH MEN, DEAD MEN is the first book in the DI Simon Wise Crime Thriller series, set on the streets of London. If you like gripping police procedurals, complex characters, and shocking twists, then you’ll love Michael Dylan’s thrilling debut novel.

This gripping page-turner is perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James, Joy Ellis, L.J. Ross, Alex Smith and J.M. Dalgliesh.

Quote of the Book
Quote Background

‘What is it they say? Success has many parents, while failure is always an orphan.’


Michael Dylan‘s name might not sound familiar, but if I tell you it’s the pen name of Mike Shackle, then you will understand why I was stoked to read Rich Men, Dead Men (apart from the fact that I love crime thrillers). Shackle is a beloved author here in the Asylum, and I was happy to hear about his latest self-publishing venture into a different genre. I think I talked about this before, but crime thrillers were a much earlier bookish love of mine than fantasy, and I woefully neglected it in the past few years. But it finally came the time I got to read Rich Men, Dead Men when I got an audiobook, so I could read and listen alternately which made reading so much faster.

Rich Men, Dead Men introduces to us DI Simon Wise, who recently lost his partner and friend, Andy, and is still reeling from it. Not only from grief, but also the fact that he didn’t know the man as well as he thought and that he never saw anything amiss. He not only starts doubting himself, but he also walls himself off from his colleagues and especially his family, pushing them away as far as he can while he keeps having nightmares and flashbacks. The latter could come across as repetitive, but as the story goes on and Wise deals with a complex case and works through his own issues, they become less frequent, showing how he starts healing oh so slowly. I appreciated that touch. Also, the fact he reaches out to his therapist – the one he usually sees only out of necessity. Wise is a tough guy, he likes to have control over his life, his work, and be the reliable man people can turn to and depend on. And we see him lose that control and assurance, and his battle as he is trying to get it back. We see not only the hard cop, but also the vulnerable man, and I think Dylan did an excellent job with his character. And can I mention please his dad? Man, that was such a great scene in the book. A little bit of warmth in an otherwise tense and dark story.

So, the main plot of Rich Men, Dead Men revolves around a serial killer investigation, where someone dressed as a motorbike messenger murders rich people, and they seemingly have no connection whatsoever – apart from the mentioned motorbike messenger, that is. No witnesses, no evidence left, and the clock is ticking. And if that wasn’t enough for Wise and his team to deal with, they also get a new team member in Hannah, and pressure from the higher-ups to solve the case as fast as possible. Including forcing “new eyes” on them who eventually take over the investigation and fuck everything up, as you do. I liked that the book not only focused on the investigation itself but also the inner politics of Wise’s police station.

Quote Background

‘That’s because you’ve got a copper’s intuition.’

‘Yeah? My girlfriend says I just don’t like people.’

‘Sometimes that’s the same thing.’

It’s been a good while since I read a “classic” crime investigation thriller, and boy I had no idea how much I missed it until I got into Rich Men, Dead Men. I was either glued to the screen of my Kindle or to my earphones as I was listening, thoroughly enjoying myself. I was a little bit disappointed by who the culprit turned out to be as I saw that coming, but still, the plot was well built up and the investigation and the chase itself put me on the edge of my seat, so I’m not complaining. Rich Men, Dead Men also set up the stage for the sequel, which makes me excited to read it in the very near future. I owe Dylan a big thank you for rekindling my love for the crime genre.

Our Judgement
They Shall Be Remembered - 4.5 Crowns

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