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1. Bad Boy: An Inspector Banks Novel
2. All the Colors of Darkness (Inspector
3. Final Account
4. Playing with Fire (Alan Banks
5. Blood at the Root (An Inspector
6. Gallows View: The First Inspector
7. In a Dry Season (Inspector Banks
8. Aftermath: A Novel of Suspense
9. Piece of My Heart
10. Innocent Graves (Inspector Banks
11. Wednesday's Child: An Inspector
12. Past Reason Hated: An Inspector
13. Friend of the Devil (Inspector
14. Strange Affair (Inspector Banks
15. The Price of Love
16. Cold Is the Grave: A Novel of
17. The First Cut: A Novel of Suspense
18. Hanging Valley: An Inspector Banks
19. The Eastvale Ladies' Poker Circle
20. A Necessary End

1. Bad Boy: An Inspector Banks Novel
by Peter Robinson
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$12.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061362956
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Acclaimed internationally bestselling author Peter Robinson delivers a fast-paced, nail-biting thriller in which Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks must face his most challenging and personal case yet

A distraught woman arrives at the Eastvale police station desperate to speak to Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. But since Banks is away on holiday, his partner, Annie Cabbot, steps in. The woman tells Annie that she's found a loaded gun hidden in the bedroom of her daughter, Erin—a punishable offense under English law. When an armed response team breaks into the house to retrieve the weapon, the seemingly straightforward procedure quickly spirals out of control.

But trouble is only beginning for Annie, the Eastvale force, and Banks, and this time, the fallout may finally do the iconoclastic inspector in. For it turns out that Erin's best friend and roommate is none other than Tracy Banks, the DCI's daughter, who was last seen racing off to warn the owner of the gun, a very bad boy indeed.

Thrust into a complicated and dangerous case intertwining the personal and the professional as never before, Annie and Banks—a bit of a bad boy himself—must risk everything to outsmart a smooth and devious psychopath. Both Annie and Banks understand that it's not just his career hanging in the balance, it's also his daughter's life.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars Robinson is incapable of writing a bad book
Twenty-three years ago, this author began a series of detective novels set in the Yorkshire Dales in the north of Britain (a region Londoners traditionally regard as being not far from the edge of the Earth), featuring a prickly, mavericky detective inspector named Alan Banks. He was a sort-of refugee from London himself, facing burnout after a series of physically wearing and emotionally draining cases, and hoping for some kind of redemption Up North. He arrived with a wife and two small children and set about learning the ropes, which were quite different from the South. Even though I'm a "professional" reader, I somehow only discovered the series myself about three years ago and was almost immediately captivated by the character of now DCI Banks and the supporting players, by the author's view of the Dales (he's from there, of course), and by the cases with which the police force of Eastvale and environs have had to deal. Since time moves at a normal rate in this series, I have also watched Banks getting older, his wife becoming dissatisfied with their relationship and moving out, his love life becoming more complex and sometimes impinging on his professional life, his two kids growing up and going off to university and then out on their own, and the world they all knew gradually changing -- and often not for the best. Banks now has a computer, can't live without his mobile, and makes full use of the ubiquitous CCTV cameras that blanket his country. He's been an Acting Superintendent, has built himself a local reputation,and knows the Dales as well as anyone not born there is ever likely to. And he's recently had a couple of personal confrontations with contemporary terrorism.

So, now I've arrived at the present, in Banks's nineteenth outing, and I'm slightly amazed. None of the books in the series has been less than good, most of them are very good, and probably a third are excellent. Though he has wavered occasionally, Robinson has not fallen into the trap of sequelitis. He hasn't gotten tired of his characters or their lives, he hasn't begun sitting back and phoning in his work. Which means he hasn't begun boring his readers. In fact -- again, unlike most authors of series -- he has steadily improved from each book to the next. The characters have become deeper and more nuanced, the dialogue and description has become richer, the plots themselves have become very subtle and multi-layered and now often carry over into subsequent stories. And I find myself slightly annoyed that now, having caught up to Banks's own present, I shall have to wait like everyone else for each year's new novel.

Okay, so much for foreplay. Having recently slogged through some personal and professional trauma, Banks has gone off to the American Southwest on holiday, driving (and walking) through the desert and ending up in San Francisco, which he discovers he loves. (Me, too.) And he finds that he can perhaps find peace within himself, that he can continue to deal with the world. But back in Leeds, things are happening. Tracy Banks, the DCI's daughter, now in her early twenties and recently graduated with a very disappointing 2nd-level degree, has been working as a shop girl and slowly sliding into a questionable and even dangerous lifestyle of clubs and drugs. She was always the hard worker, the good daughter, the strong student, and the apple of her father's eye -- especially compared to her younger brother, Brian, who frustrated their father by leaving school to pursue a career with his guitar. But now Brian is becoming a rock star and Banks, a knowledgeable devotee of almost any sort of music, from opera to The Doors, is frankly thrilled. And Tracy is feeling abandoned. Into her life comes Jaff, a handsome Bangladeshi with money and personality and a posh accent, and very much a "bad boy." (I have to confess, I've never understood the attraction of women to men whom they know are going to treat them badly.) He's been going with Tracy's roommate, Erin, a girl she's known since little-kid-hood, but after a fight, Erin steals a handgun she finds in Jaff's flat and takes it with her to her parents' house. Where her mother finds it, panics, and goes to the police station to seek help from Banks, the old family friend. Only Banks is in California. DI Annie Cabbot, who has been a mainstay for a number of books now -- once Banks's lover, now his partner -- takes the call and refers it to her boss. Because possession of an unregistered firearm is a very, very serious business indeed in Britain and carries a mandatory prison sentence. When the specialists go into retrieve the weapon, everything goes to pot and people die. It's going to be one of those days. Meanwhile, Tracy has gone off to warn Jaff, who immediately goes on the run. The gun, of course, has a history and now he has to get out of the country, fast. And Tracy sets out on what she sees as an adventure with him, not understanding at all what's she's getting herself into, not knowing Jaff has close ties to a very unpleasant figure in Yorkshire organized crime. But she gets a good dose of reality while hiding out at her absent father's cottage when Annie Cabbot is shot. And Banks returns from his holiday to be dropped straight into a nightmare of hostage-taking and endangered loved ones. But he's a bit of a bad boy himself and both his superiors and the reader will be unsure whether he can behave himself under the circumstances. Can he separate his roles as detective and father? The story is gripping as it escalates in an entirely believable way on multiple fronts. And the final resolution is both unexpected and abrupt, and it works. Things appear to be changing yet again for Banks and those around him. As almost always, an excellent book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Robinson
I've read all the Inspector Banks books, and I was looking forward to this one as eagerly as I have each of the previous 18. Unfortunately, I found BAD BOY far from compelling, boring actually. Definitely not up to the standard Robinson has created for himself. But then I always think it's a mistake when an author involves the immediate family of a series detective in the plot. It's just all too contrived and predictable. With the longest, slowest, most pointless denoument ever.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bad boy
I have loved many of the Alan Banks books but this one is a real disappointment. For those who are new to Peter Robinson, try his first book, or Playing with Fire. I think I'll give his next one a miss.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Read, But Not One of the Better Ones
Reason for Reading: Next in the series

Peter Robinson is always a character writer. The identities and motivators of his main characters are an important role in each of his novels and each character has developed through the books, especially Inspector Banks who has been with the series for all nineteen novels. Bad Boys relies heavily on the personal stories of the main characters plot wise. There is a crime, a couple really, and they all involve Inspector Banks at a personal level. Enemies from the past show up, an old cold case comes up again, friends are hurt, his home has become a crime scene and his daughter disappears.

I enjoyed this book, more so than the last one that bothered me with its spy emphasis but it still is not up to other books I have easily rated 5 stars. One of the reasons I love Peter Davidson is his characterization, Inspector Banks is a deep person with many layers who has changed over time and is a welcome familiar friend to meet on the page. Secondary characters are also explored with full detail and continuing storylines. My main problem with Bad Boys is that it is not a "whodunit" in any shape or form. We know all about who did everything; the reader sees the story unfold from multiple views and is wiser than the police on their trail to catch the culprit whom even the police figure out who it is very early on, taking away one of my favourite aspects of the genre.

But, it was still a good read. I was turning pages quickly and finished the book over two days. We get a glimpse into the party life of average 20-something year olds, the high-life of drug trafficking and the low-life of drug trafficking, what happens to those who tick off The Boss and mostly the book is a long chase to capture the culprit before someone close to DCI Banks loses their life to a very unstable man. There are also a couple of twists and one shocker which is tidied up, to a point, by the end but leaves a familiar character's future hanging in the air. Fans who have grown to love Banks, his kids, Annie, Winsome, and the rest of the gang will enjoy the story but newcomers to the series should certainly not start here as I think they may come away disappointed at the lack of a gritty murder mystery, which can be found in other books in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller/mystery
Bad Boy is an excellent book, more of a fast-paced thriller than a classical mystery story. Inspector Alan Banks is away in America on vacation, while his daughter and a friend are getting into trouble over an illegal handgun.

When the British police arrive at their shared home, a tragedy ensues because her friend Erin's father is mistakenly shot to death. Banks' second in command, Annie, is assigned to handle the case.

Things go from bad to worse. When Inspector Banks returns to the U.K., his daughter Tracy is missing. The second half of the book is a nail-biting thriller as Banks and Annie work to figure out what happened, and to save Tracy from death.

Bad Boy is one of the best thriller/mysteries I have read in a long time. ... Read more

2. All the Colors of Darkness (Inspector Banks Mysteries)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2010-03-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061362948
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In a world of terror and uncertainty, what does one small death matter?

The body hanging from a tree in a peaceful wood appears to Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot to be a suicide. Further investigation into the sad demise of Mark Hardcastle, the set designer for the local amateur theater company, leads to the corpse of Mark's older, wealthier lover, brutally bludgeoned to death.

Suddenly the case demands the attention of Chief Inspector Alan Banks, called back from his vacation even though nothing suggests this wasn't a crime of passion followed by remorse and self-destruction. But machinations within the shadow world of secret government only add to the colors of darkness already shading this troubling affair. And a stubborn policeman who will not be frightened away could lose everything in one terrifying, explosive instant.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (75)

2-0 out of 5 stars bad run of luck
I seem to be having a bad run of luck with my choices in reading lately.This novel is part of a series featuring a Chief Inspector in the UK - his 18th with Alan Banks as the protagonist - and you can just tell that this was one of those that was part of the contract.Not - OH!I have it!I have the BEST plot!.This was the ... oh damn, I have a deadline...what the devil is left???

I'm afraid I had a terrible time staying with the storyline - althought sometimes British procedurals do that to me.I thought I would give this one a try, but like I said - my luck doesn't seem to be running on the high side right now.

Banks was trying to vacation when a body was found hanging in a tree nearby, and he was assigned the case.When it was discovered that the person was active in the community, and that his partner is also found murdered, the case becomes high profile.

I think that maybe this just wasn't the book for me - people fond of British procedurals may find it more to their liking.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but also not his worst
This is one of the more unsettling episodes in the career of DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire CID. Mark Hardcastle, a local theater set designer from a working class background, is found hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale. He was gay and was in a relationship with Laurence Silbert, who had money and a big house -- but when the police go to see the latter, they find Silbert viciously beaten to death. Was it a murder-suicide caused by jealousy? Banks and DI Annie Cabbott assume so, but then facts begin to surface about Silbert's career with MI6. And then the secret intelligence services begin to turn up in the investigation, bugging residences, destroying personal property, threatening private detectives and policemen. In other words, behaving like spooks. The deeper he gets into his investigation -- which the Superintendent and her own superiors have warned him away from -- the more justifiably paranoid he becomes. Even when it begins to become clear that a third party might have pulled an Iago -- played astutely on Hardcastle's insecurities to provoke a split between him and his lover -- there are no actual charges Banks can brings. But that won't satisfy the darker forces of the government. The thing is, I have no doubt that various official agencies, both in Britain and the U.S., actually do behave this way when it suits their purposes. The melodrama is rather overdone, though, and the many, many references to the music Banks listens to and the wines he drinks are really beginning to intrude on the plots. Robinson needs to retreat a bit in his narrative style before he loses control of his characters completely.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Cloud with A Silver Lining!
My views parallel others in lower categories with one surprise. Have read most of Robinson's books and liked them a great deal, until this.The behaviors of his characters may not be the stuff of romance novels but they were typically more diverse and realistic than with many authors.As with other thumbs-down reviewers, I found the political aspects of this book suggesting that Robinson was grasping at a currently " hot topic" to churn out another book.

From the onset of meeting Sophia(in the prior book)descriptions of his own behaviors surroundingher were such that teenagers show more maturity. Banks meets a too-young Sophia who is the perfect (totally unrealistic) woman.She's highly successful at too young an age for that,amazingly beautiful, probably won the Boston Marathon along the way ...They fall into a serious relationship on their first meeting. Begs the question about why such a woman would be "immediately available"let alone want anything to do with the otherwise very rough and tumble, depressiveolder guy in Banks.

Adding to that, Banks is mesmerized by this woman but virtually his every description of her imparts an image of an insensitive, self-centered ego maniac.Robinson needs to go back to relationship scenarios that are more consistent with prior books ...the opposite here truly distracts from his main story theme.

But wait! There was an unexpected "return" on this book investment.Agreed with another reviewer per too many referrals to the music Banks endlessly describes.However, I checked on some and bought some downloads from Amazon.Amazon scored some music sales from what was an earlier sale of a weak book.For me, this truly offset the disappointment of the book, leaving me with some great, new (to me) music. What's that phrase about "clouds and silver linings?!"Thanks, Banks!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Robinson's Best
Robinson's earlier efforts starring Banks have earned him my undying loyalty, but this book makes it difficult.The plot turns from one convenient coincidence to another and the whole premise of the books is silly and unbelieveable.Probably by design, the end of the book resolves little.All I can say good is that Robinson is still a master at wonderful dialog and interaction between the characters.He's written much better books.If you're starting out with Robinson on this book, try another -- it'll be much better.

4-0 out of 5 stars New to Banks
When abruptly pulled away from a mini vacation to head up the investigation of what initially appears to be a straightforward murder-suicide case, Chief Inspector Alan Banks frustration is palpable. Though most would have taken the path of least resistance and marked the file closed, Banks excels under pressure and with his team continues searching for the cause behind this senseless tragedy. Working without authorization or the support of his superiors, his hunt for understanding places everyone--friends and family included--into treacherous circumstances as Banks quickly uncovers the fact that his pursuit may have national consequences.

Though new to this author's collection of work, it is simple to see why Peter Robinson has found such success with this long running series. "All the Colors of Darkness" begins as a clear-cut gritty crime drama effectively combining the best of a modern day spy adventure. At first, some may find the minor details too extensive as each room and its contents are described in full leaving little room for personal imagination. However, as you continue forward through the pages his distinctive style and remarkable skill stand out making "All the Colors of Darkness" an intricate thriller.

Check out our interview with Peter Robinson in the April 2010 issue of Suspense Magazine.
[...] ... Read more

3. Final Account
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2004-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060502169
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
There's more than blood and bone beneath the skin ...

The victim, a nondescript "numbers cruncher," died horribly just yards away from his terrified wife and daughter, murdered by men who clearly enjoyed their work. The crime scene is one that could chill the blood of even the most seasoned police officer. But the strange revelations about an ordinary accountant's extraordinary secret life are what truly set Chief Inspector Alan Banks off -- as lies breed further deceptions and blood begets blood, unleashing a policeman's dark passions ... and a violent rage that, when freed, might be impossible to control. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

2-0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment!
I love British mysteries and decided to begin my acquaintance with this series with Final Account (since it's the earliest available on Kindle.) I have been very disappointed with this book, though, and at this point I'm not sure whether I will try reading another one of Robinson's mysteries.

The saddest part is that this could have been a good mystery. The premise is interesting: a seemingly boring accountant leads a double life. After an engaging beginning, however, everything goes downhill. Secret Services, mysterious Caribbean dictators, and very unrealistic police practices make the book very hard to follow and even harder to care about. The characters sound stiff, their conversations more often than not seem extremely contrived. Banks, the main character, could have been very engaging. When he is on his own, he actually is. Still, whenever the author has Banks take part in a conversation with another character (especially a woman), he begins to sound completely artificial.

Other reviewers mentioned that this book has an unexpected twist at the end. For me, the book dragged out so slowly and painfully that the best thing about the ending was that it meant I could stop reading this very boring novel. I'm giving it two stars because there were a few redeeming scenes in this book but the whole was very disappointing.

4-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable offering in a generally very good series
Sometimes, when I get reading an author's series based on a particular featured character, I go through the whole run of books without stopping for anything else. Other times (like this one), even though I enjoy the stories, I get a bit burned-out on them and go and do something else for awhile. I read the first half-dozen novels about DCI Alan Banks several years ago, then took a break, but now I'm back on them, beginning with this seventh in the series. Banks, who transferred from London nearly a decade ago to a Yorkshire market town in an attempt to escape the increasingly violent life in the metropolis, has found plenty to keep him busy in the way of homicide. But he's also learned a lot about the dales and their denizens and even though he'll always be an "incomer" (and he knows when not to try too hard to fit in), he's become a respected almost-local. This time, a well-off independent accountant and financial whiz-kid is murdered in his own garage by a double shotgun blast to the back of the head. As Banks interviews the rather dysfunctional family and the victim's various business acquaintances, something feels increasingly not-quite-right to him. And then he turns up what appears to be a whole other life for the victim over in Leeds, and a girlfriend as well. But what really puts Banks off is the discovery of links to a bloody-handed Caribbean dictator with millions of pounds to launder, and for whom the Powers That Be are arranging a comfortable exile in Britain. (Banks is pretty liberal for a cop, most of the time.) I began having certain suspicions about a key point in the plot almost immediately after the description of the murder, which Banks didn't pick up on until late in the book, which either makes me a detective or Robinson a bit sloppy on clues this time out. Nevertheless, the author takes the opportunity to showcase his hometown of Leeds, as well as Yorkshire in general -- always a feature of this series. The procedural aspects of the case also are straightforward and generally well done, and so are the characterizations. Superintendent "Dirty Dick" Burgess, a rightwing scumbag from London, last seen earlier in this series and now working as a fixer for the more political side of the law enforcement establishment, has returned and leaves a thoroughly bad taste in Banks's mouth, but he's balanced for the reader by the up-and-coming DC Susan Gay and by DS Hatchley, a scruffy, old-style copper with an intimate knowledge of the underside of Yorkshire society. Banks's own family situation is becoming strained, but the author keeps it mostly in the background this time. Not the best of the series, but pretty good.

4-0 out of 5 stars More than meets the eye
When a mild-mannered accountant is shot in the face with a shotgun, execution style, Banks and his team are trying to find out why an accountant was killed in this way.As they investigate and dig deeper into Keith Rothwell's life they find more secrets and evidence of dirty dealings.It certainly isn't a simple, straight-forward case, and even the Home Office is involved.What I love about Robinson's Banks is that he's such an everyday Joe.This makes him totally believable.The other characters in the books are also well-drawn, and the plotting and mystery are always complex and not easy to figure out.In short, this is a series that is a cut above your ordinary British Police Procedural, and I really am enjoying it.This is the sixth book in this lengthy series, and I am looking forward to reading more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Average Robinson
This is a worthy book by Peter Robinson, only it's not his best.It's typical in that Inspector Banks works the clues and interviews to find the killer of a boring accountant.And the ending is a big surprise, but one that borders on unreality.But Robinson is a journeyman author and he never lets the book get away from him.You can always count on Robinson to provide a solid, steady book that holds your interest throughout.I just feel, however, that this is not his best effort.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not gripping
This is a good book that kept my attention. It wasn't a gripping whodunit that it couldn't put down, but it is a solid story with some interesting twists and turns.

It is the first Peter Robinson I've read (I think?) and I found the story telling a bit off.For instance, there's one character who sort of appears out of nowhere and yet takes on this mythical quality for no apparent reason simply because he's associated with the intelligence services and he and Banks, the lead character, have some history that's vaguely alluded to.

Similar gaps appear in the storyline itself. Stuff happens fairly frequently that is poorly explained and seems almost to be stated as a question or hypothesis, but then somehow it becomes fact and then something happens on top of that, etc., etc. You just have to roll with it and keep on reading.

Any mystery is like that, I suppose, and Robinson does it better than many, but not as well as some - at least in this book for me.

And, in my opinion, this isn't really a 'procedural' detective story as many have characterized it. It doesn't follow the kind of logical, systematic investigative process you'd expect for that genre. And, maybe it is just me, but I expect the lead guys in such stories to be driving things forward - that's not the case here. Stuff happens around Banks and his colleague, but they seem to have little control or influence over them.

Final comment is that there is a bit too much ruminating going on by Banks for my taste. Do I really care that much about him? Not based on the character development done here. ... Read more

4. Playing with Fire (Alan Banks Series)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2005-02-01)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$3.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061031100
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Fire—It consumes futures and pasts in a terrified heartbeat, devouring damning secrets while leaving even greater mysteries in the ashes.

The night sky is ablaze as flames engulf two barges moored side by side on an otherwise empty canal. On board are the blackened remains of two human beings. To the seasoned eye, this horror was no accident, the method so cruel and calculated that only the worst sort of fiend could have committed it. There are shocking secrets to be uncovered in the charred wreckage, grim evidence of lethal greed and twisted hunger, and of nightmare occurrences within the private confines of family. A terrible feeling is driving police inspector Alan Banks in his desperate hunt for answers—an unshakable fear that this killer's work will not be done until Banks's own world is burned to the ground.

Amazon.com Review
One of the principle pleasures to be found in reading any of PeterRobinson's more recent British suspense novels is to see howdexterously this author uses seemingly small, confined crimes to wedgeopen much larger troves of hidden or historical chicanery. In Playingwith Fire, the plot catalyst is a blaze that consumes two rottingbarges moored in a Yorkshire canal, killing their squatterinhabitants--Tina Aspern, a pretty, teenage heroin abuser, and ThomasMcMahon, a once-promising but "derivative" landscape painter who'dfallen on hard times. Accident or arson? The best suspects, in eitherevent, may be Tina’s cheating boyfriend, Mark Siddons, and arumored peeping tom who'd taken his time--and more--reporting theconflagration. However, as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks andhis colleague and ex-lover, Annie Cabbot (both last seen in Close to Home),gather together the disparate threads of this case, new questionsarise, suggesting that the inferno was intended to cover up stillworse misdeeds. Why, for instance, had McMahon been buying old booksand prints from an Eastvale antiquarian dealer? Is it true, as anangry Siddons alleges, that Tina had turned to drugs in order to blotout the pain of her stepfather's carnal advances? And what tie, ifany, is there between these boat burnings and the subsequent torchingof a trailer home occupied by a "quiet bloke," who perished while inpossession of an unknown and potentially valuable J.M.W. Turnerwatercolor?

As attentive as Robinson is to plot progression, spicing up his narrative with arcane knowledge about fire accelerants and competition in the painting biz ("The art world's brutal," Banks is warned early on in this story), he doesn't forget that a substantial part of the attraction of this series derives from its two evolving main characters. The contemplative, jazz-loving Banks, worried by the superficiality of his latest relationship, with a "wounded" fellow cop, finds himself increasingly jealous here of Annie's suave new boyfriend, an art researcher whose past may be short a few brushstrokes. At the same time, Annie is drawn hesitantly closer again to Banks by tragic circumstances. Although Robinson's subplot about Tina's sexual violation concludes in a rather B-movieish way, Playing with Fire is redeemed by its scorching climax and suggestively ragged denouement. Peter Robinson, together with Ian Rankin, Reginald Hill, and others, is reinvigorating the British police procedural. --J. Kingston Pierce ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars Robinson keeps getting better and better -- a rare thing after 15 novels
It's a cold winter's night and DCI Alan Banks, homicide expert with the North Yorkshire CID, is standing beside a dead-end branch of a rural canal, watching two abandoned narrow-boats burn. His shivers are only partly because of the frost; he's also paranoid about death by fire, having witnessed the results of a particularly nasty arson back in London when he was a young detective constable. And the author doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the horrific details, either. This time, there are two victims, both squatters: A middle-aged artist in one boat and a seventeen-year-old runaway girl in the other. The story follows the details of the developing investigation, sorting out the forensics, looking for links between the two bodies, checking up on the distraught boyfriend of the dead girl who is guilt-ridden because he wasn't there when the fire started, trying to work out the point of the murders. Because there's no apparent motive. And then there's another fire, also clearly an arson, and Banks is convinced it isn't coincidence. He's also getting disturbing vibes from the dead girl's parents. Meanwhile, Banks's deputy in the investigation (and ex-lover for a short time), DCI Annie Cabott, has been swept off her feet by a tall, handsome art historian who treats her very well indeed. Banks is having trouble dealing with that, too, even though he knows his affair with Annie is properly over. And then there's his ex-wife, who left him a year or two before, demanded a divorce, took up with another man, married him, and has now had a baby with him. No, Banks's personal life doesn't have a lot to recommend it these days. The story is narrated from the points of view of several characters -- a recent change from the purely Banks-centric narratives of the earlier books in this excellent series -- and you'll learn as much about the Yorkshire landscape and lifestyle in the 21st century, and also about Banks's (and Robinson's extremely broad taste in music) as you will about the murders. Every advance in the investigation, and the plot, is perfectly reasonable and believable and if (like me) you work out whodunit about two-thirds of the way through, you won't have all the details. Nor will you be expecting the truly explosive ending.

5-0 out of 5 stars Alan Banks is Still on the Job
Detective Chief Alan Banks is investigating a double homicide. Two old barges have been set afire on a remote canal. One of the dead is a washed up artist, the other a young heroin addict named Tina, who had been fleeing an abusive stepfather.

Then another fire destroys a crumbling caravan and the man within, apparently a divorced loser, loses his life while in possession of an unknown and probably very valuable Turner watercolor. Are the murders connected and if so, how? The list of suspects is long, including, Tina's confused and frightened boyfriend and her arrogant stepfather. As Banks and ex-lover, DI Annie Cabbot begin the investigation, new questions surface, suggesting the fire was set to cover up still worse crimes.

Banks drinks too much Laphroaig single-malt Scotch, craves the cigarettes he's given up and tries to keep as much distance as possible between himself and ex-lover Cabbot, while developing a relationship with still another female officer, DI Michelle Hart, which adds a lot of sexual tension to this mystery. Banks grows with every book and although I don't always like the direction he takes, I'm always fascinated.

5-0 out of 5 stars All the Alan Banks series are wonderful!
Intimate, fully developed characters become old friends while the mystery in the English countryside

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Good Robinson Effort, Though Not His Best
Unless it's drop-dead terrible, I automatically give Robinson four stars for a book, but this was not really his best.Still four stars, but barely.I can always count on Robinson to give a book that earns my respect and admiration, both for the plot and the characterization.Chief Inspector Banks is a great character, a good cop, a troubled, conflicted, complex guy.His problems with ex-wife Sandra and his main squeeze of the moment -- often a co-worker -- make him eminently human.A Robinson/Banks book usually falls into a pattern and it's not unusual that you will detect who the bad guy is before the novel ends. But the joy comes from Robinson's artistry in richly weaving a tale that keeps you engrossed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing plot involving the art world as well as fire and murder...
I haven't read one of Robinson's books in a while, but this one looked particularly interesting as it involved the art world, specifically a newly found Turner painting. It's rare that new artwork comes to light from any of the Old Masters, so when one does, it raises suspicions in some corners of the art world, while others are cheering over the new find. Banks, a three dimensional protagonist, becomes drawn into this world when unexplained fires and murders involve a disappointed artist. Any murder is nasty, but fires can be particularly nasty as they leave a victim and few clues to go on. Fires can also be perceived to be accidental (whereas gunshots wounds and knife wounds are rarely perceived that way), so that possibility must be excluded first.

Robinson does a good job not only filling out the dimensions of his characters, but as usual, the writing of the British is impeccable. I tend to head towards known British writers as I can be assured not only of good writing skills, but also the violence, profanity, and sex involved is kept to a minimum and is tastefully done.

Banks is having a sort-of midlife crisis in this particular book. His ex-wife just had a baby, his ex-girlfriend and colleague is involved with a man who raises Bank's hackles, and in this case, he comes across child abuse that invariably upsets him and sends him off on a tangent that has nothing to do with the case in hand.

An excellent and exciting mystery, that leaves the reader wanting more.

Karen Sadler ... Read more

5. Blood at the Root (An Inspector Alan Banks Mystery)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (1998-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380794764
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When the brutally beaten body of a young man is found in an ally, Eastvale's Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his colleague, Detective Constable Susan Gay, have no choice but to lack up the three Pakistani youths who seemingly started it all after an argument in a pub.But they're out in no time and Banks is in big trouble with the Chief for risking a racial incident with the arrest.Ordered to run the investigation from his desk and leave the legwork to others, Banks' handes are tied and his temper is flaring.

But when disturbing facts start emerging about the victim, Banks can't simply sit at his desk--and he soon alinates himself from both the investigation and his own department.While his twenty-year marriage crumbles around him, he tries to make sense of a gray world grown ever more black and sinister, as he follows a treacherous trail of hate, greed, and twisted philosophy that leads to the darkest pits of a man's inhumanity to man.

Brilliant and exasperating by turns, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks inhabits a Yorkshire landscape colored in shades of gray where good and evil seldom conform to their comfortingly ordinary colors of black and white.Amazon.com Review
There's a deliberate lack of excessive angst and glamour inPeter Robinson's books about Inspector Alan Banks and his fellow Yorkshirecoppers, so first-time readers might think them bland. Butunder the books' placid surfaces, whole worlds of crime and justice arebeing worked out. In this ninth book in his increasingly popular series,Robinson gives Banks some serious problems of a personal and professionalnature: a neglected wife and a ruthlessly ambitious superior. He also dropsBanks into a frighteningly realistic neo-Nazi group called the AlbionLeague, whose activities include drug dealing and murder. Other booksin the series available in paperback include Innocent Graves,Final Account, Gallow's View, and Hanging Valley. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Banks would be a good copper to have in your corner
It's instructive to read Robinson immediately after reading P. D. James, the two are so different. Where Commander Adam Dalgliesh is cerebral, a published poet, a natural aristocrat, and a southern urbanite who seems psychologically imbedded in the 1930s of Agatha Christie, DCI Alan Banks is a somewhat scruffy Scotch-guzzling northerner-by-adoption dealing with crime and criminals who are very much of the end of the 20th century. The author here indulges himself with a thematic narrative for a change, since the victim (discovered on the first page, also unlike James, who often doesn't introduce the body or the cops until you're a third of the way into the book) is a virulent anti-immigrant racist, a White Power activist, who may have been set upon by a group of young Pakistanis with whom he had just had an altercation in the pub. Of course, that would be too easy a solution and Banks is going to have to work much harder than that, and he'll have to work around his pain-in-the-neck Chief Constable to do it. Instead of merely coordinating and pushing paper, Banks likes to do the investigating himself, aided by his irascible (and even scruffier) sergeant and the young female PC for whom he has become a mentor, and who is poised for promotion herself. He also depends on his counterparts in the big city of Leeds (he owes lots of favors by the end of each book) and he doesn't hesitate to knock on any door he thinks necessary. And he's having his own problems at home, too. Robinson gets in his licks against the skinheads and the immigrant-bashers (the non-Anglos here are actually second-generation Brits) but that doesn't get in the way of a pretty good story -- even if the solution is somewhat telegraphed. This is one of the better British police procedural mystery series of our time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspector Banks' marital and career challenges take the spotlight over the mystery to be solved
I've become quite the fan of the Inspector Banks books finding usually an engrossing mystery along with sidelights into the character's personal and professional lives. I also enjoy the way secondery characaters such as Susan Gay in this one are portrayed.However, this time, the mystery involving what first appears to be a pure and simple hate crime involving animosity between a neo-nazi group and the Mid-Eastern community lacks the intense interest usually found, and I for one found myself losing interest in that aspect of the novel. However, I still very much enjoyed the company of Banks and Susan Gay, involved and interested in the depiction of their lives.So this remains a worthy addition to the series, but not one of the best.Worth reading for the developments in the larger story of Banks' life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another solid entry, though not my favorite
#9 Chief Inspector Alan Banks British police procedural. A young man is found beaten to death in an alley, and and after identifying him, it's discovered that Jason Fox was a member of a white supremacist group called The Albion League. He was seen having words with three Pakistani youths in a nearby pub, and they become the natural first suspects. But Banks doesn't believe they're guilty and begins searching into Fox's life to find out more about the youth, which leads him down a path into not only hate-groups, but international drug rings, gangsters and a whole slew of ne'er-do-wells. Meanwhile, he has personal issues to deal with as his wife Sandra has decided that a trial separation is needed and goes to stay with her parents. Banks is devastated and realizes that he'd taken his twenty-some year marriage quite for granted. He also gets into hot water with the Chief Constable, Jimmy Riddle.

I enjoyed this entry in the series quite a lot, although a couple of the minor plot twists were easy peasy to figure out. The main mystery of who killed Fox was rather a natural progression to the ending without much of a surprise, either. The writing was a little uneven though--at times wonderfully evocative and poignant, and at other times seeming a bit rushed. Still, this has become one of my favorite series and I'll definitely keep reading onward.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good and strong book in this series
I love DCI Banks.He's such an ordinary and likeable guy, with human foibles.This book puts him in the middle of what turns out to look like a racist war in his neighbourhood, but when he starts to investigate the victim he finds a lot of dirt.The victim is found beaten to death in an alley behind a popular nightclub, but this doesn't look like an ordinary bar fight to Alan.As he digs deeper he uncovers white supremacists, racial tensions, drug kingpins and a whole lot of trouble.And Banks has to do all this while his 20 year marriage looks to be falling apart.Robinson's characters are richly complicated, and his plots are quite intricate.This one was not a real murder mystery in the true sense of the word, but it certainly shines a light on the underworld in northern England.I can't wait for the next one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Keystone Book for the Inspector Banks Series
Having read seven of Peter Robinson's books with Inspector Banks previous to this story, it is apparent that this is a key story in the ongoing plotline.Much of the character building that is referred to later in the series pivots in this book.I have not read the books in order and I have not found that to be a problem, but this book does much of the explaining for later books.

In this one, racial tension puts Banks in trouble with his superior Chief Riddle.It also opens up the romantic entanglements for later books. The mystery is interesting and builds throughout the book.I don't like to say too much in a murder story, so I will not go into the storyline.Again, Robinson is terrific in angling the political ambitions of co-workers and then placing his main character square into the middle of this quagmire.The interactions between co-workers and is very real.Robinson has a knack for making the dialogue crackle whether it is the interplay between Banks and the Suspects or Banks and his Police Brotherhood.

If you are interested in the Alan Banks series, this is a must read.Robinson is in his prime with this one.
... Read more

6. Gallows View: The First Inspector Banks Mystery
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (2000-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380714000
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Former London policeman Alan Banks relocated to Yorkshire seeking some small measuer of peace. But depravity and violence are unfortunately not unique to large cities. His new venue, the quaint little village of Eastvale, seems to have more than its fair share of malefactors--among them a brazen Peeping Tom who hides in night's shadows spying on attractrive, unsuspecting ladies as they prepare for bed. And when an elderly woman is found brutally slain in her home, Chief Inspector Banks wonders if the voyeur has increased the awful intensity of his criminal activities. But whether relatied or not, perverse local acts and murderous ones are combining to profoundly touch Banks's suddenly vulnerable perosonal life, forcing a dedicated law officer to make hard choices he'd dearly hoped would never be necessary.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good start to a great series...
I read one of the later books first and then went back and started here at the beginning.Like any series you'll have your ups and downs, and while this wasn't my favorite (now having read them all), it's certainly a must read and a good enough place to start.I'm always happy when I stumble across a new worthwhile author with a nice beefy catolog to work through.Enough details are recapped elsewhere so I'll pass on that.I think you'll enjoy the Banks series immensely if you make it past some of the naysayers here.It's one of my favorite series at this point.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Great reading, well written. These are good fast reads with good plots and interesting characters. Try Gallows View then you'll soon be on to the next...and the next....

4-0 out of 5 stars Looks like a good series!
It's always exciting to begin a new series, and I was really looking forward to this one.Gallows View is the first book in the Inspector Banks series.The series is a police procedural series, which is one of my favourite genres.The books are set in Yorkshire, and Robinson does a good job of describing the area where his books are set.Banks holds promise as a strong series character.I look forward to reading more about him.In this book there are actually three crimes that Banks and his crew have to figure out.Although none of them were very difficult to figure out, it was interesting to find the three storylines unfold.There were a few surprises along the way too.I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Robinson's First and one of His Best
After reading all of his other superb books, I finally got around to reading Robinson's first Inspector Banks book and loved it.For one thing, it was fascinating to see how some of the characters I came to know and love in later books were first introduced.Also, this was a good story -- perhaps not as complex as his later works and not as confidently written as they, but, nevertheless, it held my interest through the end of the book.Robinson always develops his characters vividly and his plots are rational and plausible.He doesn't insult the reader.All in all, another fine book by a master.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Debut
GALLOWS VIEW is the first entry in the "Inspector Banks" series, and I found it very enjoyable.Banks is a big city British policeman who re-locates his job and family to a more rural part of the country.GALLOWS VIEW contains three separate crimes that Banks tries to solve -- a peeping tom, a series of burglaries, and a murder of an old woman.

This novel isn't terribly exciting, but it's a well done whodunit that has some very good characterization.Some of the "womens lib" dialogue is pretty dated, but it plays a minor role in the story.I found Banks a likable character, and I found the story interesting enough to devour in a few sittings.Robinson is a fine writer, and his prose is highly readable.

Despite the UK setting, I found everything in this book pretty easy to understand from an American perspective.This book is sexually graphic in spots, but not in a way that is particularly offensive.

GALLOWS VIEW is apparently Robinson's very first novel, and the Inspector Banks books apparently get better as they go along.As a result, I look forward to reading more books in this series, and encourage other readers to check them out.

... Read more

7. In a Dry Season (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2000-07-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380794772
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In the blistering, dry summer, the waters of Thornfield Reservior have been depleted, revealing the ruins of the small Yorkshire village that lay at its bottom, bringing with it the unidentified bones of a brutally murdered young woman. Detective Chief Inspector Banks faces a daunting challenge: he must unmask a killer who has escaped detection for half a century. Because the dark secret of Hobb's End continue to haunt the dedicated policeman even though the town that bred then has died--and long after its former residents have been scattered to far places...or themselves to the grave.

From an acknowledged master writing at the peak of his storytelling powers comes a powerful, insightful, evocative, and searingly suspenseful novel of past crimes and present evil.

Amazon.com Review
Detective chief inspector Alan Banks is a walking midlife crisis, full ofrage because of his recently failed marriage, a career crippled by ajealous superior, and problems with his son. In less skilled hands, Bankscould have quickly become a royal pain, but Robinson makes him instead avery likable character, who is slightly baffled and bemused by his badluck. When he criticizes his son Brian's decision to drop out of college tobecome a rock musician, Banks quickly regrets it--recognizing the sameimpulses that made him rebel against his own parents, and some of the painhe felt when a college friend died of a drug overdose. The realization that Brian'sheavy-metal band is actually quite good brings genuine pleasure to a manwhose idea of rock is Love's Forever Changes and other 1970sdelights.

Banks is assigned to work on a case that the Yorkshire police departmentconsiders to be somewhat of a joke. The skeleton of a woman wrapped inWorld War II blackout curtains has been found in a dried-out reservoir.This man-made watering hole was a village--Hobbs End--that had beenflooded many years earlier. Through the journal of a major player werealize early on who the dead woman is, but a large part of the fun iswatching Banks and an edgy, attractive female cop put the pieces of thepuzzle together. In a DrySeason is a stylish and gently reflective tale of secretsand lies.

Banks's other books include Wednesday's Child, Final Account, and Blood at the Root.--Dick Adler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (67)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best of the first ten (all above-average) books in this series
In the last book in this excellent police procedural series, North Yorkshire DCI Alan Banks and his wife had come to a parting of the ways after more than twenty years. Now, Sandra has gone off back to London and Banks is trying to get used to living by himself in a small-but-scenic cottage. His son has barely scraped through college and is trying to make a go of it with his band. The Chief Constable hates him for unspecified reasons and is determined to force him out by giving him almost nothing to do. And on top of all that, the Dales are in the middle of a drought. A "dry season" all round. But the shrinking level of the nearby reservoir has revealed the abandoned village of Hobb's End that was flooded shortly after World War II, and an exploring adolescent has turned up a buried body under one of the ruined buildings. Was it a murder? Banks is assigned to investigate -- aided by DS Annie Cabbot, another copper in Dutch with her superiors. And as the story of the skeleton under the reservoir makes the national news, one person in particular, a now-elderly mystery writer, has reasons to lose sleep. Robinson, who becomes more inventive with each novel (this is his tenth), turns this one into two intertwined narratives -- one set in the present day, following Banks and Cabbot through their explorations into both the life of Hobb's End and their suddenly budding personal relationship, and the other from the viewpoint of the writer, about life in the provinces during the war and about the people, both Brit and Yank, who are caught up in it. Both are equally interesting and equally involving to the reader, especially as you compare what Banks deduces from his investigation with what Gwen/Vivian says actually happened. The pace is slow and thoughtful but never plodding, sucking you in to both the mystery and its history. And DS Cabbot is going to be an interesting, many faceted character to watch. It's all absolutely believable and, in many ways, this is Robinson's best yet.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Maybe his dry season really was coming to an end."
Just when the character of Inspector Banks is at its lowest, we find Peter Robinson writing at the pinnacle. Banks is going through personal problems, separated from his wife, who has a new suitor, and trying to have a good relationship with his son and daughter. Also, he has been ostracized at work, after physically attacking his supervisor (not without reason) and therefore, does not get any real cases whatsoever.

But when a kid accidentally finds an old skeleton that shows signs of possible foul play, Banks' supervisor decides to use the case to try and sink the inspector for good. However, this will lead to a very interesting and challenging case, which gives Banks "new life", and also will lead to him meeting a young female detective, who spices things up.

I really think that Robinson's idea of presenting a case involving a potential crime committed at the time of WW II was a very good one. Also, I enjoyed the technique of using the narration of one of the characters involved in the events from the past and mixing that with the current events in the investigation. But overall, what I enjoyed the most in this novel was how well the author blended the case being investigated and the developments in Banks' personal life.

I really enjoy mystery series, and I always read them in order, the main reason having to do with liking to see how the characters develop and grow. This is one of those books in which the author delivers a myriad of elements in this regard. Therefore, I believe that fans of the series will find this to be one of the best installments thus far. On the same token, people that have not read the previous books will miss out on some of the enjoyment, but I still believe the other factors are good enough for the book to deserve to be recommended to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robinson is at thetop of his game!
The Inspector Banks series is excellent. Robinson creates interesting and compelling mysteries along with introducing characters that have depth, and are enjoyable to read about.

In a Dry Season Robinson changes his usual format by creating 2 story lines. One follows the mystery of an old skeleton in the current time while the other tracks a story dating back to WWII. Eventually the 2 stories merge. Both stories are compelling, and the story is a real tour de force. I have found all of the Banks' series to be excellent, but this one stands out among the others.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Skeleton is Unearthed - Who is the Murderer?
This is a very well-written contemporary British mystery with good character development.

The plot goes back and forth in time from the present day to World War II England.A skeleton is unearthed and it is determined that a murder has caused the death.The mystery is based on what led to the the murder.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robinson at his finest
Do yourself a favor and read this book. Then, do yourself an even bigger favor and DON'T read any of Robinson's other books. You'll only be disappointed. (Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.)

In a Dry Season is Robinson's most complex, most sensitive and most satisfying novel. A skeleton, the victim of a violent murder 50 years past, is discovered in a ghost town. Banks, more for personal reasons (his marriage is falling apart) than for anything else, sets out to solve the crime. But who is the victim? Why was she murdered? After fifty years these questions are not easily answered. As Banks unravels this mystery,a second mystery, a story told by an unidentified witness, takes us back to the time of the murder - Britain during WWII. It is this dual perspective that makes In a Dry Season, so wonderfully complex. With utter mastery Robinson paints an evocative portrait of wartime Britain, and before long you find yourselfimmersed in the spirit of the times - the coupons, the rationing, the black outs. But what truly distinguishes this book from Robinson's other mysteries is the thoroughness with which he develops the humanity of the murder victim. You become so attached to her that when she is inevitably murdered, you feel her loss.

Solving a murder is what mysteries are all about. In a Dry Spell is unusual in that the solution plays a secondary role to the underlying tragedy that permeates the first person narrative. Banks, with all of his angst, finally takes a back seat to the main story. (Which is where he should have been riding all along.) The poignant conclusion of the book is deeply touching and shows Robinson's real skill as a writer.

It would be wonderful for all of us if Robinson could keep up the good work. (So far he hasn't.)We can only hope that he rises to the occasion once again, and produces another book as memorable as In a Dry Season. ... Read more

8. Aftermath: A Novel of Suspense (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2002-07-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380811812
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One phone call from a concerned neighbor has inadvertently led police to Terence Payne, the elusive serial killer known only as "Chameleon." Now the fiend is in custody, perhaps dying, and a long nightmare appears to be over at last. But is it? In Acting Detective Superintendent Alan Banks's mind too many questions remain unanswered at the chamber of horrors the press will dub the "House of Payne." Because the darkness has not yet lifted, the casualties are still mounting...and there are still monsters loose in the world.

Amazon.com Review
Penzler Pick, October 2001: The mystery novels of Peter Robinson (Aftermath is his 12th) are of increasing power and intensified intelligence. It's a dirty little secret of the crime-fiction genre that many of its writers simply spin their wheels, repeating over and over those old tricks which always have worked for them. They coast on past successes and repeat the formula hoping, if not assuming, that their fans won't notice.

Writers like Robinson, however, actually seem to grow in front of our eyes, delivering books of greater complexity each time. His previous two books, Cold Is the Grave and In a Dry Season, were novels of character and novels of crime, equally, and now Aftermath is here to reward his fans and new readers alike.

Like recent books by fellow English writers Reginald Hill, Val McDermid, and Stephen Booth, Aftermath centers upon a grim case in which attractive young girls have disappeared, victims of a cunning psychotic killer whose identity is well concealed behind a façade of respectability. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks of the Yorkshire Police is in charge of the case, but he's also got unavoidable personal distractions. His separated wife, Sandra, is pregnant by her lover, Sean, and wanting the divorce he's been dragging his heels over.

There is nothing cozy about the kind of English mysteries written by Peter Robinson, even if they do take place where picturesque rural villages make up the landscape. He's not afraid of gore or deviance, of violence, or of any of the baser emotions, and it's a raw old world behind the hedgerows and cottage walls. If Aftermath is your first taste of his tough-tender sensibility, it won't be surprising if you soon are hooked on the work of one of today's most accomplished practitioners of detective fiction. --Otto Penzler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid entry in an enjoyable series
This review refers to the audio version.

#12 Chief Inspector Alan Banks series set in Yorkshire, UK. Banks has moved up the ranks temporarily in this book, filling in for his boss who is out on a medical leave, and he's finding he doesn't like those shoes much, sleeping poorly and worrying incessantly. Working on the Chameleon Killer case involving the disappearance and apparent abduction of several blonde teenage girls, Alan has the killer land in his lap when a 999 call from a neighbor reporting a domestic incident leads a patrol car to the home of Terrance and Lucy Payne. PC Janet Taylor nearly beats Terrance to death when he attacks her partner with a machete.

Lucy Payne, bruised and dazed is carted off to hospital, but it's what's in the basement that gets Alan involved--the dead body of the most recently-abducted girl, staked out on a mattress, with several others found buried in a side room. But as the case progresses, Banks finds he's not satisfied with things, and wonders if Lucy Payne was complicit in the crimes, or if she was really as ignorant of her husband's activities downstairs as she claims to be.

Payne is in a coma and unable to talk, and Lucy has latched onto her doctor's mention of "retrograde amnesia" and "post traumatic stress" and is being less than cooperative, egged on by her neighbor Maggie, who is also an abused wife who escaped from her husband back in Canada. And if Payne is the Chameleon Killer, there's a body missing. Banks' personal life also takes several interesting twists, which I won't comment much on so as not to give away spoilers.

I've already read the next book in this series--it was the first Banks book I read, and after doing so decided to go back to the beginning and do it properly--which was also very excellent. I like the reader for this series although his voices of the different characters aren't always really distinct, but certainly pleasant enough and sets a good tone for the book. Enjoyable, although perhaps a bit long-winded with some needless repetition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robinson's best yet
Robinson's novels about the cases -- and the life -- of DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire CID just keep getting better and better, and this, the twelfth in the series, is the best yet. A couple of young police constables get a call to check on a domestic disturbance and what they find in the basement leads to the death by machete of one cop and haunting nightmares for the other, though she manages finally to subdue their attacker. But Terence Payne is clearly the serial killer known as the Chameleon, for whom Banks's huge task force has been searching. It's more responsibility than he's had in his life (he's also an Acting Superintendent) and he's not sure he likes it. And he finds himself making small mistakes. Payne is in the hospital and it's touch and go, but his abused wife, Lucy, seems to be pulling herself together. Only Banks thinks there's something not quite right there. And as they pull the bodies out of the Paynes' basement and start digging up the garden looking for more, Banks suddenly has to deal with upsetting personal news as well -- even more so than the realization that the wife from whom he's separated really isn't coming back. He's been on the brink of burnout before and he doesn't want to go there again. The author does a marvelous job of taking the reader down into the psyches of cops under stress, and the minds of truly bent representatives of humanity, and the victims of a variety of types of abuse. There are some graphic descriptions along the way, but they play into the horror of the story behind the story the reader is forced to confront. The complexities of the narrative -- every one of which is logically necessary and beautifully paced -- remind me of a conductor leading an orchestra unerringly through a symphony. There are layers upon layers and, no matter what your suspicions, you'll be holding your breath until the last page.

4-0 out of 5 stars a good read for mystery and suspense fans
First book I have read by this author and found it to be a good read.It was well done.The characters were interesting and the plot got your attention.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"

4-0 out of 5 stars Vintage Peter Robinson
I really enjoyed this book.Peter Robinson's characters grow with each book and so does my interest in them.A painful topic very well dealt with.

3-0 out of 5 stars Over-the-top sensationalism
Normally, I am a fan of Peter Robinson's books. They are fast-paced, have interesting characters and are well written. But over the years, I have noticed a tendency in Robinson (shared by a few other mystery writers who have run out of ideas) to descend into pure shock value.

In Aftermath, Robinson not only descends, he plunges. He starts the book off with domestic abuse, then immediately hits us with a couple of gruesome murders, several rape/abductions of young girls (blondes, why is it always blondes?), serial killing, child molestation, Satanic rituals ... let me see, have I left anything out?

Oh yes, I forgot pseudo-psychology. In order to justify a plot with that much over-the-top sexual violence, you have to throw in a fair amount of psychologizing - none of it accurate. (But hey, it's all in a good cause - appealing to the lowest common denominator.) Contrary to popular belief, victims of abuse do NOT necessarily become abusers themselves. In fact half of all abusers were never abused, which means there is no statistical correlation. Women abusers are in a such a minority as to be statistically irrelevant.

Of course, Robinson is not writing a scholarly treatise on the subject. He is simply trying to sell books. And, as everyone knows, the more sex/violence/abuse/rape etc. you throw into a book, the more likely you are to sell it. Unfortunately, Robinson, a writer capable of so much more, has also sold himself. ... Read more

9. Piece of My Heart
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 448 Pages (2007-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060544368
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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1969 . . . In an era of free love and rebellion, a dead body is discovered among the detritus of a recently concluded rock festival—a beautiful young woman stabbed so savagely through the chest that a piece of her heart was sliced off.

Now . . . A freelance journalist, a stranger to the region, is savagely bludgeoned to death in a shocking act of violence with no apparent motive.

Two murders separated by four decades are investigated by two very different but equally haunted investigators—one, a casualty of war unable to come to terms with a confusing new world; the other, a rogue policeman harboring ghosts of his own. But the truth behind a grisly present-day slaying may somehow be hidden in the amplified, drug-induced fog of a notorious past, propelling Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks into the darkest shadows of the peace, love, and rock 'n' roll generation.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and thoughtful entry in a first-rate series
It's been an eventful year or two for DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire CID. He was burned out of his small cottage and lost everything, nearly including his life. His estranged brother was murdered, but he caught the killer. His old friend and superior, Superintendent Gristhorpe, has finally retired and been replaced by a dangerously ambitious woman. And he's been on the outs with DI Annie Cabbot, previously his lover and now his friend and colleague. But things seem to be turning around a bit for Banks. His cottage has been restored and improved, he inherited his brother's top-of-the-line sound system and music collection (music is very, very important to Banks), he may have gotten a handle on the new Superintendent, and he and Annie seem to have worked out their problems. And even his son, a rising rock musician, seems to be maturing. All of that is the background for the narratives of a pair of murder investigations that take place forty years apart -- one in the present day as Banks and his team tackle the brutal murder of a music journalist in his rented cottage, the other the stabbing of a young girl at an outdoor rock concert in 1969. The DI in charge of the earlier investigation is Stanley Chadwick, survivor of both the Burma campaign and D-Day, product of a strict Presbyterian upbringing, strait-laced and rather narrow-minded when it comes to the hippie generation, and extremely protective of his teenaged daughter. So protective, in fact, that it warps his professional judgment. The story moves back and forth, with Chadwick trying, not always successfully, to deal with changing times, and with Banks digging into the story the murdered journalist was working on, about the now-classic rock band, the Mad Hatters. Naturally, the two narratives slowly converge and the present-day crime is found to be linked to the earlier one, on multiple levels. As always in Robinson's novels, there are also several supporting subplots, this time concerning trust and betrayal, in both the past and the present. And, also as always, we follow Banks's sometimes meandering investigation as he pokes into corners, follows his intuition, tracks down details, carries out interviews, and ponders what he's learned and what it all means. The author has become very good at this, tossing out occasional bits of "what happened afterward" for the reader to think about and draw conclusions from. Another very successful book in an excellent detective series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Banks is Terrific
I listened to the audio book which was well narrated.I was listening to this on two long car rides.In the interim I was reading The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo. Without giving anything away the two books had plots with similarities.I enjoyed both very much.The two stories that moved together made the book interesting.Robinson is one of the best writers around.

4-0 out of 5 stars WIldly Ambitious Time-Skipping Suspense
Piece of My Heart fascinates with its blend of 1960s music festival/youth rebellion and contemporary rural-ish Britain. I'm hippie-averse, or maybe just hippie-nostalgia averse, so was pleased to find a riveting description of what would make that culture so persistently appealing. Mental health issues and class boundaries are explored with sympathy and imagination. The story does skip from POV to POV frequently and a little disarmingly, but eventually that style lends a little extra suspense to the unraveling of the complicated mysteries here. The novel did not cure my patchouli allergy, but I can't wait to read more of Peter Robinson's books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece
Peter Robinson is one of those preciously rare authors with the power to both thrill and touch our hearts. His characters are only too human, real people trying to make the best of the imperfect world we all populate.
Two murders, one from 1969, the other from 2005 slowly, after hard investigation connect.Chief inspector Banks ( after late Morse, my favorite fictional character),is not a tough, macho detective or a dissipated wreck of a human being as in many cliche novels written these days. He is a normal, somewhat lonely and troubled middle-aged man with a clear passion fo justice and truth. Reading Mr. Robinson's beautiful books means an honor to be part of his touching fictional world for as long as the pages go through our hands.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not compelling
From my perspective, this novel should have had a lot going for it, specifically an interesting chronology with parallel stories a generation apart, an interesting protagonist, and a lurid murder set in the British rock scene of the 1960s.

The whole, however, adds up to something less than the some of its parts. While I can't compare this novel to others by Peter Robinson, I was expecting--hoping--for more: more suspense, more mystery, more characterization, more something. It's okay, but it sure didn't convince me to run out and buy more novels by the same author. A good mystery should have me thinking about it even when I'm not reading it, wishing I could sit down and read it straight through to the end. I had to keep reminding myself to finish this novel before I started the next one on my list. ... Read more

10. Innocent Graves (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 400 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380820439
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The worst that can possibly happen . . . has.

A beautiful child is dead -- defiled and murdered in a lonely graveyard on a fog-shrouded evening. It is the sort of horrific crime Chief Inspector Alan Banks fled the city to escape. But the slaying of a bright and lovely teenager from a wealthy, respected family is not the end of a nightmare. Lies, dark secrets, unholy accusations, and hints of sexual depravity swirl around this abomination like leaves in an autumn wind, leading to a shattering travesty of justice that will brutally divide a devastated community with suspicion and hatred. But Banks must remain vigilant in his hunt -- because when the devil is left free to pursue his terrible calling, more blood will surely flow.Amazon.com Review
The more Chief Inspector Alan Banks investigates the murder of aschoolgirl in a church graveyard the less he likes the whole sordid affair.The vicar at St. Mary's has been allegedly seeking sex from his sexton; thevicar's wife has been seeking solace in a bottle and the arms of aschoolteacher; and those in and around the church aren't keen on anybody whodoesn't view matters as they do. And there happens to be a few suspects whomeet that description. Banks investigates a murder and finds religious andsocietal affairs stickier than those in the normal mystery. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the best and most innovative in the series so far
This mystery series about DCI Banks and his investigative adventures in darkest Yorkshire just keep getting better and better. Usually, they're straight police procedurals with a leavening of individual personalities, and they're also almost entirely from Banks's own point of view. But this time Robinson departs somewhat from the usual. A teenage girl from a wealthy and influential family in the town is found strangled in a closely wooded corner of the graveyard (discovered by the vicar's wife, in fact, who has her own problems regarding accusations and innuendo). There are a number of good suspects, including the girl's sometime thuggish boyfriend, and a Croatian handyman, and a teacher at her elite school -- or it could be just an unknown sex murderer passing by. And then, halfway through the book, we switch to the POV of an English teacher at the local tech school who happened to be in the right place at the right time, who is a bit strange anyway (those who are different always make good villains in the eyes of everyone else), and whom Banks and his crew decide must be the killer. In fact, the nightmarish ease with which Owen Pierce finds himself in a cell awaiting trial should be unsettling to anyone. He's very easy to identify with as he goes through his ordeal in court (luckily for him, he has an excellent barrister -- though there's no mention of how he's supposed to be able to pay the woman), and even more so in trying to deal with society afterward. But Banks is an honest copper and when a second murder takes place that strongly resembles the first, he plays it fair. An excellent and involving story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A complex study of humanity
This book is more than just a finely crafted mystery story.Robinson delves into the human psyche with this book, and we see what circumstances can do to an ordinary man in his Owen Pierce character.Pierce is arrested for the murder of a young girl in a graveyard, and we see what his charging and sentencing and his time in prison do to him.Banks is not convinced that he is the killer though even though the forensic evidence is strong.This is a haunting tale that stays with you long after you close the book.It is a tragedy of a life lost and a life wasted.When the actual murderer is caught the motive and situation is so tawdry that even the usually unflappable Banks feels great sadness.I am really getting to like CI Banks, and look forward to more about him and the unusual cases that he comes across.

3-0 out of 5 stars Frustrated
In reading reviews of Peter Robinson's series, reviewers keep saying this is not his best, but no one tells me which ones are his best...Please help!

4-0 out of 5 stars "Are you saying you still don't think he did it, sir?"
If you are familiar with the Inspector Banks novels, get ready for a noticeable change in the usual flow of the story. There are several things that are different in "Innocent Graves", but the first one that comes to mind is that Inspector Banks has a less prominent role in the story. Or maybe I should refer to is as less "screen time". This happens because there is a significant portion of the story that covers the trial of the accused in the murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. Here Robinson shows once again that he is willing to take risks, and even though he did not write a legal thriller per se, he did take a step in that direction, with a result that was more than adequate.

There are a couple of new characters in Bank's team, and since one of them presents a striking contrast with the boisterous Hatchley, I liked the result of this experiment. Also, the usual elements that make Robinson's writing special are present, especially the conversation fragments that give us great insight into the minds of the characters. I felt that he was successful with the construction of the mystery too, even though he could have crafted the ending a little better, instead of just letting it resolve by itself and fall on the lap of the police.

My main gripe with this installment has to do with the little development we see in the sub-plot having to do with Banks and his family. In previous novels we witnessed how the inspector and his wife started having issues after their kids left the nest, and it would have been interesting to find out how this progressed.After all, one of the main reasons why I read series is because I like the character development from book to book and the elements outside the main plot. I hope that in the next novel Robinson rectifies this and delivers another outstanding work!

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Gripping Tale from the Author

Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of a number of previous novels featuring Inspector Banks. He is the winner of numerous awards in the United States, Britain and Canada, and in 2002 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library. As I also come from Leeds the background to his stories is something that I have experienced first hand and because of this I have a special affection for his books. However they would be first class crime fiction wherever they were based.

Having said that I can understand to a degree why some readers may not like the books.Banks is a character that has grown over several books and the author is very comfortable not only with the character of Banks, but all the other character too. To me this makes the stories flow because the author instinctively knows how his characters are going to react in certain situations. The books are produced as a series and it is nice if you can read them all in the order they were written, but this is by no means compulsory as each book stands alone. They are what I would call `light' reading. By that I mean that they flow and not that they are third rate in any sense, in fact quite the opposite.

As murders go the strangling of a teenage girls with the strap of her own school satchel was nothing out of the ordinary for Inspector Banks. It just seemed that much more brutal in a quiet Yorkshire village than it would have done on the streets of central London where human beings didn't seem to care too much what they did to one another.

Deborah Harrison had been found in the local church yard one foggy night, but she was no ordinary sixteen-year-old, her father was an extremely powerful man who mixed in the highest orders of industry, defence and information of a classified nature. Even poor Deborah seemed to have her own secrets.

... Read more

11. Wednesday's Child: An Inspector Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (2002-04-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380820498
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It was a crime of staggering inhumanity: a seven-year-old girl taken from her working class Yorkshire home by an attractive young couple posing as social workers. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks feels certain little Gemma Scupham is dead, yet the motive for her kidnapping remains a mystery. No ransom is ever demanded, nor could Gemma's tortured, guilt-ridden mother afford to pay one. And when the body of a young man is discovered in an abandoned mine, slain in a particularly brutal fashion, a disturbing, perplexing case takes an even more sinister twist -- drawing Banks into the sordid depths of an evil more terrible and terrifying than anything the seasoned investigator has ever encountered.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars You can always count on an Alan Banks story to be a superior police procedural
It's definitely important to bring out that this is a police procedural which is a different sub genre from "cozies", and thrillers. Author Peter Robnson generally succeeds in surprising us when the perp is revealed after leading us through a detailed investigation.The characters are thoroughly human and we do know a bit of their domestic lives.In this case, we're given the first hints that the marriage between Alan and Sandra Banks may not survive. My only reservation in this book is the abbreviated closure. True, Robinson had deliberate reason in letting us fill in the blanks, but I would have liked seeing reactions from the various characters after the final sentence.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good read from this author...
I'm working my way through this series very happily.Almost all of them have been top shelf in my estimation.Oddly enough some of the more recent ones are the hardest to find new, even on Amazon.I still haven't Kindled partially because of this series.For older paperback books there really should be some type of discount.I can get the same book in paper brand new or I can pay the same and just get the Kindle version. I do a lot of "author discovery" reading, I'd rather have to be to give away if it comes down to it... Anyway, this series is probably one of my favorite finds of the last couple of years.If you haven't read him, start from the beginning.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent police procedural
I am becoming a big fan of Inspector Banks mysteries.He is such an ordinary "copper", and I love watching his thought processes as he tries to solve a case.In this case, a seven year old girl goes missing.All the stops are pulled out to try to find her, but before they can they find a murdered man in an abandoned quarry?It doesn't look like the two cases are related but as Banks investigates he finds out all kinds of things, and he finds a link between the two cases.I love the characters in these books, and I love the mysteries.For anyone who likes British police procedurals, this is not a series to be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Why couldn't they have been real social workers like they said they were?"
Robinson has done it again, delivering a chilling page-turner that I found impossible to put down. Mimicking his last outstanding novel, Past Reason Hated, the author chose to include two cases, that seem separate, but whose relationship soon surfaces, as the backbone of this book. All the usual characters are present in this installment, and we get to see the return of Jenny Fuller, a character that I have liked all through the series, and who with her psychological insights make these novels much more enjoyable.

When a seven-year-old girl is taken from her house by a couple posing as social workers and not returned when promised, the mother contacts the police. Inspector Banks and Superintendent Gristhorpe are thus immersed in a tough case, which proves not only complex and brutal, but also presents little promise for recovering the victim alive. When the body of a young ex-con surfaces a couple of days later, Banks suspects a connection, and decides to pursue this case, leaving the first one to Gristhorpe. The two teams are thrown in a race against time, to beat the odds and recover the victim before it is too late.

I liked the idea Robinson had when he decided to have Gristhorpe handling one of the cases. Up until now, the involvement of this character has been fairly limited, and in my opinion, this change made the series better. The author also goes a little deeper into Banks' personal life, which I greatly appreciate, since when reading a series I always look forward to knowing more about the main characters and understanding what aspects of everyday life and their pasts affect their actions. The Inspector is going through the beginning of a mid-life crisis, with one son gone to college, and a teenage daughter that is growing fast, even if his father wants to ignore the fact. This also forces Banks and his wife Sandra to reinvent their relationship outside of their parenthood.

As is usual the case with Robinson's books, we get a mystery that has an interesting and coherent plot, with mesmerizing characters, especially the mother of the girl and her partner, and with dialogues that are among the best I have come across in mystery novels. The only thing that was a little taxing was that the case involved a little girl. Since having my daughter, who is now two years old, I have noticed that I am affected more by books or movies that touch upon the topic of child abuse. In this case, it was tough at times, but I have to accept that the author handled the topic well and did not twist the knife in the wound. I can understand though that some people with less tolerance may have a hard time reading this novel. Apart from that caveat, I think this is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Robinson Winner
"Wednesday's Child" is another outstanding offering from the talented Peter Robinson.Each of his books are carefully constructed police procedurals and Robinson consistently exhibits an ability to build sensitivity, tension and character into each of his novels. This one features Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, the star of most of his novels, but it also gives added dimension to another favorite Robinson character, Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe.The two of them, with their loyal, able Yorkshire police comrades, methodically track down the kidnapper of a little girl.As in all the other Robinson novels, the bad guy is usually not who you think it is.And by the ending, you know that you have read a book written by a literary craftsman.I look forward to reading many more Peter Robinson books. ... Read more

12. Past Reason Hated: An Inspector Banks Mystery
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380733285
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

A picturesque Yorkshire village is dressed in its finest for the upcoming Noel. But one of its residents will not be celebrating this holiday.

Chief Inspector Alan Banks knows that secrecy can sometimes prove fatal'and secrets were the driving force behindCarolineHartley's life…and death. She was a beautiful enigma, brutally stabbed in her own home three days prior to Christmas. Leaving her past behind for a forbidden love affair, she mystified more than a few. And now she is dead, clothed only in her unshared mysteries and her blood. In this season of giving and forgiving, Banks is eager to absolve the innocent of their sins. But that must wait until the many facets of a perplexing puzzle are exposed and the dark circle of his investigation finally closes…and when a killer makes the next move.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb British mystery and police procedural
In this fifth outing for protaganist Chief Inspector Banks, author Peter Robinson takes on the murder of a lesbian actress.The list of suspects is many but none of the investigative skills that Bank's has at his disposal seem to be getting him anywhere with any of them. Although you kind of figure out who the killer is by the middle of the book it doesn't diminish the story of how and why this lovely young woman comes to be murdered. The issue of lesbianism and people's prejudices is fully explored - each suspect, and each member of the police hunting the killer, has his or her own prejudices to deal with. This is a solid British mystery and a fast-paced police procedural rolled into one story. Peter Robinson is an expert in both and its clearly evident in this book

3-0 out of 5 stars abridged or not?
just purchased an audio CD of this book and found it to be just 3 hours long!Then I saw it was abridged.I typically do notbuy abridged books but saw nothing on the product details that said it was cut.Caveat emptor!Wouldn't it be best if the seller had to note that the book was either unabridged or not?

4-0 out of 5 stars A satisfying look at varying lifestyles
This isn't the strongest of the Slan Bans novels and probbly isn't the best for anyone who hasn't read any in the series yet. However, for those who have already been introduced to the lead chaaracter, this is a well plotted and thoughtful addition to the series.We are given a good look at the different aspects of lesbian relationships and also at the amateur theatrical world.Understanding of both help the reader in speculating on the murderer's identity, and Peter Robinson is very skillful in planting clues for the alert reader who treats mysteries as puzzles to be solved while still providing a satisfying variety of characters and well thought out plot for the more casual reader. Psychological profiles of the suspects as well as of Banks and, in this case Susan Gay add considerable depth to this as is the case in most of the author's books. Mystery lovers wil appreciate the sly reference to Inspector Dagleish, one of the several humorous sidebars here.Those who are familiar with Reginald Hill, Charles Todd, and P.D. James will probably add Peter Robinson to their favorite author lists, but again, one's better off being already familiar with Alan Banks before reading this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Explores all sorts of issues.
This book explores all sorts of issues.The issue of family violence, the issue of sexuality, the issue of a troubled psyche.And we have the wonderful Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks trying to find his way through the minefield.Inspector Banks is a wonderful character.He is very real, and he is such an ordinary guy.That is part of his appeal.This book is set around the Christmas season in the northern part of England (Yorkshire) where Banks has taken up residence. A young woman is found dead in her flat.She has been brutally stabbed to death and Banks and his team try to find the murderer.There are far too many suspects, and far too many motives for Banks' liking, but he does manage to get to the answer in the end.Mr. Robinson knows how to write a British procedural, and I really am enjoying this series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Start elsewhere if you want to appreciate Peter Robinson
"Past Reason Hated" is the only book I have read by Peter Robinson. I won't read another unless I'm stuck on a island and one washes up on the shore and I am out of matches.
I understand that his later works are better than his earlier works.One reviewer recommends "In a Dry Season."I can only recommend that this not be the first of his books to read.The plot is slow, the sentences are cumbersome and the characters are poorly developed, and he is not funny.
The only reason I finished the book was so I could write this review andwarn others not to waste their time.I wanted to be sure that I didn't miss out on a great ending.I am now certain that the ending is not work the labor of the read.Next time the urge to read a British mystery comes upon me as it does from time to time I will go to R. Hill or P.D. James, but I will not return to Mr. Robinson. This is one book you should take your time reading selected pages before you purchase.If you like it, buy it, read it, review it and let me know what other books you like.Life is short and I like to know about other books I should avoid.
... Read more

13. Friend of the Devil (Inspector Alan Banks)
by Peter Robinson
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2008-03-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$6.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0043RTA7A
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Two murders . . . two towns . . .

A woman sits in a wheelchair perched on a cliff high above the sea, her throat slit from ear to ear . . .

In a maze of narrow alleys behind a market square, a teenaged girl has been murdered after a night of drunken revelries with her friends.

A pair of horrific crimes, the first—a seemingly senseless murder of a helpless paraplegic—falls to Inspector Annie Cabbot, on loan to a local police department. The terrible death of young Hayley Daniels becomes Chief Inspector Alan Banks's investigation.

But shattering revelations threaten to awaken the slumbering demons of earlier, darker times, and more blood is in the offing when the two cases brutally and unexpectedly collide.

Amazon.com Review
Amazon Significant Seven, February 2008: Fans of Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels, and anyone who enjoyed In the Woods as much as we did, will love Peter Robinson's smart and absorbing Friend of the Devil. Be sure to set aside some time to dig in--you'll be tempted to devour it in one sitting, but this gripping and finely plotted mystery deserves to be savored. If this is your first introduction to the intrepid Inspector Alan Banks, count yourself lucky--Robinson has been crafting these award-winning police procedurals for more than two decades now, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy what Stephen King has called "the best series of British novels since the novels of Patrick O'Brian." --Daphne Durham ... Read more

Customer Reviews (54)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not one of his best
DCI Alan Banks of the West Yorkshire CID is a pretty good detective, but his old cases seem to have a habit of coming back to haunt him. He starts out with a pretty ordinary rape/murder case in the Maze, a neighborhood of narrow, twisty passages and untenanted Victorian buildings only a minute's sprint from the police station. The victim was young, bright, and sexy, with a tendency to drink too much with her mates on the weekends, and while Banks has problems with some of the suspects, he expects to solve the case without too much trouble. Meanwhile, though, DI Annie Cabbot, seconded to a neighboring division, is handed a very different sort of homicide -- the throat-slashing of a helpless paraplegic woman on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. It's obviously a very personal crime, a matter of hatred or revenge. But it's when this victim's true identity becomes known that the plot begins to heat up and the two killings seem to want to merge. Robinson has developed Banks's personality in vivid detail over a dozen an a half novels now, and the reader will usually know what to expect from him. Annie Cabbot, his ex-lover, with whom he now has a sometimes uneasy professional relationship, is also nicely developed, as are the supporting players -- the gorgeous, six-foot-tall Jamaican, DS Winsome Jackman; the old-school but effective DS Hatchley; the bloody-minded and ambitious newcomer, Superintendent Gervaise; the corner-cutting DS Kevin Templeton who delights in tormenting suspects. And someone on the team is going back into the Maze and not coming out.

2-0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed
I like the area that Robinson writes about--Whitby and the North York Moors.Other than that I did not find this book interesting or engaging.Robinson should stick to the police procedural material.His psychological portrayals of his characters, in particular of Annie, are trite and shallow.His writing is clear, but full of empty phrases ("Her eyes blazed") and clichés.There were too many characters and suspects.I could not keep them straight and was not motivated to try.Reading this book was pretty much a waste of time--and it is long.

I have read another of Robinson's Detective Banks novels awhile ago and liked it.This one was disappointing.

My advice:Skip this one.Don't waste your precious time reading this book, like I did.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good.
This is the 17thadventure of DCI Alan Banks, a Chief Inspector in Eastvale - Yorkshire, England. Robinson's books are more literary and more grisly - if that's not a contradiction - than your typical British "cozy" mystery. They are also very, very good. So if you're looking for a new mystery author you won't go wrong with Robinson.

Friend of the Devil involves two separate cases that become intertwined by the conclusion of the book. Banks is tasked to solve the brutal rape and murder of a 19 year old girl. His former law enforcement partner, Annie Cabbot, who is "on loan" to a neighboring police precinct, is hunting down the murderer of a paraplegic woman who was killed outside of the Rest Home in which she resided. As the cases proceed it becomes apparent that Annie's mystery connects back to one in her and Banks' past.

The author does an excellent job in narrating these two separate mysteries and as is usual for this series, the reader spends much time inside our protagonists' heads as they go about solving their cases. The only negative I found with this book is the time spent on Annie's personal life, something Robinson usually balances well with the ongoing story. In this book Annie's personal foibles, although relevant at the conclusion, are somewhat heavy handed and intrusive. That being said Friend of the Devil is still a great read. It's not necessary to read this series in chronological order but it would help - recurring characters, their pasts, etc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Two Murder Mysteries; One Novel
I've become a fan of Peter Robinson & his series with Alan Banks & Annie Cabott. Here he gives us two separate murder mysteries being solved independently of each other.
The characters of Banks & Cabott are their usual believable & very likeable selves; as are their usual cohorts. The murders themselves & the events surrounding them are interesting. Then, something goes awry.

I found the switching back & forth between the two sometimes very awkward. A couple of the suspects do become wearisome & tedious. One mystery is pretty much predictable; the other a bit more surprising.

If not for the aforementioned I would have gone with 5 stars for this novel. Don't pass on it. It's a very good read

3-0 out of 5 stars Get rid of music
This is not really a review of the content but more of the recording. The reading was fine but I don't understand why we have this awful music enforced upon us at the beginning and end of each CD like 2 tiny purgatories times 11. ... Read more

14. Strange Affair (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2006-06-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060544341
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

A bullet to the brain abruptly halted a terrified young woman's desperate flight. In her pocket is the name of a policeman whose own life was brutally invaded, mercilessly shaken, and very nearly erased -- a policeman who has since gone missing.

The dead woman in the car had been running from something -- but she didn't run far or fast enough. Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot would like to question the man the victim was apparently racing to meet: Annie's superior -- and former lover -- Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. But Banks has vanished into the anonymous chaos of the city, drawn into a mad whirl of greed, inhumanity, and death, by a frantic phone call from the brother he no longer knows. Banks is unaware that the threads connecting a sinister kidnapping with a savage slaying are as thick as rope . . . and long enough for a haunted and broken rogue cop to hang himself.

Amazon.com Review
Without a doubt, the family and friends of fictional sleuths are two of the most endangered species on the planet. Crime novelists seem to have no qualms about sacrificing the people nearest and dearest to their protagonists, if doing so will advance plot development or bestow emotional depth upon their series stars. Peter Robinson continues this ruthless tradition in Strange Affair, his tension-packed 15th novel featuring headstrong British Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Still on the mend after the blazing finale of 2004's Playing with Fire, temporarily sworn off whiskey but back to smoking, Banks is interrupted in the midst of brooding over his life and failed relationships by a message from his estranged younger brother, Roy, who says he needs the DCI's help in "a matter of life and death." Concerned, especially since Roy boasts a history of dubious business dealings, Banks leaves Yorkshire for his sibling's home in London, only to find that residence unlocked, Roy's computer missing, and his cell phone left behind. After learning that Roy was last seen stepping into a car with an unidentified man, and receiving on Roy's mobile what appears to be a photo of his only brother slumped over in a chair, the cop fears that a kidnapping has occurred.

Meanwhile, back in Eastvale, Banks's colleague and ex-lover, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot, probes the shooting death of Jennifer Clewes, a 27-year-old family planning center administrator from London who's been found in her car, with the address of Banks's once-ruined (and recently broken into) cottage tucked into her jeans pocket. As Annie seeks to identify Clewes's attacker and determine whether this crime fits a pattern of roadway assaults, she's anxious also to discover what connection Banks may have to the case. But the DCI is frustratingly nowhere to be found.

Like 2003's Close to Home, Strange Affair adds some welcome bricks to Banks's back story, this time forcing him to reappraise a brother whom he had long resented and distrusted. Simultaneously, Robinson's latest police procedural delivers artfully contrived, intersecting story lines charged with rumors of international arms dealing, hints of misdeeds at a women's clinic, secondary players so shady they might be invisible after sundown, and insights into just how far Banks's career has distanced him from folks less steeped in the ugly side of mankind. An immensely satisfying mystery, filled with professional risks and personal regrets, this is truly an Affair to remember. --J. Kingston Pierce ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars This series just gets better and better
I think one of the things I like best about Robinson's series featuring DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire CID is that they're unusually true-to-life in their structure. That is, Agatha Christie and P. D. James and most other writers of "detective stories" have always followed a certain pattern. The murder takes place, the author quickly introduces the reader to a clutch of suspects, and says, in effect, "one of these people dunnit." Even Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books tend to work that way. But the narrative in Robinson's novels follow the process of the investigation. Clue A leads to Clue B, red herring (always a reasonable one) leads Banks astray for awhile, Banks or one of his colleagues (most often DI Annie Cabbot, lately) makes an intuitive leap or gets lucky, and the bad guys finally go down. Or at least they're identified; in the book before this one, _Playing with Fire,_ the bad guy got away and the cops are still looking for him. But in this present first-rate story, the who and (especially) the why of the crime don't become clear until very late in the book -- and it works.

The victims this time out include a young woman who is shot with a .22 on a quiet roadside between London and Eastvale, and the investigators quickly discover Banks's address in her back pocket. What is his connection with the dead woman? They'll have to wait a bit to find out, because Banks, presently taking a week off, has been phoned by his estranged brother, Roy, who definitely sounded frightened, and who then disappeared, and Banks has gone off to London to find out what's going on. Roy, a very successful entrepreneur, often sailed a bit too close to the wind in quest of profits and Banks is half-convinced he's up to his neck in something shady. But as he prowls around Roy's empty house, and talks to his neighbors and his ex-girlfriend, he begins to make some personally unsettling discoveries that don't fit in with his long-held suspicions regarding his brother. Then, of course, a second body turns up, also shot with a .22, and Banks's life is forever changed. Meanwhile, Annie is pursuing her own case and keeps just missing connections with Banks, but the two investigative threads will eventually merge. (And there's even a third matter being worked on by the thoroughly unlikeable DC Kevin Templeton, with a walk-on by Susan Gay from the earlier volumes in the series.) Then there are the personal story lines that grow and change and develop in the background from one book to the next, including Banks's failed marriage (and the baby Sandra has just had with her new husband) and his awkward relationship with Annie Cabbot, with whom he had a brief affair. (Banks can be a bit of a bastard at times, and Annie can be hard to deal with for her own reasons. Will they reach a new accommodation? Dunno. Keep reading.) If you begin this series at the beginning and follow it though the fifteen volumes to this point, you will have learned a great deal about Alan Banks and what makes him tick, and about his friends and lovers and colleagues, and about Yorkshire in the late 20th and early 21st century. Robinson does an excellent job with all of them, and he just keeps getting better and better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another solid mystery by a solid mystery writer
Won't rehash the book so much as to simply say if you like "police procedurals" in the vein of say an Ed McBain and Michael Connelly, you should enjoy "A strange affair" by Mr. Robinson.

This is the second book of his I've read("Piece of my heart" being the other)and with Mr. McBain sadly passing and Mr. Connelly sometimes being a bit inconsistent with his Harry Bosch novels, all I can say this guy, so far at least, is a real find who has created not only some suspenseful storylines but some police people you get a bit more curious about each step along the way.

If you like a good mystery where the "mundane" routine of a murder investigation is made all the more exciting by the wonderful characters, you should thoroughly enjoy this novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great Mystery
Once I started this mystery in the morning I could not put it down until I finished in the afternoon.A great way to spend a day: listening to light classical music in the background and reading one ofPeter Robinson's great books. A nice way to stay indoors out of the cold.

4-0 out of 5 stars Turned up missing
As if life hasn'tthrown him enough curveballs lately, Banks' holiday is interrupted by a mysterious phone message from his estranged brother Roy, who, as they say "turns up missing." Banks being Banks, he places his depression firmly on the back burner and sets out to discover what's going on in the life of his wheeler-dealer sibling. Chapter by chapter, this investigations becomes more and more complex, as severalseemingly unrelated events and crimes prove to be very much related indeed. Along the way, he learns that there's more to Roy than he ever suspected.

Peter Robinson is a gifted writer whose skills include the creation of 3 dimensional characters, the development of intricate and believable plots, and the genuine understanding of human emotions. It is remarkable that in a series with as many entries as this one,the central character continues to change and grow as we follow the twists and turns in his life and career. Robinson's many awards are well-merited.

I won't throw out any spoilers by discussing the outcome of Strange Affair, but readers will find a similar theme, just as well handled, in Donna Leon's Fatal Remedies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Expert Outing
Robinson again proves himself a modern ace.Banks takes some hard hits in this book.It's bleak, without ever being depressing. ... Read more

15. The Price of Love
by Peter Robinson
Kindle Edition: 368 Pages (2009-09-23)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002Q1YEJE
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From the New York Times bestselling author comes a riveting collection of short fiction, marked by the piercing psychological insight and brilliant characterization that are hallmarks of his acclaimed novels

Ever since the publication of his first mystery featuring Detective Inspector Alan Banks, Peter Robinson has been steadily building a reputation for compulsively readable and perceptive novels that probe the dark side of human nature. Plumbing the territory that he has so successfully staked, The Price of Love and Other Stories includes two novellas and several stories featuring the Yorkshire policeman at his finest.

In the novella "Going Back," never before published in the United States, Banks returns home for a family reunion, only to find it taking a decidedly sinister turn. In "Like a Virgin," written especially for this volume, Banks revisits the period in his life and the terrible crime that led him to leave London for Eastvale. And in between, the disparate motives that move us to harm one another, from love and jealousy to greed and despair, are all explored with fascinating depth.

Edgy and smart, thrilling and suspenseful, this remarkable collection is a must-have for Robinson fans—and any fan of compelling crime fiction.

... Read more

16. Cold Is the Grave: A Novel of Suspense (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 448 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380809354
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The nude photo of a teenage runaway shows up on a pornographic website, and the girl's father turns to Detective Chief Inspector Alan banks for help. But these are typical circumstances, for the runaway is the daughter of a man who's determined to destroy the dedicated Yorkshire policeman's career and good name. Still it is a case that strikes painfully home, one that Banks -- a father himself -- dares not ignore as he follows it's squalid trail into teeming London, and into a world of drugs, sex, and crime. But murder follows soon after -- gruesome ,sensational, and, more than once -- pulling Banks in a direction that he dearly does not wish to go: into the past and private world of his most powerful enemy, Chief Constable Jimmy Riddle.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cold Is The Grave
I have been reading the Peter Robinson series with inspector Banks in order. This is #11. Many times authors start repeating their stories but this series keeps getting better. I am reading as much for the new mystery as to keep up with the personal life of the inspector. I know I will miss them when I finish the series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Just a bit disappointing
Having thoroughly enjoyed "In a Dry Season,", I looked forward to reading this, the follow-up. Sadly there is a chasm between the two. "Cold is the Grave" is one of those 'body count' books. Just when you think there cannot be yet another murder, along comes another body. I know the areas in which the novel is set very well, and Robinson has a real knack of getting the feel of different parts of England absolutely right. This book is also, like other Peter Robsinson novels - a very classy piece of prose - it's a joy to read. But the story is actually preposterous and it protrays a weird Britain where everyone smokes like a chimney (England is largely a non-smoking country these days) and the story - which starts well - becomes just a chain of ever-more unlikely events. Here's hoping Robinson and Banks get back on track with the next effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting mystery with lots of twists
DCI Alan Banks is tired of life in the Yorkshire constabulary, and is ready to move on. However, something strange happens when his boss asks him to quietly find out what has become of his runaway daughter. It seems that young Emily has started out on a life of adventure, partying and living with a big-time villain. And then, when people start turning up dead, it looks as though Banks has chanced upon a major criminal enterprise. Banks must get to the bottom of this strange and murky case, and what he finds along the way is filled with unpleasant surprises.

This is the eleventh of Peter Robinson's Alan Banks mysteries, and does a good job of upholding the quality of the series. I love mysteries of all sorts, and I must say that I loved this book. I found the storyline to be quite interesting, and I liked the characters. Some authors spend too much time on character development, spending page after page focusing on the detective's home life and family and so forth, but I thought that Mr. Robinson did a great job of balancing everything out.

So, let me just say that I really liked this book, finding it to be an interesting mystery with lots of twists. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crime Writing at its Best
Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of a number of previous novels featuring Chief Inspector Banks. He is the winner of numerous awards in the United States, Britain and Canada, and in 2002 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library. As I also come from Leeds the background to his stories is something that I have experienced first hand and because of this I have a special affection for his books. However they would be first class crime fiction wherever they were based.

Detective Chief Inspector Banks is at a low point in his life. His wife has finally left him to live with another man in London and his career is going nowhere thanks to a high ranking officer becoming more and more frustrated with Banks's methods of solving crime.

Maybe a move to the National Crime Squad would kick start his career? Maybe even another chance with Sandra? Then late one night he is summoned to the house of Chief Constable Riddle, which was strange in itself, as the Chief Constable is the senior officer who has been blighting Banks's career.

The Chief Constable's 16-year-old daughter Emily has run away and for once he is happy to allow Banks to use his unorthodox methods to find the girl and bring her back without any fuss. Will it be as simple as that?

4-0 out of 5 stars Well-Done Police Procedural
Robinson spins a very well-crafted novel about Inspector Banks and the other fascinating characters he encounters in his baliwick of Yorkshire.Robinson has a good eye and sharp ear for the psychological travails his characters face, often providing a nice counterpoint to his nicely honed plot.The magic of the Inspector Banks series is the author's careful pacing of the plot and the characterization which carry you (usually)gently to the end.This is not a fast-paced crime story that you can't set down.It's not like a shot of gin or vodka; but rather, like a fine single-malt Scotch which you'll savor to the end.Robinson has become one of my favorite authors and, for my money, ranks with the best of the authors of his genre. ... Read more

17. The First Cut: A Novel of Suspense
by Peter Robinson
Paperback: 310 Pages (2004-09-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006073535X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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On a balmy June night, Kirsten, a young university student, is strolling home through a silent moonlit park when she is viciously attacked.

When she awakes in the hospital, she has no recollection of that brutal night. But then slowly, painfully, details reveal themselves -- dreams of two figures, one white and one black, hovering over her; snatches of a strange and haunting song; the unfamiliar texture of a rough and deadly hand ...

In another part of the country, Martha Browne arrives in a Yorkshire seaside town, posing as an author doing research for a book. But her research is of a particularly macabre variety. Who is she hunting with such deadly determination? And why?

The First Cut is a vivid and compelling psychological thriller, from the author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Banks series.Amazon.com Review
Martha Browne is a woman with a mission--to exact her revenge on the man known as the Student Slasher, who brutalized her and left her for dead. With a suitcase full of disguises and a partial memory of her attacker, she sets out on an odyssey that takes the reader into her mind and weaves past and present in a tense, intricate narrative that builds in suspense until its shockingly violent denouement.This reissue of one of Robinson's early novels, The Final Cut, which was never published in the U.S., shows thepromise of an author (Close to Home) whose command of his craft was fully realized in his subsequent books; until his next new title is published, this haunting psychological thriller should keep his dedicated fans busy. --Jane Adams ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars First Cut
I did not receiveThe First Cut be Peter Robinson!!!I got another book called First Cut by a woman author.I have forgotten because I gave it away.I have already written about this, perhaps you will reply this time!Thank you Luann Robertson

5-0 out of 5 stars "The First Cut" is one of his best!
I thought this was one of the best books I've read by Peter Robinson.I particularly enjoyed going back and forth between the two characters - the suspense it created.And the surprise it gave me towards the end only added to my enjoyment of the book!

1-0 out of 5 stars Robinson's worst novel
Peter Robinson is an excellent writer, but this psychological "thriller" simply falls flat on its face. The premise is that the only surviving victim of what is clearly meant to be the Yorkshire Slasher, becomes unhinged in her quest for revenge. (That's the "psychological" part.) In the process of tracking down the man who has maimed her, she takes on several identities, which Robinson uses to head the chapters. (More "psychology.") Of course, our heroine - of sorts - makes mistakes. She kills an innocent man, for example, in the quest for her tormentor. But, it all works out in the end, when she finds Mr. Right and exacts her revenge. (The innocent man is conveniently forgotten.)

The problems with the plot, character development, and premise are so rife it makes me wonder if Peterson was drunk when he wrote this book. First of all, injuries to the vagina are common (they are called forceps deliveries). With stitches, they heal quickly and without permanent damage. In fact the scars can't even be detected a few months later. So, Robinson's premise that cuts to the vagina would cause permanent injury are not grounded in fact.

Second, the "thriller" aspect is equally as implausible. The victim remembers through hypnosis what her attacker looks and sounds like. And then, she finds him. Just like that. Thrilling.

As for the "psychology," to understand what a half-crazed, revenge-driven, coed's mind is like, well, I'd look no further than Prozac. There is no psychological "reason" for anything that the main character (Kirsten/Martha/Susan) does.Psychology, like any faith-based ideology, does not require proof, logic or reason. It just IS. And because psychology makes very little sense as a discipline, a "thriller" based it will inevitably lose its coherence.

In sum, this book is dull, implausible and incoherent. Skip it and go on to In a Dry Season, Peterson's best, and only truly good, novel.

2-0 out of 5 stars no psychological thriller
After reading the online reviews of this book, I was all set for a psychological thriller, but it was anything but.It wasn't hard to figure out the ending about halfway through the book.I have read other Peter Robinson books that were much better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Prime Cut
This is an absorbing, intelligent psychological thriller. I appreciate the fact that much of the story unfolds in "real time." It isn't just a cut-to-the-chase type of tale. You sit watching, waiting with a character as she sits alone, looking out the window of a dingy tearoom. This pacing allowed me to be there - to be her.

Which leads to another exceptional quality about this book. The author is a man, yet remarkably, he doesn't stand outside his female characters, appraising them, making them stand as models on parade before the reader. He empathizes with his female characters; he walks with them; he inhabits them. This is unfortunately a truely rare ability among male mystery writers - or, for that matter, male writers in any genre.

The First Cut is the first Robinson mystery I've read. But you can be sure I'll be tracking down all of his other titles.
... Read more

18. Hanging Valley: An Inspector Banks Novel
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038082048X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Visitors have been drawn to the beauty and serenity of the Yorkshire countryside. Some never leave -- like the hiker whose decomposing corpse is discovered in a wooded valley outside the tiny village of Swainshead. It is the second such homicide to plague the region in recent years, and it is pulling investigating Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks into a dangerous mire of dark pasts, local power, and private shames. Because a shocking truth and a cold-blooded killer are waiting there ... and Banks is determined to walk into the valley of death to expose them both.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE HANGING VALLEY
Peter Robinson weaves the most interesting, complex stories while containing the "thriller" aspect to a minimum. His books are a fast read, just because you can't wait to see where it leads. CI Alan Banks is a wonderful character; in fact, all of Robinsons's characters are well constructed and you find yourself wondering what they wonder and feeling the same angst or urgency with which they pursue the answers. The Hanging Valley is woven around past and present situations which add to the flavor of the story. The mystery is not revealed until late enough in the book to keep you guessing......and weighing all the options. If you are a true mystery lover, you will love "The Hanging Valley" and long to have all the collection of Robinson's books. One of the very best!

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the earlier Alan Banks novels...still quite worth your while
I've read the two most recent books in this series and found this one to be the earliestthat was available at my library.Although I missed the later members of the good inspector's investigative team, this is still a well told story. I especially enjoyed how the character of Katie Greenock, an unhappily married woman who was raised by a very strict and putitanly religioous grandmother is portrayed, and she does become a very important part of the puzzle with the information she's withholding.The second part of the book deals with Alan Banks' trip to Canada searching for a missing woman who also holds very important information pertaining to the recent murder being investigated and also to an earlier unsolved slaying which might be connected.Robinson keeps this trip from slowing things down by interspersing Banks' Canadian investigation with events going on in the English village.With only a small field of suspects, the revelation of the murderer isn't a great surprise.That of couse is a disappointment.Also, the ending is quite abrupt and shocking, especially if one hasn't been payng close attention to the stability or lack thereoftwo principle characters.Not the best that I've read but still quite worth your reading if you enjoy other books in the series.

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid entry in this series
This is the fourth Inspector Banks mystery, and I'm really getting to like Banks and his modus operandi.In this book a new death in a remote area in the fells around Swainshead is linked to a murder that occurred five years ago.This earlier mystery was never solved and Banks keeps finding links as he investigates the new one.It takes him over the sea to Toronto Canada in order to get more information on his small list of suspects.I really do enjoy this series, and Banks and his Sergeant (Hatcheley) make a nice crime fighting duo.Banks, the chain-smoking, music-loving Inspector, is such an ordinary guy that he seems very real.

4-0 out of 5 stars "He wasn't the kind of guy who gets himself killed"
Peter Robinson has already captured a spot among my favorite mystery authors with this entertaining series. He has done this by a combination of well-crafted plots, interesting and complex characters, wonderful settings for the stories, and overall, a prose that does not bore, not even for a second. Among the characters, the main protagonist, Chief Inspector Alan Banks, is one to cherish. His unimposing physique and mild temperament are not even remotely and obstacle to bringing the culprits to justice, and the gets the job done efficiently and by applying impeccable logic.

The case in this book has to do with the murder of an out-of-towner in the fells near Swainshead, a small village in the Swainsdale. The body has been viciously battered and its identification is not an easy process, especially since it has remained undiscovered for a couple of weeks. Banks is called in to investigate, and in the process he comes across a suspicious set of characters, a possible relationship to an unresolved murder in the past, and a connection that leads him to travel to a foreign land in search for answers.

This novel may not be Robinson's best, but it is definitely a very good mystery. The ability the author usually displays in depicting the characters and in creating engaging interactions among them is present as usual. The main area in which I found this installment lacking was in the development of the personal story of Inspector Banks. One of the things that I enjoy when reading mystery series is to see how the main character evolves in his / her personality, family relationships, etc. Sadly, this was missing in this case.

The only other criticism I have for this book is that even though the story is resolved, it felt a little bit rushed towards the end. It seemed to me as if we got the bare minimum needed to complete the story, but not much else. This is a little disappointing, especially from an author that takes good care in describing the culture, settings and characters so thoroughly and proficiently. Nevertheless, I still think that this is a book worth reading, especially if you have been following this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars The FourthInspector Banks Mystery

Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of a number of previous novels featuring Inspector Banks. He is the winner of numerous awards in the United States, Britain and Canada, and in 2002 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library. As I also come from Leeds the background to his stories is something that I have experienced first hand and because of this I have a special affection for his books. However they would be first class crime fiction wherever they were based.

Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called to a murder scene that is gruesome even to him. Over the years hismind has become conditioned to the dreadful things that one or more human beings can inflict on their fellow man, but the discovery of a faceless corpse in a quiet, seldom visited valley below the village of Swainshead sickens even him.

On his arrival he finds that no one is willing to talk and his frustration only grows when the identity of the body is finally revealed. It seems that the body may be connected to an unsolved murder that took place in the same area over five years ago. Among the suspects are the wealthiest and most powerful family in Swainsdale, the Collier brothers and when they start to use their influence to hamper the investigation the Inspector finds himself in a race against time. ... Read more

19. The Eastvale Ladies' Poker Circle
by Peter Robinson
Kindle Edition: 30 Pages (2009-09-23)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002Q1YEM6
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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A short story from THE PRICE OF LOVE AND OTHER STORIES. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Kindle version contains only 1 story
The Kindle version which is very cheap at $1.59 contains only the title story. Although the story is well worth the price I found the deal deceptive and will now have to buy the book to read the rest. An email to Amazon did not result in an explanation. ... Read more

20. A Necessary End
by Peter Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (1993-08-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380719460
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A peaceful demonstration in the normally quiet town of Eastvale ended with fifty arrests -- and the brutal stabbing death of a young constable. But Chief Inspector Alan Banks fears there is worse violence in the offing. For CID Superintendent Richard "Dirty Dick" Burgess has arrived from London to take charge of the investigation, fueled by professional outrage and volatile, long-simmering hatreds.

Almost immediately, Burgess descends with vengeful fury upon the members of a sixties-style commune -- while Banks sifts through the rich Yorkshire soil around him, turning over the earthy, unsettling secrets of seemingly placid local lives. Crossing "Dirty Dick" could cost the Chief Inspector his career. But the killing of a flawed Eastvale policeman is not the only murder that needs to be solved here. And if Banks doesn't unmask the true assassin, his superior's misguided obsession might well result in further bloodshed.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars The characters carry this excellant mystery
This is very much one of the early Alan Banks procedurals and well worth finding and reading. Robinson was still a "new talent" in the genre and this study of 60's type hippies now more mature at the end of the 80's is a definite keeper.One might think too much important information is withheld until the last chapter, but careful reading throughout the book reveals sufficient foreshadowing to provide clues.Most important are the depictions of the characters involved. The obnoxious inspector "Dirty [...]" Burgess is the most colorful character, but each of the residents of the "Maggie's Farm" commune is cardfuly drawn and Robinson does give subtle clues in these depictions.You can't go wrong picking out an Alan Banks mystery.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, solid procedural!
The Inspector Banks series is a good one, and this third in the series is as good as the other two that I have read.In this book a police constable is killed in an anti-nuclear demonstration in Banks' town of Eastvale.Was the murder just a result of hot tempers in the heat of the moment, or was there something more planned and more sinister here?Banks needs to find out, but before he can do much investigating an old acquaintance from the London PD is sent to help.Banks knows that Dirty Dick lives up to his name, and finds that he has to continue investigating on his own in order to get to the real reason behind the killing.Robinson is an excellent writer whose characters are real and three-dimensional.I love Inspector Banks, and can't wait to continue to read this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Robinson Winner
This book, though one of Robinson's early works, succeeds nicely.In sleuthing the murder of a policeman at an anti-nuke rally, the author probes the venalities of both the cops and the protestor community.This is a typical Robinson procedural, leavened nicely by the presence of a Scotland Yard hotshot sent up to Yorkshire to solve the crime.Superintendent Burgess becomes one of Robinson's more interesting characters and the interplay between this freewheeler and the more restrained Chief Inspector Banks adds nicely to the book.In this book, it's the well-drawn characters which win the day, not the plot which is fairly mundane.All in all, in this and all his books, Peter Robinson distinguishes himself as one of the best police procedural writers out there.This is a very enjoyable read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another twisty mystery for Alan Banks
This is one of the earlier Alan Banks books, in which the music-loving police inspector's marriage is still going well, but as usual, the focus is on the case: the murder of another policeman who had been "keeping the peace"--but actually stirring up violence--at an anti-nuke demonstration. Even northern Yorkshire has its hippie types, and the inspector does his usual smart and subtle work despite the usual evasions and lies and his own coworkers (particularly Dirty Dick, a heavy-handed detective from London). A good read with no easy answers and a satisfying finish.

5-0 out of 5 stars Third Book in What Turns Out to be a Wonderful Series

Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of a number of previous novels featuring Inspector Banks. He is the winner of numerous awards in the United States, Britain and Canada, and in 2002 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library. As I also come from Leeds the background to his stories is something that I have experienced first hand and because of this I have a special affection for his books. However they would be first class crime fiction wherever they were based.

Ironically as usually happens with anti nuclear demonstrations and marches for peace etc. violence breaks out at a demonstration in Eastvale and ends with serious consequences, a police office is stabbed to death. Because of the nature of the crime and where it took place there are literally over a hundred initial suspects, but then these are narrowed down to the people who live at a placecalled "Maggie's Farm" an isolated house high up in the dale.

Among the suspects is a social worker, Dennis Osmond who is involved with Jenny Fuller, a friend of Inspector Banks. If this isn't a large enough problem for Banks he finds out than an old enemy of his, Detective Superintendent Burgess is to head the investigation. Finally, warned off the case the only way that Banks can achieve any respectability and salvage his career is by finding the killer before Burgess does . . .
... Read more

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