Inspector Banks, #19
Pages: 336 pages
Finished: Oct. 20, 2010
First Published: Aug. 24, 2010 US (Sept. 14, 2010 CAN)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Genre: mystery, British police procedural
By the end of August, the waterlogged Yorkshire countryside was a symphony of green and gold under a blue sky scribbled with white clouds.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series
Peter Robinson is always a character writer. The identities and motivators of his main characters are an important role in each of his novels and each character has developed through the books, especially Inspector Banks who has been with the series for all nineteen novels. Bad Boys relies heavily on the personal stories of the main characters plot wise. There is a crime, a couple really, and they all involve Inspector Banks at a personal level. Enemies from the past show up, an old cold case comes up again, friends are hurt, his home has become a crime scene and his daughter disappears.
I enjoyed this book, more so than the last one that bothered me with its spy emphasis but it still is not up to other books I have easily rated 5 stars. One of the reasons I love Peter Davidson is his characterization, Inspector Banks is a deep person with many layers who has changed over time and is a welcome familiar friend to meet on the page. Secondary characters are also explored with full detail and continuing storylines. My main problem with Bad Boys is that it is not a "whodunit" in any shape or form. We know all about who did everything; the reader sees the story unfold from multiple views and is wiser than the police on their trail to catch the culprit whom even the police figure out who it is very early on, taking away one of my favourite aspects of the genre.
But, it was still a good read. I was turning pages quickly and finished the book over two days. We get a glimpse into the party life of average 20-something year olds, the high-life of drug trafficking and the low-life of drug trafficking, what happens to those who tick off The Boss and mostly the book is a long chase to capture the culprit before someone close to DCI Banks loses their life to a very unstable man. There are also a couple of twists and one shocker which is tidied up, to a point, by the end but leaves a familiar character's future hanging in the air. Fans who have grown to love Banks, his kids, Annie, Winsome, and the rest of the gang will enjoy the story but newcomers to the series should certainly not start here as I think they may come away disappointed at the lack of a gritty murder mystery, which can be found in other books in the series.