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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 17 September 2013
Couldn't wait to finish this book, not because I was enjoying it, just wanted to move on to something else.
I have read all the Banks books and they were my absolute favourites until the last 2 books.
I totally agree with the reviewer who felt that the character of Banks in the book has been diluted to fit the TV character, who is absolutely nothing like the Banks in the previous books and very difficult to warm to.
The characters we had come to know, seemed mere shadows of their former selves, with no real substance, but lots of fairly boring padding on issues which were not always relevant to the story.
Would a senior police officer really have visited someone they were fairly certain had committed a murder, alone, without any backup?
Whilst I appreciate it must be difficult to maintain the very high standard of earlier Banks books, this was disappointing and probably my last Banks.
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on 11 January 2014
I've read every one of the Banks novels to date, and enjoyed most of them. They did go through a bit of a slump a few years ago, but seemed to revive somewhat thereafter. But, oh dear, this one is absolutely awful. Things that, in moderation, helped previously to flesh out Banks' character, now settle into an unremitting stream of wordy introspection of regrets from the past, resignation in the present and little hope for the future, all liberally sprinkled with a never-ending catalogue of favourite music tracks and alcoholic beverages! There is absolutely no action, just one lengthy chapter after another of conversations, discussions and interviews. I know that Robinson can still write ('Before the Poison' is excellent), but DCI Banks appears to be on his last legs. If you haven't yet discovered the 'Roy Grace' novels of Peter James, now is the time!
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on 29 December 2013
This is the first time I have written a negative comment but was so disappointed with this book. I am a fan of Peter Robinson's books and have read all the previous Alan Banks stories so looked forward to the latest instalment. To put it simply, this book felt like it had been written by someone else, maybe the script writer for the TV series which is awful. Alan Banks has had a personality transplant: where is his caring, self questioning personality? His life and family outside work was mentioned in short, factual sentences but there was no emotion or feeling. He was more aggressive with witnesses and suspects with little balance. This was so the case with Annie Cabbot, again she read like a different person.

While I have really enjoyed this series of books maybe it would be better to call it a day than continue in this vein
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 19 August 2013
Peter Robinson's new DCI Banks novel is an exemplary study of investigative detective work into Gavin Miller, a 59 year old desperate man who has plummeted from a bridge onto a disused railway line. A post-mortem showed signs of a scuffle before death. He had £5,000 of untraceable notes in his pocket. No motives or forensic evidence apparent. DCI Banks is behind his formidable team of detectives Annie Cabbot, Geraldine (Gerry) Masterson and physically imposing Winsome Jackson.

With little to go on the team are determined to unravel the death that reeks of murder. Tracing the background of Miller opens a can of worms stretching back to Essex University in the early 1970's during the miners' strike and their flying pickets. His latter role as a lecturer at Eastvale College where he was disgracefully dismissed for sexual allegations are relevant. The connections of Miller are the crux of the novel. His involvement with prominent titled figures, notably Lady Veronica Chalmers (known as Ronnie) who was at University with Miller is an interesting find. She is now married to an influential theatrical producer who is wealthy, influential and they have relatives with high political ambitions.

The author spins a fine web of deception and intrigue with his stylish narrative and prose accompanied by cracking dialogue. It starts with a straightforward investigation but cleverly involves many characters who are not who they seem, hiding numerous secrets for personal reasons, with Miller the maltreated individual. The female detectives are remorseless and thorough in their pursuit of the truth and justice despite the reticence of their interviewees with Banks taking a laid back presence but always in charge, directing and controlling proceedings.

Gradually the truth is extracted with some neat twists. The experienced, houndog DCI Banks doesn't play to the book but his superiors realise he delivers the goods. Even MI5 approve. An excellent and captivating novel that takes many turns and unexpected spins, focusing on a single murder, for a change, more than justifying the continuation of the DCI Banks series. There is even a hint of romance at the end.
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on 12 November 2013
I am a great fan of Peter Robinson's earlier books such as 'The Summer That Never Was' and 'Friend Of The Devil' which are beautifully written and give a good sense of place and time, so this comes as a profound disappointment. There is little of the complex plotting and detailed descriptions of his previous work; instead we have undeveloped characters (even Annie and Winsome are one dimensional here) and an unlikely plot, with a vast amount of the book being taken up with endless speculation about whodunnit, often on the weakest of evidence. I genuinely found it difficult to finish and really did not care what happened in the end. If you are new to Peter Robinson start with the books mentioned above, not this one; you won't be disappointed.
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on 12 February 2014
Having read all of Peter Robinson's previous books I was looking forward to receiving his latest. What a bitter disappointment - it rambled, was padded, and I could not finish reading it as I was irritated with the amount of unnecessary content. I became completely bored with the amount of description and space taken to keep including the titles of pieces of music and the contents of everything in all rooms DCI Banks (or anyone else) entered - I just cannot see the relevance or necessity for us to have to wade through this each time before the story continues. My husband also read this and his opinion was that it was padded. I sincerely hope that Inspector Banks number 22 will get back on track - his 'Bad Boy' was particularly good. Sorry if I have put off potential new readers, but I have been asked for a true opinion.
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A former lecturer is found dead and at first it seems as though he could have jumped from the bridge under which he is lying. However it soon becomes clear to DCI Alan Banks and his team that he was probably pushed from the bridge, or even thrown over it. He had been dismissed from his job because of sexual misconduct but it now seems as though he might not have been guilty after all and why did he have a large sum of money on him when he lived in poverty and debt?

The investigation leads the team into uncovering events which happened over forty years ago and which brings them into conflict with some powerful people in the present. I enjoyed this story which mingles past and present and which shows how events long past can have a resonance in the present and the future. The series characters are as ever on good form with Banks displaying more discretion than he does in some of the books.

If you enjoy police procedurals with well developed characters, interesting and often complex plots and a geographical background, in this case the Yorkshire Dales, which is almost a character in its own right then try this series. They can be read in any order though it is interesting to read them in the order in which they were published to watch the series characters develop.
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on 13 October 2013
I have read, and enjoyed, all of the Banks books but this is just not up to the usual standard. It follows a very tedious formula - a body is found, witnesses and other contacts are interviewed one after another and that is the boring formula for moving the story along - each witness/person of interest adds another little detail to the story. The characters are boring, shallow and unbelievable and the recall of some of the interviewees just beggars belief - someone can remember to within a week or so when a college affair ended (not an affair involving themselves) forty years ago! Nothing really is credible in this novel and I am sick to death of having to read what Banks is listening to/reading or eating. Who the hell cares if he likes his steak medium rare? Thankfully, Banks is reaching retirement age - it would be a good idea for him to retire gracefully and listen to his music and eat his game pies without bothering us again. A sad end to a great series of novels - unfortunately ruined on television by having the utterly unconvincing, and wooden Steven Tomkinson acting him
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on 28 July 2014
I have every single one of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks books on my shelf and have read them all so far with great enjoyment. I always look forward to a new Banks book with great anticipation. So it was very disappointing to find that this book is so unlike the earlier ones. I found it boring, with little action and long-winded introspective diatribes on politics, drugs, student life and the past. None of the characters seem as likable as before, they have all become snappy and bad-tempered. The constant references to music tracks have become very tedious. The same goes for the somewhat self-conscious references to recent TV programmes which seem to be put in just to show Robinson is up-to-date with British culture. Where are the descriptions of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside that used Children of the Revolution: The 21st DCI Banks Mystery (Inspector Banks 21)to make the books so enjoyable? Like many other true Inspector Banks fans I found the TV series a disaster and the normally brilliant Stephen Tompkinson, one of my favourite actors, totally unlike the Banks of the books - in either looks or character. Could it be that Robinson is now trying to write TV scripts rather than a jolly good, un-put-downable book? I do hope not, and I hope that the next outing for Alan Banks will revert to the previous style and quality
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on 11 September 2013
When Stephen Tomkinson was announced as the "new" Inspector Banks, I groaned - he was NOT my idea of my hero. Then the TV shows came along - this arrogant argumentative cretin was definitely NOT Banks! But now we have the next Banks book by Peter Robinson, and what do we find? It's a NEW Inpector Banks, moulded into the persona created by Tomkinson! He's a fraud! Robinson should take note of other TV creations, notably Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe - a six-foot plus black-haired Londoner until he was played by Sean Bean in the TV series. Now in the books you wouldn't know WHERE he comes from! This is the poorest Robinson book ever - and I include his previous non-Banks one where he had people around a dinner table in January 1953 discussing the conquest of Everest by Hillary and Tenzing fully six months before it actually happened!
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