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A perfect little thriller
on 11 March 2004
"A dedicated man" is the second of the Inspector Banks novels by Peter Robinson.
The book follows the investigation into the murder of Harry Steadman, an historian, who apparently had no enemies.
I am not usually a fan of thrillers of less than 300 pages as they are often either rushed or lacking in detail. The same cannot be said for this excellent book. The pacing is perfect, and the plot twists back and forth as the investigation of the crime centres on five people who had known Harry for some time. The author skillfully leads you round the houses and from one suspect to the next until pulling the answers out at the end like a rabbit from a magician's hat.
In my opinion, what sets Peter Robinson above the bulk of thriller writers is the believability of his characters. Robinson does not populate his books with larger-than-life characters, but rather with ordinary people, with ordinary jobs and ordinary lives, who commit crimes for motives which can be understood and even empathised with. In this respect, Peter Robinson is rivaled only by Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series.
Another excellent aspect of Robinson's writing is his description of the area in which his books are set. He vividly conjures mental images of the Yorkshire dales which even those who haven't seen "All creatures great and small" or visited the area would be able to envisage. Once again, comparison's to Rankin's descriptions of Edinburgh and Glasgow are inevitable.
This book carries on where the excellent "Gallows view" left off, and left me itching to read the third book in the series. I am at a total loss to find any areas which could have been improved.
For fans of great detective fiction, this book and it's predecessor are a must-read.