Inspector Banks needs no introduction to crime aficionados,
and I've been following his cases since coming across IN A
DRY SEASON years ago. Writing 22 full-length
novels is a tribute to any author's creativity and
strength, and the series has allowed for development of not
only the characters but the countryside. IN THE DARK
PLACES is the latest Lake District detective story in Peter
Robinson's superlative DCI Banks series.
Annie Cabbot is now a detective inspector, and she
checks out a stolen, expensive tractor. Farm vehicle theft
is an international crime, but local lookouts are an
integral part of the thieves' operations. Banks opts to
chase a bloodstain found by a dog-walker in an abandoned
RAF hangar. We see two sides of Yorkshire - and the
families sundered by unwillingness to coax a living from
the unforgiving land. Dilapidated, damp farmhouses and muck
don't make a desirable living environment, but having left,
the young people end up in unwelcoming tower blocks outside
Eastvale, struggling to support themselves while pursuing
careers like tourism or photography.
Annie worries that she is turning into a cynical, sharp-
tongued person, her life experience and loneliness
combining to make her unattractive as a date. This is
amusing considering Jassminder the crime scene analyst
spends her life cheerfully talking about DNA traces in
blood and bone fragments. DS Winsome Jackman is growing in
strength with every case. Meanwhile, Banks has found
happiness with the Italian lady in his life.
The hallmark of a DCI Banks book is steady, thorough
policing. A suspect is absent from a caravan park, but his
caravan burns down overnight. This tells the police they
are close to something major, and vicious people are
involved. Vicious enough to threaten a young mother with
harm to her son if she talks. At the same time as procedure
is being followed, little human touches appear; frayed
cuffs on a woman or a former soldier with a serious limp.
My only query is how often in crime books men are said to
use hairbrushes when a DNA sample is required. I have never
known a man to buy or use a hairbrush, and these days men
often have close-cropped hair not even requiring a plastic
With the shattered economy, plus the war on drunk-
driving, the village pub is suffering. The black economy
though is thriving, and those mixed up with this juggernaut
may vanish, or be found dead IN THE DARK PLACES. Peter
Robinson, who lives in Canada, has made this bleak, snowy,
beautiful Yorkshire his own, and while Banks may be feeling
his age, the crime stories are as fresh as ever.
Louise Penny calls IN THE DARK PLACES "brilliant."
Tess Gerritsen says it's "thrilling." And Michael
Peter Robinson as "amazing." One of the world's greatest
suspense writers returns with this sensational new novel
Inspector Alan Banks, hailed by Michael Connelly as "a
man for all seasons."
It's a double mystery: Two young men have vanished, and
the investigation leads to two troubling clues in two
As Banks and his team scramble for answers, the inquiry
takes an even darker turn when a truck careens off an icy
road in a
freak hailstorm. In the wreckage, rescuers find the
driver, who was killed on impact, as well as another body
—a body that was
dead well before the crash.
Snow falls. The body count rises. And Banks, perceptive
and curious as ever, feels himself being drawn deeper
into a web of
crime, and at its center something—or someone—dark and
dangerous lying in wait.
Vibrating with tension, ingeniously plotted, and
filled with soul and poignancy, IN THE DARK PLACES is a
achievement from this masterful talent.