On an isolated cliff the body of a quadriplegic woman is found sitting in a wheelchair with her throat slit. Miles away in Eastvale, 19-year-old Hayley Daniels is found raped and murdered in a medieval warren of alleys called the Maze. Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot, on secondment to the Eastern Area force, tries to determine while anyone would want to murder a quadriplegic woman who hasn’t spoken in years. In Eastvale, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is faced with his own puzzling mystery. The closed-circuit cameras which focus on the entrances to the Maze show that no one followed Hayley into its shadowy recesses. When Cabbot uncovers the true identity of her murder victim, she’s suddenly pointed back to Eastvale and an old case involving her ex-lover Banks. Are they chasing the same killer or merely shadows?
Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks novels are multi-layered masterpieces and he doesn’t disappoint in Friend of the Devil, Banks' 17th outing. As always, the action builds at a slow yet steady pace, captivating readers from the first page.
What elevates Robinson’s books beyond the standard police procedural is how he develops his characters and, that the development isn’t limited to his hero. Banks and his team have grown over the years and readers have enjoyed that development. Readers have connected with the humanity of this team. Cabbot and Bank’s interaction feels real, fraught with real awkwardness and unspoken, complicated emotion. Detective Constable Winsome’s struggles as a woman on the force, politically incorrect colleagues and as a junior member within Banks’ team will strike a cord with many working women. In many ways Winsome represents the reader in within the team, providing an idealistic view of how police and justice should operate.
Fans of Robinson’s mysteries will find their clue to Banks’ old case in the title Friend of the Devil. For those new to his work, this latest offering is the perfect place to start - it is never too late to discover Banks’ world of horror, obsession and human emotion.
Read the review at Armchair Interviews.
Publisher: William Morrow
US Publication Date: February 26, 2008
Canadian Publication Date: September 11, 2007
UK Publication Date: August 9, 2007
tags: books book reviews Peter Robinson mystery