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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Robinson’

When the Music's Over: The 23rd DCI Banks Mystery

I have read all the previous books in this well written and compelling series and I think this one has to be the best so far.  DI Annie Cabbot is set to investigate how a teenager’s body came to be found battered to death on a lonely stretch of road having apparently been thrown from a moving vehicle.  As she delves into the case it becomes more and more disturbing and leads her and her colleague DC Gerry Masterson into some very dangerous and murky waters indeed.

Superintendent Alan Banks  – newly promoted – find his first case involves the investigation of a celebrity crime nearly half a century old.  Charismatic Danny Caxton is accused of raping Linda Palmer in his hotel room in Blackpool during a summer season there.  The two crimes – both involving fourteen year old girls – mirror and echo each other as the two investigations gradually progress.

Here is Peter Robinson at his masterly best.  The writing is low key and understated and all the better for it because it sends shivers down your spine while you’re reading it.  The crimes are all too contemporary and really bring the crimes in the headlines today to life from the victims’ perspective.

I liked Alan Banks as a character right from the first book in the series and he develops into a fully rounded characters as the series progresses.  In spite of this the books can be read as standalone novels as there is enough background information in each of them to make the series characters’ lives intelligible to anyone who just wants to dip into the series.  I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has read others by this author and by fans of this series.

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Abattoir Blues: The 22nd DCI Banks Mystery (Inspector Banks Novels)

This is currently (January 2015) the latest in the DCI Alan Banks series and probably the most gruesome to date.  The violence isn’t overdone and the descriptions are factual but the facts are sufficiently repellent without any more detail.  A pool of blood and bone fragments are found in a disused aircraft hangar, sufficient to indicate there may have been a murder committed there.  But there is no sign of a body.  A valuable tractor is stolen while its owner is on holiday and two young men seem to have disappeared.  Are these disparate facts connected in some way or are they totally unconnected random events?

The plot twists and turns and I found I kept thinking various people were behind all the events and then deciding that they weren’t connected at all.  I didn’t work out the correct solution at all until almost the end.  This is a well plotted story with some interesting characters and it’s good to see Alan and Annie Cabbot getting on better working together than they were doing.

If you like police procedural crime series then I can thoroughly recommend this one.  I have read all twenty two of them without back to back without getting bored and that is the test of a good series in my opinion.  I shall be looking forward to the publication of the twenty third later this year (2015)

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Children of the Revolution: The 21st DCI Banks Mystery (An Inspector Banks Mystery)

A former lecturer is found dead and at first it seems as though he could have jumped from the bridge under which he is lying.  However it soon becomes clear to DCI Alan Banks and his team that he was probably pushed from the bridge, or even thrown over it.  He had been dismissed from his job because of sexual misconduct but it now seems as though he might not have been guilty after all and why did he have a large sum of money on him when he lived in poverty and debt?

The investigation leads the team into uncovering events which happened over forty years ago and which brings them into conflict with some powerful people in the present.  I enjoyed this story which mingles past and present and which shows how events long past can have a resonance in the present and the future.  The series characters are as ever on good form with Banks displaying more discretion than he does in some of the books.

If you enjoy police procedurals with well developed characters, interesting and often complex plots and a geographical background, in this case the Yorkshire Dales, which is almost a character in its own right then try this series.  They can be read in any order though it is interesting to read them in the order in which they were published to watch the series characters develop.

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Watching the Dark: The 20th DCI Banks Mystery (An Inspector Banks Mystery)

DI Bill Quinn is killed by a crossbow bolt in the grounds of a police convalescent home.  DI Alan Banks and his team at first think it could be a revenge attack which probably means searching through all his previous cases to find out who could have wished him dead and been in a position to carry out the crime.  But there is a hint of police corruption in the air and Joanna Passero of Professional Standards is allocated to shadow the team.  DI Annie Cabbot – newly returned to work following her injury in the previous book in the series is gradually finding her feet again.

This is an interesting story featuring several strands including a missing young woman from six years ago, illegal migrant labour and another murder.  In fact there are almost too many strands to the story so to me it came over as a little fragmented and I did lose track of the plot part way through and had to go back and refresh my memory.  To a certain extent it is redeemed by the ending which I thought was satisfying.

Inevitably in any long running series you get some books which aren’t as good as others.  Overall though this series is of excellent quality with believable and interesting characters, an authentic background and well constructed plots.

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Bad Boy: The 19th DCI Banks Mystery (An Inspector Banks Mystery)

Juliet Doyle – a former neighbour of DCI Alan Banks when he was still married – turns up one day asking to see him.  Banks is on an extended holiday in the US and she sees DI Annie Cabbot instead.  Juliet has found a gun in her daughter Erin’s bedroom and wants to know what she should do about it.  Annie follows correct procedure and sends in the armed response team to deal with it.  Unfortunately following correct procedure leads to tragedy and a complex chain of events which involves not just Banks and Annie but his daughter Tracy as well.

I enjoyed this very tense and eventful story with its many twists and turns.  It is good to see Superintendent Catherine Gervaise in a more positive light and she really is growing on me.  The book demonstrates very well that we never know what exactly will result directly from simple everyday actions and impulses.

I have been reading this series back to back – which really is a test of well written series.  So far – almost at the end of the current published volumes I have not got bored with them at all and I shall be sorry when I am up to date.

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All the Colours of Darkness (An Inspector Banks Mystery Book 18)

Children find a man’s body hanging from a tree in a local beauty spot.  It seems like a simple and tragic case of suicide but it turns out to be far from simple when the man’s lover is also found dead, apparently murdered at home.  At first it seems like a murder followed by suicide perhaps sparked by sexual jealousy but neither Banks nor DI Annie Cabbot are convinced that this is the whole story and some information from the murdered man’s mother leads Banks to think there could be more wide ranging ramifications to the case.

This is a frightening and convoluted story involving smoke and mirrors and people who are definitely not what they seem to be.  It also involves a personal crisis for Banks where once again his work has and adverse effect on his private life.

This is book was well up to the high standard set by most of the rest of the series and I found it a gripping read with plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing.  If you like your police procedurals with plenty of psychological depth and interesting and well drawn characters then this could be the series for you.

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Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery (An Inspector Banks Mystery)

If you are reading this series out of order make sure you read number 12 – ‘Aftermath’ before you read this one as it gives away the ending of that book and is a continuation of it in many ways.  DI Annie Cabbot is on loan to Eastern Area and is working in the murder of a woman in a wheelchair on a cliff at Whitby.  She couldn’t have got there by herself and it wasn’t suicide so who would have had a motive to do the deed?  Meanwhile, back in Eastvale, DCI Banks is involved in the brutal rape and murder of a young woman in an alley which is part of an area of the town known as The Maze.

Annie and Alan are not getting on well but neither is quite sure why.  But two investigations which look as though they could be linked in ways which are far from clear mean they really do need to talk to each other and compare notes.  This is a gripping and well written novel with plenty of nail biting moments and a very tense conclusion.  No one will be the same when the murderer or murderers are discovered.

If you enjoy crime stories with believable and likeable characters, excellent plots which are very well written with plenty of psychological depth to them then this could be the series you are looking for.  I have been reading them back to back now for the last couple of months and I am still enjoying them – which is always the test of a good series.

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