Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
209
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 October 2004
Playing with Fire is that rare beast; a Peter Robinson novel that hasn't had its titled bashed about for North American markets, which is rather refreshing. And, of course, considering that title, it is full of fire, destruction, conflagration (physical and emotional) as well a new burning power in the writing itself too, which makes the book possibly Robinson's strongest, most cunning plotted mystery yet, if perhaps not the most "meaningful" or innovative.
It begins, of course, with flame. In the wee hours of a cold January morning (the chill of the climate and atmosphere is a brilliantly effective contrast to the searing fires of the plot) two narrow-boats are found burning on a lonely stretch of a Yorkshire canal. When the fire-fighters have done their work, the investigators move in, and two dead bodies are found in the remains, blackened and burnt. And, of course, in the best traditions of the murder-mystery, traces of accelerant are found.
However, which was the intended victim? Tina, the drugged out young girl living with her boyfriend on one boat, or Tom, the lonely, seemingly reclusive artist who lived on the other? As Robinson's well-seasoned protagonist Chief Inspector Banks sets the investigations in motion, the threads tangle and the case proves to be every bit as complex as it promised at the start. And this particular twisted firestarter is not done yet...
Peter Robinson is remarkable; with every single book for about 6 years, he has been continuing to expand his series, smashing down boundaries, reaching new heights with every single book. While once his reflective Inspector Banks novels were simply nice little procedurals to while away an evening, lately they have become something far more remarkable, and he has moved into the front rank of male crime writers, alongside Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly in writing moving, artful crime novels that shed light on all aspects of human experience. There are so many things to recommend him, not least his evocation of landscape and ability to probe the very human depths of every single characters instinctive motivations. He plots as if he were born to the genre, and his protagonist Banks is a true marvel. Less of a tough-as-nails guy than Bosch or Rebus, Banks is thoughtful, moral, reflective and, dare I say it, not startlingly interesting on the surface (but, of course, therein lies his shining humanity) and in Playing with Fire there are enough personal trials for him to deal with to satisfy any connoisseur of fascinating protagonists. The other human aspects of this book are incredibly well-done; moving and expansive, Robinson reaches out to all his characters, taking them gently by the hand and leading them to the reader, in sometimes shocking ways.
The cracking, multi-faced plot is in itself engaging and clever, with surprises and shifts in tone and pitch that elevate it far above the average, the only thing that lets this novel down is it's slightly annoying solution - though this may well just be down to personal taste. Otherwise, this is a 14th excellent Banks novel from Peter Robinson.
0Comment| 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 February 2004
In this 14th book of the consistently high quality Inspector Banks series, a case of arson drags Banks and his team out in the middle of the night. It’s soon apparent that among the burning wreckage lie two bodies, so they launch their inquiry as a possible double murder. Then, the pace accelerates when a second arson attack takes place less than 10 miles from the first.
Once again, the very engaging Banks is backed up by his second in command D.I. Annie Cabbot creating a delightful partnership. The characters keep growing and getting more interesting, giving an extra dimension to each successive book. As far as police procedurals go this was another strong addition to an already excellent series. I’ve found reading the Inspector Banks series always captivating and this one was no less so. I found myself sitting up far into the night to finish it.
0Comment| 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 18 May 2004
This, the 14th novel in Robinson's Inspector Banks series, is a super read. The prose is typically well constructed and flows easily, with clear, evocative descriptions of people and places. The story is set, as usual, near Eastvale in Yorkshire, with DCI Banks, DI Cabbott and team investigating a series of arson attacks. We learn lots about the different characters and suspects - variously feeling sorry for, irritated by and concerned about them. Issues of family relationships, drug abuse, social class and deceit are all explored. As ever, the reader feels closely connected to Banks - though his personal life is rather more thoughtful than active here - perhaps a sign of him getting older and reflecting more on what's happened throughout the years.
A great read and a typical Peter Robinson page-turner.
0Comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 December 2004
Peter Robinson keeps getting better. This book, the latest in the perennial Inspector Banks series, is certainly one of the best. Combined with the usual police procedural are Banks' problems and tribulations, making him one of the most human mystery characters around.
The story itself is about fire (hence the title), and Robinson keeps you guessing throughout the book. The denouement is not without shock and a life-changing event for Banks, and it makes you look forward to the next installment with great expectation.
If you haven't read any Inspector Banks novels, this could be a good place to start, but you'll probably want to begin at the beginning - this is one series that will quickly get you hooked.
0Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
A fire starts late at night on two almost derelict narrow boats on a short stretch of canal which leads nowhere. A body is found on each boat. DCI Alan Banks and DI Annie Cabbot have to find out whether this is murder or an accident and it soon becomes clear that it is murder. There are several suspects but none with a clear forensic connection to the fire. Gradually it becomes clear that there are a web of connections which may or may not lead to the truth. More lives will be lost and even more put in danger before the cases are solved.

I found this gripping reading and it is definitely amongst the best books in this excellent series. The book is well written and well plotted and the relationships and motivations are very well done. I like the way Alan and Annie are adjusting to not being in a relationship and are trying to keep their professional relationship going without letting the personal intrude.

If you like police procedurals with interesting characters and an atmospheric background - the Yorkshire Dales - then give this one a try. The series can be read in any order as all the books can stand alone but it is interesting to see the series characters develop if you read them in the order in which they were published.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 January 2004
Playing with Fire is that rare beast; a Peter Robinson novel that hasn’t had its titled bashed about for North American markets which is rather refreshing. And, of course, considering that title, it is full of fire, destruction, conflagration (physical and emotional) as well a new burning power in the writing itself too, which makes the book possibly Robinson’s strongest, most cunning plotted mystery yet, if perhaps not the most “meaningful” or innovative.
It begins, of course, with flame. In the wee hours of a cold January morning (the chill of the climate and atmosphere is a brilliantly effective contrast to the searing fires of the plot) two narrow-boats are found burning on a lonely stretch of a Yorkshire canal. When the fire-fighters have done their work, the investigators move in, and two dead bodies are found in the remains, blackened and burnt. And, of course, in the best traditions of the murder-mystery, traces of accelerant are found.
However, which was the intended victim? Tina, the drugged out young girl living with her boyfriend on one boat, or Tom, the lonely, seemingly reclusive artist who lived on the other? As Robinson’s well-seasoned protagonist Chief Inspector Banks sets the investigations in motion, the threads tangle and the case proves to be every bit as complex as it promised at the start. And this particular twisted firestarter is not done yet…
Peter Robinson is remarkable; with every single book for about 6 years, he has been continuing to expand his series, smashing down boundaries, reaching new heights with every single book. While once his reflective Inspector Banks novels were simply nice little procedurals to while away an evening, lately they have become something far more remarkable, and he has moved into the front rank of male crime writers, alongside Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly in writing moving, artful crime novels that shed light on all aspects of human experience. There are so many things to recommend him, not least his evocation of landscape and ability to probe the very human depths of every single characters instinctive motivations. He plots as if he were born to the genre, and his protagonist Banks is a true marvel. Less of a tough-as-nails guy than Bosch or Rebus, Banks is thoughtful, moral, reflective and, dare I say it, not startlingly interesting on the surface (but, of course, therein lies his shining humanity) and in Playing with Fire there are enough personal trials for him to deal with to satisfy any connoisseur of fascinating protagonists. The other human aspects of this book are incredibly well-done; moving and expansive, Robinson reaches out to all his characters, taking them gently by the hand and leading them to the reader, in sometimes shocking ways.
The cracking, multi-faced plot is in itself engaging and clever, with surprises and shifts in tone and pitch that elevate it far above the average. If this fourteenth entry in the series doesn’t line itself up for several international awards, I’ll eat my proof copy.
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 12 August 2015
I'm late catching up with DI Banks but I am already a huge fan. Each book gets better and this one is a cracker. Robinson handles the ills of modern society without climbing on a moral high horse as some crime novelists do. Banks is improving with both age and experience. - as I, also found with Rankin's Inspectors Rebus books which I also came to late. Here I particularly enjoy the 'familiar' (to me) setting of Yorkshire. I'm only sorry the author has left us long ago for Canada. Perfect Kindle reading, too.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 June 2016
Always enjoy DCI Banks books. Easy reading and great to have familiarity in characters, gets straight into the crime. Ideal for those who like crime stories that are not out of this world and not too gruesome. DCI Banks is a believable character, more realistic than main characters from other books where the 'main man or woman' is portrayed as some super fit gun toting, marshal art expert... In other words an unbelievable character.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 April 2013
If you haven't read any of Peter Robinson's DCI Banks' novels then it might help to know that his character ages and changes throughout the series, so you might enjoy them more if read in the published order. I have only read a few, so have missed some of the sequence, but I don't think I'll be rushing to get the next one. I found the plot fairly plodding and guessed the outcome well before the end. More important perhaps is that I didn't really care about any of the characters - except possibly Mark (a suspect who we can tell isn't guilty).
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 February 2016
Its difficult to review one volume in a series such as this. It is an unfolding story. The first books were a bit rough around the edges and the characters almost comical but as the series progresses the characters have developed and are deeply interwoven. I cant put the stories down once started. This book is nonexception. Poweful storyline and believable deep characters.
I am gradually getting that actor Stephen Tompkinson out of my head when reading. But it is difficult. To me he is not Banks.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse