Friend of the Devil: DCI Banks 17 Hardcover – 9 Aug 2007
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Whatever the profession (from medicine to cuisine), it's always good to sit back and relax, knowing that you're in the hands of a consummate professional. So it is with crime fiction, and Peter Robinson is one of the most reliable names around. He has written 17 books in his much-acclaimed Inspector Bank series (Friend of the Devil is the 17th), and his writing has the confidence that is commensurate with the best in the field.
DI Annie Cabbot is on loan to another area (and is not working with her colleague, Chief Inspector Alan Banks), and finds herself saddled with a difficult case. A womans body is found in a wheelchair by the sea. Her throat has been ripped open. At the same time, a teenage girl has been raped and murdered after an alcohol-fuelled night out. DCI Banks is dealing with another case. The two detectives experience very dissimilar results: Banks is faced with a multiplicity of suspects, while Annie Cabbot makes absolutely no progress in her case. Those familiar with detective fiction won't be surprised to learn that the various cases turn out to be interrelated, and when the duo begin to make considerable inroads into the mysteries, they find that aspects of their own pasts are coming back to haunt them. And a burning question becomes ever more pertinent: just how many killers are involved in these cases?
We may be used to relationships between male and female detectives that alternate between the fractious and the reluctantly affectionate, but Peter Robinson has always been able to steer a very confident route down this particular avenue, always firmly keeping cliché at bay. But (as always with this author), the plots the thing to catch the attention of the reader, and Friend of the Devil works out a labyrinthine narrative with a particularly pleasing attention to detail. --Barry Forshaw
Watch for those twists - they'll get you every time (Ian Rankin)
Robinson once again puts his skills to work in a police procedural that grips like pliers (Independent on Sunday)
Classic Robinson: a labyrinthine plot merged with deft characterisation (Observer)
Peter Robinson is good at producing ingenious mysteries, and this one does not disappoint (Daily Telegraph)
Readers will be on the edge of their seats (Publishers Weekly)
Watch for those twists theyll get you every time (Ian Rankin)
' Brit cop-job books don't come much better than Peter Robinson's . . . There's none of that frantic, rat-race paced frenzy that the Yanks employ that leave you needing a lie down after half a dozen pages. This is relax-on-the-sofa stuff, layered and engrossing with just the right balance of thrill, chill and human spillage to keep the reader honest . . . Bloody marvelous' (Daily Sport)
'Whatever the profession (from medicine to cuisine), it's always good to sit back and relax, knowing that you're in the hands of a consummate professional. So it is with crime fiction, and Peter Robinson is one of the most reliable names around. He has written 17 books in his much-acclaimed Inspector Bank series, and his writing has the confidence that is commensurate with the best in the field' (Barry Forshaw, Crime Time,)
Praise for Piece of My Heart (:)
'Brilliantly evokes the time of British psychedelia ... as well as being a terrific contemporary crime novel.' (Independent on Sunday)
'Robinson makes his way through the parallel stories with masterful confidence. His prose is both textured and easygoing, the mark of a writer who knows his territory. And he continues to assemble casts of characters that stick in the reader's head.' (Toronto Star)
'Robinson is good at producing ingenious mysteries and this one doesn't disappoint.' (Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph)
'Peter Robinson has for too long, and unfairly, been in the shadow of Ian Rankin; perhaps PIECE OF MY HEART, the latest in the Chief Inspector Banks series, will give him the status he deserves, near, perhaps even at the top of, the British crime writers' league . . . PIECE OF MY HEART brilliantly interweaves past and present, providing two strands of tension for the price of one, and further enhancing Alan Banks's reputation as one of crime fiction's most appealing cops.' (Marcel Berlins, The Times)
'Two riveting, equally interesting crime novels in one' (Telegraph)
'First-time readers will find FRIEND OF THE DEVIL an entirely satisfactory free-standing detective story,comprehensible on its own terms. Devotees will be in bliss, for it will remind them of many adventures of the past, settle some old scores in surprising ways, and hold out the promise of more twists and turns to come . . . absorbing mystery . . . Robinson has always been notably successful with women characters, creating distinctive mental lives for even the least and most transient of them, as he continues to do here.' (Times Literary Supplement)
'Readers will be on the edge of their seats as the two explore not only the depths of human depravity but also their own murky relationship' (Publishers Weekly)
'Robinson once again puts his skills to work in a police procedural that grips like pliers.' (Independent on Sunday)
'The 17th Chief Inspector Banks outing is classic Robinson: a labyrinthine plot merged with deft characterisation.' (Observer)
Yet the real star could be the fictional police officer Alan Banks, the cornerstone of Richmond-based author Peter Robinsons murder mysteries set in Yorkshire . . . Now that Ian Rankin has been forced to pension off the ubiquitous John Rebus, I see Banks becoming literatures favourite rogue detective. (Yorkshire Post)
Top customer reviews
Possible spoiler: I am not quite sure where Annie's fling with a much younger man who almost became a stalker fitted in though. I thought maybe this situation would develop into a stalking crime and somehow be woven into the overall story, maybe it will reemerge in a future episode - we will see.
Anyway I absolutely enjoyed this novel and picked up the clues in each chapter as the mystery unraveled and tried to solve the crimes along with the protagonists. Recommended.
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.
I'll not be in a rush to read more.
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