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on 4 October 2010
Like other reviewers I'm a huge fan of Robinson's earlier work (I live in Leeds and was even able to go to a book signing a few years ago when he came on a promotional tour). But if I'm honest I've felt Banks has been on borrowed time since "Friend of the Devil" which was more or less a sequel to the recently televised story (and one of Robinson's best books) "Aftermath" - I won't express my disappointment with how that translated to screen here!

All the stuff Robinson has put out from FOTD onwards (not counting the short story compilation "The Price of Love" which I found moderately entertaining), has been long drawn out and tedious to read - in fact since "Playing with Fire" I've almost had the feeling someone has given Robinson a quota of pages he must fill before he's even started writing!

I'm afraid "Bad Boy" hasn't improved on things much -

I've long ago given up watching the Banks website, waiting hungrily for the next release date, so it was a total surprise to me when I wandered into the crime section of my local book shop to find a nice fresh Robinson hardback sitting there, I got a twinge of the old excitement then saw the title: "Bad Boy" I have to say it annoyed me before I'd even picked the book up, it just sounded so cheesy! Never the less I dutifully bought it and struggled through.

Without wanting to give spoilers (readers especially won't want that here as there is precious little to spoil!) all I can say is you spend three quarters of the book expecting something to happen and nothing ever does! The book actually starts quite promisingly with Banks' holiday (it was totally throw-away stuff and simply there to please Banks fans, but I took the bate) however once he comes home things start to go down the pan. The characters are borderline ridiculous and from everything we have read about Tracy Banks over the last 20 years or so, it is just hard for the reader to accept she could be so idiotic all of a sudden.

The one good thing about it is Robinson seems to have finally listened to the almost unanimous opinion of his fans and toned down on the pages and pages which were getting dedicated to what Banks was playing on his ipod!

I'm giving Robinson one more chance with his next book, but if it disappoints, I think that will be the end of Banks for me.
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on 8 August 2010
Havng read all of Peter Robinson's Inspector Bank's books, in my opinion, this is the worst. His early books such as 'Cold is the Grave' and 'Wednesday's Child', to name but a few, were by far much better stories. I can remember reading them in one sitting, unable to put them down. But not so with this one. The story trundles along at a very slow pace. I use the term 'story' loosely as the whole book is quite simply about a girl who takes her boyfriends gun. When her mother finds it she reports her to the police. Cue DCI Alan Banks, who then tries to find the boyfriend. It really is as simple as that and I'm afraid it all gets very tedious.

'All the Colours of Darkness', Peter Robinson's previous novel was a turning point for me. It was unbelieveable, silly at times and the story was disjointed and uninteresting. Until then, I enjoyed all his Alan Bank's series and Robinson was one of my favourite authors. I wish he would return to form as I used to enjoy getting his latest book, knowing it would be an excellent read. I will probably purchase his next book in the hope that he will return to writing intense, complex and interesting DCI Alan Banks mysteries, but after 2 very disappointing books, this seems wishful thinking.
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on 15 August 2010
Have read and enjoyed all the previous Inspector Banks novels but this one is a long disappointment. The plot is very thin, the dialogue turgid -with long speeches instead of dialogue. Set pieces such as the torture scene sit uncomfortably within the framework of the story- out of context. Peter Robinson writes without confidence -he is relying heavily on a formula, rather than injecting life and sparkle.
His hero seems tired of life at the end when he says"But sometimes I think I've had enough. I'm getting a bit tired of it all."
Like Ian Rankin and Rebus, Peter Robinson also seems to have exhausted his hero and this reader.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 August 2010
I've read all of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels, except All the Colours of Darkness which I decided not to buy after reading reviews on Amazon which alerted me to the excess of musical references, an aspect of the author's writings that I've always found irritating, plus the less than plausible story-line. I see that other reviewers of Bad Boy were disappointed by the novel, whereas I enjoyed it. It's certainly not the same class of some of his earlier novels, such as In a Dry Season or The Summer That Never Was: An Inspector Banks Novel. I thought the story hung together well and was pacy enough to have me turning the pages wanting to find out what happened next. There weren't too many diversion into Banks extraneous personal problems, except of course those concerning his daughter, which are central to this story.

By skipping the previous novel in the series I've obviously missed out on Banks failed relationship with Sophia and the transformation of his daughter Tracy from nice girl to aimless and rebellious drifter hanging out with drug dealers, which was a real surprise. I like the characters, DI Annie Cabbot and the laconic DS Winsome Jackman and am glad that Banks may be about to get back into a relationship with Annie

As seems par for the course in most detective fiction, Banks has to be a bit of a maverick, bending police protocol, with over-bearing superiors out to get him; and have failed personal relationships. A welcome change in this book, from those in the past, is that there aren't repeated references to smoking that used to make me think that product placement was on the cards. As other reviewers have noted the author has reduced the number of musical references, which is very welcome.
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on 15 August 2010
Iam a big fan of peter Robinson and inspector Banks but I felt this novel was rather disappointing. The story was slow to start and never really got going. I was expecting twists that never transpired. However this will not prevent me from looking forward to the next book
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on 28 August 2010
This is a potboiler from Peter Robinson.

To be sure, many of the skills of the gifted storyteller are still in evidence, but the magic of the earlier books in the "Inspector Banks" series is missing. There is none of the atmosphere of the dales - this book could be set anywhere and in fact more of the author's gift for evoking location is lavished on San Francisco where Banks is somewhat irrelevantly found vacationing early in the book. The plot lacks intellectual challenge, there is no mystery to be solved and there are too many lapses in plausibility. Robinson relies too much on stock characters such as "Farmer" Fanthorpe, the would-be gentleman gangster, Superintendent Chambers, the overly enthusiastic investigator of Professional Standards, and the over-worked Dirty Dick of Special Branch (or whatever more shadowy organization he now inhabits). The psychological development of the main characters is purely recycling of themes from earlier books.

Towards the conclusion of "Bad Boy." Banks wearily wonders whether he should pack it all in. Perhaps it is time for Robinson to apply his formidable talent to something different, perhaps a novel set in his adopted home of Toronto? Maybe Winsome should ask for an exchange transfer.
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on 17 August 2010
After the last book, which was unbelievable and a real mess, I had hoped this new one would be better: it wasn't. It seems this author is another who has 'gone off the boil' which is a shame but there's no point wasting any more time reading another.
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Juliet Doyle - a former neighbour of DCI Alan Banks when he was still married - turns up one day asking to see him. Banks is on an extended holiday in the US and she sees DI Annie Cabbot instead. Juliet has found a gun in her daughter Erin's bedroom and wants to know what she should do about it. Annie follows correct procedure and sends in the armed response team to deal with it. Unfortunately following correct procedure leads to tragedy and a complex chain of events which involves not just Banks and Annie but his daughter Tracy as well.

I enjoyed this very tense and eventful story with its many twists and turns. It is good to see Superintendent Catherine Gervaise in a more positive light and she really is growing on me. The book demonstrates very well that we never know what exactly will result directly from simple everyday actions and impulses.

I have been reading this series back to back - which really is a test of well written series. So far - almost at the end of the current published volumes I have not got bored with them at all and I shall be sorry when I am up to date.
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on 4 October 2010
Murphy's Law seems to apply to the premise behind this novel. After a well-earned vacation touring the U.S. Southwest and the wonders of LA and San Francisco, DI Banks finds, upon his return to Eastvale, that an old friend has died after police tasered him, Banks' daughter is missing, and everything is in an uncontrolled mess.

It starts when a former neighbor of Banks discovers a gun which had been hidden by her daughter in her bedroom when visiting her parents. The mother visits the police station hoping to discuss the situation with Banks who, unfortunately, is still away. When the police raid the house, the woman's husband dies of a heart attack after the aforementioned taser incident; Banks' daughter, Tracy, infatuated with man who owned the gun (the "bad boy" of the title) warns him of the police inquiries and hides him in her father's cottage. And from that point on, as Banks returns, everything goes downhill.

The chase begins with Tracy's status changing from willing lover to hostage, and Banks and the rest of the police force struggling with the lack of clues as to where the fugitive and his captive are. As usual, Banks doesn't always play by the rules. But then, neither does the bad boy. Another well-written and off-beat story in the series, and highly recommended.
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on 14 August 2010
Most of Peter Robinson's books tend to start slowly and build up steam as they progress, and this book is no exception to that rule. In fact, this one started so slowly that it took almost half the book before its pace became more than leisurely. Contributing to this is the fact that DCI Banks is on holiday in San Francisco when the story begins and there is a great deal of development before he returns to Eastvale.

In Banks' absence, most of the story (until his return) is told through the eyes of his colleague DI Annie Cabbot. She has been the third party limited narrator in previous books but has always had to 'share the stage' with Banks. Here the first hundred or so pages come from her point of view, and when the book does switch to another character's pov, it is that of Tracy Banks (DCI Banks' daughter, who until now has been a peripheral character - more mentioned than actually present - in most of the books).

This book is not a classical police procedural; there is no murder to be solved, but the book does present much more police procedure than one normally gets in a novel. Judging by the acknowledgments at the end of the book, author Robinson got most of this material directly from the real police. As such, this is not another in the regular Banks series, where Banks has to outwit someone who committed a murder at the beginning of the book. Instead this is a less cerebral and more action focused story - which does not centre around Banks (at least, not until the end).

In my one read through of the book (which probably was taken at a faster pace than I will take in the future), I didn't notice any glaring mistakes, whereas in previous books, I've found a few. This is similar to continuity problems in films: very rarely is the viewer aware of such problems as she is too caught up in the story to notice, but watching the film at a slower pace will often reveal a multitude of errors.

I assume that Robinson has reached the limit of the traditional police procedural and is now extending his range, utilising the same cast of characters but on solving problems other than murder. As such, his actions are to be applauded - because otherwise it would be very hard to explain the high murder rate of Eastvale, a fictitious setting for what was once a small town and now seems to have grown to alarming proportions.

Unlike other of his novels, this book didn't touch a nerve in context of its background material, for example "Piece of the heart" or "Close to home" (aka "The summer that never was"). As such, it becomes an exciting read but not a novel from which my life might be enriched, or cause me to think about similar events which might have occurred in my life.

Looking at the other reviews currently at Amazon, they all say that this is Robinson's worst book in the series. Whilst it is far from being the best, it is also different from the others (a fact which I tried to point out two paragraphs earlier) and as such should not necessarily be compared to the others. At least it has a definite storyline with a beginning, a middle and an end, which is more than the previous 'experimental novel', "All the colours of darkness", had.
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