A searing suspense from award-winning author Peter Robinson - an insightful and haunting novel of past crimes and present evil.
-- St. Louis Post Dispatch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'In a dry season' is probably the most involving novel I have read since 'Black Dog' by Stephen Booth. The characterisation totally enchanting and the plot just sucks you in, but at all times there is this subtle menace, just shimmering on the surface, like the petroleum rainbow on a greasy puddle.
This is my first Inspector Alan Banks novel, and will not be my last, as I have just picked up 'COLD IS THE GRAVE' and then I must read 'AFTERMATH', so please forgive me if some of the back-story on Banks is somewhat fuzzy. Alan Banks is a wonderful character, middle aged angst and cynicism, and just enough lack of respect for authority that makes a great series character. Separated, starting a new life with a real tosspot of a boss ACC Jimmy Riddle, Alan Banks is given a blind-alley of a case, the investigation of a skeleton found in a drained reservoir. The skeleton dates from WW2, and an involving case (partially told in first person by one of the protagonists).
From here the story is woven like a fabric carpet, between Banks's life and the investigation vis-a-vis the story of the Skeleton from the past.
Wonderful, Wonderful and totally bewitching, with an ending that just zaps you totally. I read this book slowly firstly as I was/am still suffering from this head-cold, but also to savour Robinson's mastery of the English language. I had figured all the possible endings, and was not surprised at the close, but more amazed at how he pulled it off so deftly.
The real mystery is how I had not discovered Inspector Banks before !
Well done Mr Robinson...
I can not recommend this book highly enough, world-class and extremely moving with something to say about the human condition and relationships.
The outlay of the book is a masterpiece, mixing Banks's life and the ongoing investigation with the narrative of a person, long unknown to the reader. The story she tells is one of growing up, brought up a shy, almost asexual person, she slowly awakens to adulthood under the influence of the beautiful, secretive young woman who suddenly just appears in the village and soon becomes the object of so much desire and hatred, the person around which the lives of her new family and their friends seem to revolve.
The end of the story is long left to the reader's own thoughts and suspicions and although I wasn't too surprised by the solution, it was a plausible and brilliantly mastered plot.
The somewhat action-based ending was unnecessary, but didn't spoil the book from being one of the best, if not "The Best" crime story I have ever read.
To be fair to the author, I did not require an in-depth knowledge of his main character to enjoy reading this book. It is so well contructed that it is merely about him, rather than reliant on him. This is due in no small part to the fact that the book neatly splits itself in three, so that we follow seperate threads towards a common enlightenment. I have to admit that this was done with a delightfully light touch. I dread having an author show me how clever they are being with their linking of past stories to the present. With this case it is necessary to learn about the past, but if we learnt all about it in one go it would spoil the suspense in the present, so it is drip fed to us throughout the book, almost as an aside, despite the fact that it is integral.
I thoroughly recommend this to fans of Colin Dexter as there are a lot of similarities in their style of writing. The lead character is sufficiently colourful to keep you interested in the more mundane passages, but ultimately this is a good old fashioned murder mystery. I liken it to "The Wench Is Dead" but found it didn't get as tied to the past as Mr Dexter did. There is also the added bonus that the lead character actually has a sex life, and a Son in a rock band.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions