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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumpingly Magnificent
Oh how I waited for this new book to come out and I wasn't disappointed. Peter Robinson is, quite simply, brilliant. I cannot get enough of Alan and his complicated relationship with Annie. The link with the other book earlier in the series had left me in awe of how much I did remember, and my own visualisation of the character, albeit its a fair few years since I read...
Published on 23 Aug 2007 by Yorkshire Rose

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Entirely Satisfying
After no less than 17 dramatic murder investigations, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks might be forgiven for thinking that his sleepy little police department in the north east of England isn't all that sleepy at all!

But nevertheless, British/Canadian author Peter Robinson keeps churning out Inspector Banks mysteries and our aging detective dutifully plods...
Published on 20 Jan 2008 by Roland Hulme


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Entirely Satisfying, 20 Jan 2008
This review is from: Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery (Hardcover)
After no less than 17 dramatic murder investigations, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks might be forgiven for thinking that his sleepy little police department in the north east of England isn't all that sleepy at all!

But nevertheless, British/Canadian author Peter Robinson keeps churning out Inspector Banks mysteries and our aging detective dutifully plods through official police procedure to solve them. The most recent is recounted in Robinson's latest paperback, Friend of the Devil.

I was given an advance reading copy of this novel by Barnes and Noble, so I entered into the world of Detective Chief Inspector Banks without reference to any of his previous sixteen adventures. Fortunately, Robinson has a quick and engaging writing style and he hooks even the most unwitting reader (i.e. me) by presenting not just one, but two grisly murders within the first few pages.

There's a nineteen year old teenager who got herself raped and strangled in 'the Maze' of twisting passages in an old Yorkshire market town. Then there's a quadriplegic woman who was wheeled out of her care home onto a deserted cliff side and had her throat sliced open with a razor. Gory stuff - and Robinson doesn't skimp on the details.

Detective Banks tackles the murdered girl, while his old lover Annie Cabbot investigates the corpse in the wheelchair. Cue 372 pages of perfectly researched police procedure and angst-ridden, alcohol fueled character development.

I should lay my cards on the table. Police drama isn't really my thing. I'm no great fan of CSI and I only watch Law & Order for the courtroom bits. But Peter Robinson presents a clearly well-researched story which perfectly illustrates what a tedious, thankless task police investigation really is.

Equally tedious are the less successful attempts at characterization. Inspector Banks is a blank slate - the pages Robinson could have used to flesh out his character are instead wasted on a practically verbatim track-listing from his iPod and a menu of his preferred Tesco's and Salisbury's supermarket meals. After finishing the book, I felt like I'd know what to cook for dinner and put on the stereo if Inspector Banks ever came round for supper - but I was still no closer to understanding what made the man tick.

The murder plot is handled better. The poor girl's case is wrapped up neatly, giving us a convincing red herring to lead us astray, but finally providing a murderer who's identity is satisfying, yet unexpected.

The second murder - the real crux of the book - isn't quite as convincing. The 'solution' to that murder is discovered less than half-way through the book's 372 page length. However, the vital 'who' is only discovered within the last two pages and the denouement is both unsatisfactory and trite. The key to a satisfying murder-mystery is to have had to opportunity to uncover the murderer yourself through consideration of the clues. Instead, Robinson hands us the 'solution' far too early and picks the identity of the final villain seemingly at random from a selection of barely-mentioned supporting characters.

Friend of the Devil is not a bad book by any means - Peter Robinson is a fluent and effective writer and his knowledge of police-procedure is top-notch. However, this is clearly a book for fans of the series and first-time readers would do best to start slightly earlier in the 'Inspector Banks Canon.'
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumpingly Magnificent, 23 Aug 2007
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This review is from: Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery (Hardcover)
Oh how I waited for this new book to come out and I wasn't disappointed. Peter Robinson is, quite simply, brilliant. I cannot get enough of Alan and his complicated relationship with Annie. The link with the other book earlier in the series had left me in awe of how much I did remember, and my own visualisation of the character, albeit its a fair few years since I read it. The description of Annie walking onto the beach was so brilliantly written I felt I was actually there and could hear the sea. How my hero, Alan Banks, has not been not made into a television series and hence the best detective on television, I will never know. Peter Robinson has never once disappointed me with any of the previous 16 books in this series. I now have to be patient until he writes the next one and, boy, I cannot wait!!!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chief Inspector Banks Mystery, 23 Aug 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery (Hardcover)
Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of thirteen 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. This book is the latest in the Chief Inspector Banks novels.

On a cliff overlooking the North Sea, a woman in a wheelchair stares with unseeing eyes out at the waves. looking at something she will never see again because she is dead. She has been murdered. Miles away in a storeroom in Eastvale, Yorkshire, a young woman lies still on a heap of scraps of leather. She has also been murdered. The bodies of the two women are discovered at about the same time that DI Annie Cabbot, on secondment to the Eastern Area force, wakes up with a severe hangover in the bed of a young man she barely recognizes . . .

Peter Robinson weaves another intricate plot, as only he can. If I am not mistaken this is number 17 in the Chief Inspector Banks series and they have all been excellent reading. The author's writing style makes for easy reading and his characters, particularly his lead character are well established and almost seem like old friends.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars: Murders and Memory, a British detective suspense novel, 14 Mar 2008
By 
D. Merrimon Crawford (Colorado) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Best enjoyed in the context of his earlier work AFTERMATH, Peter Robinson's FRIEND OF THE DEVIL is a stunning addition to his British police detective series. Not only does the reader glimpse more of the unfolding dynamics between the main characters, but also, the case hearkens back to the past as new murders challenge both the detectives and the reader to look at the past through a different perspective.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot investigate a series of chilling murders. Cabbot investigates a brutal and chilling murder of a parapalegic woman in a wheelchair while Banks investigates the brutal murder and rape of a woman found in The Maze. Although these crimes seem unrelated, the murders provoke both Banks and Cabbot to look into their own histories to past crimes that have touched their lives. The eerie murder of the mysterious woman in the wheelchair haunts the imagination as the detectives ponder the thoughts a woman unable to defend herself or even voice a protest in her last moments. The first layer of clues unraveled is only one layer to this finely constructed suspenseful mystery. When Banks' investigation solves the mystery of one crime detail of the rape and murder, more mysteries emerge. Will the security cameras around the Maze aid or complicate this investigation? Each clue, each new development twists and turns the investigation, keeping the reader in suspense until the final dramatic scene.

FRIEND OF THE DEVIL explores the ambiguity in the relationship between Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot. Peter Robinson's unflinching and realistic look into the conflicts in their personal lives add a depth to the characterization as their past chafes and recalls earlier moments and the character's personal weaknesses. In FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, relationships aren't easy or simplistic and, to the reader's delight, neither is the path to catching the perpetrators of these crimes. Precise, sometimes stark descriptive details heighten the terror of these crimes all the way to the shocking climatic end.

Chilling, eerie and full of surprises, Peter Robinson's FRIEND OF THE DEVIL gradually builds up a fascinating look into memory, interweaving it into the very thematic structure. Memory underpins this mystery, interwoven within the very core as reminiscences from a former case haunt Banks. Past events present obstacles to personal relationships. Even in the murders themselves, Banks and Cabbot must delve into the memories of witnesses. Quite simply, Peter Robinson's kaleidoscope into memory makes FRIEND OF THE DEVIL a good choice for readers who might crave a little extra to ponder in addition to riveting suspense.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read but not Complex, 9 Sep 2014
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This is one of the later books featuring Inspector Banks of the Eastvale CID. A girl is murdered on a saturday night in the town centre. A woman has her throat slit in Whitby. Is there a connection?
This is one of the later books in the series which refers back to one of the earlier ones. It is not essential to have read the earlier book though if you haven't, I suspect you may wish to having read this one.
I like the Inspector Banks series of books. They are well written with a good plot but are not as complex as other crime books. Consequently, I consider these to be a slightly light detective novel. The author is not given to detailed descriptions of the crime scenes and nor are these deep, psychological thrillers. The plot is good though not too complex with lots of twists. Don't get me wrong, I like a good psychological thriller but sometimes a slightly less complex book is called for & this fits the bill.
Banks is, in some ways, a fairly typical fictional detective. His personal life is a mess and he doesn't always get on well with his senior officers. He also drives a nice car & likes classical music! It is the supporting cast which I like particularly. Winsome is a six foot black woman with a slight chip on her shoulder who causes a stir wherever she goes. Annie Cabot is an emotional wreck in her personal life but a detective to be reckoned with.
The plot is not overly complex nor totally unpredictable. However it is well structured and well written. It all comes together very satisfactorily at the end. There are poignant moments as well as amusing ones.
I have read a great many Inspector Banks books which I have enjoyed very much. This is as good a book as the others - entertaining and a good read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another strong novel in the Banks series, 15 Sep 2008
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
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That this, the 17th novel in the Inspector Banks series, feels fresh and the characters are still developing, is testament to Peter Robinson's considerable skill as a writer. His plots are dark and often harrowing, as is the case here, with two seemingly disparate cases; Banks is focussed on the rape and murder of a young student in a secluded alleyway in Eastvale, while DI Cabbot is seconded to Eastern Division and is investigating the violent death of a quadriplegic. Inevitably, both cases dovetail, but convincingly so, and there's an interesting tie-in with Robinson's standalone book 'Caedmon's Song' - one piece of advice, if you haven't read 'Caedmon's Song', do so before reading this. It'll make your experience of this novel much richer.

As the cases come together, they get more harrowing and the violence continues, leading up to a bloody, enthralling climax. The principal characters, Banks and Cabbot, are as interesting as ever; seemingly having drifted apart somewhat, they both have personal adventures of their own, but cannot cut themselves off from each other completely. There are also many other great characters, and Robinson's dialogue, scene setting and understanding of common prejudices and cultural habits make for a great read. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top Drawer Crime Fiction, 23 Jan 2008
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friend of the Devil (Hardcover)
Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of thirteen 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. This book is the latest in the Chief Inspector Banks novels.

On a cliff overlooking the North Sea, a woman in a wheelchair stares with unseeing eyes out at the waves. looking at something she will never see again because she is dead. She has been murdered. Miles away in a storeroom in Eastvale, Yorkshire, a young woman lies still on a heap of scraps of leather. She has also been murdered. The bodies of the two women are discovered at about the same time that DI Annie Cabbot, on secondment to the Eastern Area force, wakes up with a severe hangover in the bed of a young man she barely recognizes . . .

Peter Robinson weaves another intricate plot, as only he can. If I am not mistaken this is number 17 in the Chief Inspector Banks series and they have all been excellent reading. The author's writing style makes for easy reading and his characters, particularly his lead character are well established and almost seem like old friends.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Inspector Banks novel till now!, 11 Aug 2007
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This review is from: Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery (Hardcover)
Aah, to be able to write this well. To make readers lose themselves in a book even before the story has started properly, and in some passages manage to even make a crime story almost poetic.

Of course, as a huge fan of Peter Robinson I'm well acquainted with Chief Inspector Alan Banks, DI Annie Cabbot, the rest of the Eastvale police force and the goings on in a small Yorkshire village.
But even to first time readers of Robinson, "Friend of the Devil" will prove this author's magic, his unique talent as one of, if not THE best British crime writer today.

The Inspector Banks novels have two main story lines. The solving of one - or more - crimes, and bits and pieces from Bank's private life. Not the least his personal relationship with Annie, with whom he is still working on a regular basis. There is however much emotional baggage between the two and obvious that their personal story is far from over.

In "Friend of the Devil" two nasty murders are discovered on the same Sunday morning. Banks and Annie are working on one case each. First separately, until Annie is reaching a breakthrough which brings her case in a new and shocking direction - a direction that involves Banks.

It soon becomes clear that there are two killers among their midst, ready to strike again at any moment.

I have noticed another reviewer who feels that Annie's personal life is taking up too much space in the book. I understand this objection and do in fact tend to agree. However, being a woman, I must admit that Annie's doings are not without interest, and I am pretty sure that male and female readers may be reacting differently to the part Annie's love life is playing in the book.

Apart from this, I would hope - and believe - that most readers will find "Friend of the Devil" to be Peter Robinson's finest work until now.

With Chief Inspector Banks, Peter Robinson has created a very human and likeable hero, a soft-hearted man in spite of his profession. Bank's choice of literature, music and food, his relationship with his children, his struggle with the aftermath of his marriage - and the complicated feelings for Annie - all add to the picture of an interesting, attractive and complete hero one does not easily tire of.

As all the books in the Inspector Banks series, "The Friend of the Devil" is a book of contrasts. The harsh realism of brutal crimes, the investigators' necessary blocking of feelings in order to fulfill what has to be done, and the humanity behind it all. Whether the pain of the victims' relatives or the personal reaction of police and investigators.

Don't miss neither this nor Robinson's other books. Simply brilliant!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's About Plot, 21 Jun 2008
By 
J. MCATEER (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've read most of the Inspector Banks series and enjoyed them. What you've got to understand about Peter Robinson is that he is an expert in plot. I don't read his books expecting brilliant characterisation or dazzling dialogue. All of us who read his books know that his characters are pretty flat and the dialogue is, at times, embarrassingly bad. However, you cannot deny that the guy can write a great mystery: they usually begin with a murder and then he gradually gives the reader a little bit more information in each chapter; not too much at once so that the reader keeps turning the pages in search of the next clue, almost as if you are trying to solve the crime before Banks does. 'Friend of the Devil' is, therefore, in keeping with Peter Robinson's established format: he writes a perfectly plotted crime thriller.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yorkshire version of Rebus, 26 Aug 2009
By 
Comical Engineer "comicaleng" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Peter Robinson has been developing the character of the police personnel over the previous novels and this is a direct follow on. If I have a criticism, it's that the main character is rather like a Yorkshire version of Rebus (likes his music, opera in this case, likes his drink, relationship problems).

That said, this is a reasonably enjoyable book and a cut above typical airport fodder. The story line is interesting without being rivetting and although I would not describe it as un-put-downable, it's a good read.

Although this is, I think, the 5th book in the series, it can be read in isolation without any problems.
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Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery
Friend of the Devil: The 17th DCI Banks Mystery by Peter Robinson (Hardcover - 9 Aug 2007)
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