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Strange Affair (2006)

Strange Affair (2006)

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3.91 of 5 Votes: 5
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0060544341 (ISBN13: 9780060544348)

About book Strange Affair (2006)

#15 DCI Alan Banks police procedural set in Yorkshire, UK. Banks, still recovering from the devastating fire at his cottage that almost cost him his life, is on holiday and wondering what to do with his time when he receives a couple of cryptic voicemails from his brother Roy, a wheeling-and-dealing financier in London. Alan and his younger brother are not close and never have been, and they rarely speak on the phone unless there's a problem, so the message--which sounds almost desperate though gives no details--intrigues him. When he tries to reach Roy in response, he's nowhere to be found, so Alan is off to London, where he discovers that Roy has all but disappeared. Knowing that his brother sometimes skated close to the edge of the law in his dealings, Banks decides to try to locate him first through "unofficial" channels lest he get little brother in trouble with the law by opening a missing persons case. Meanwhile, back in Eastvale, DI Annie Cabbot is dealing with a murder--a young woman shot execution style in the head, left in her car in a ditch along a deserted roadway--and surprise of surprises, she has Alan Banks' name and address scribbled on a piece of paper in her back jeans pocket--but even more intriguingly, it's the address to his burned-out cottage where he hasn't lived for several months. As Annie and Supt. Gristhorpe try to track Banks down (he's left his mobile on the kitchen table at his temporary apartment) and find the connection, Banks investigates Roy's life and begins to finally get to know his little brother. Robinson's series seems to just get better and better with each entry! I thoroughly enjoyed this one, found it hard to put down with a twisty plot (and even some surprises!), great characters and just the right balance between visceral and cerebral moments. Can't wait to read the next one!

Robinsons books sometimes involve a lot of personal detail which can make the pace seem slow at times - but he can vary this effectively when he wants to. Within the first chapter, he has set out the main themes of the mystery. A young woman running scared as she drives north on the M1, fearful of being followed. A call out of the blue from his distanced brother, Roy, asking Banks to comment him urgently. The body of a young woman found stopped and shot in a car in a quiet country road in the Yorkshire Dales - with the address of Banks' cottage on a scrap of paper in her back pocket. The story in this book takes place six months after Playing with Fire, and Banks is in a state of depression getting over the loss of his home and possessions, and his near death. The author uses his story line to build Roy Banks into a complex figure, a man with a chequered past very different from his brother, whose life was shaken by his experiences in 9/11, but remains conflicted between good living, taking chances, and a search for meaning. And a man who, whatever Banks though, always looked up to his older brother.This is a nicely paced and complex story, and whilst the main crime is obvious from half way through, there's a twist at the end which is not obvious. And as always with Robinson, a developing side line which leads to the identification of the person responsible for a quite unrelated crime. This story also sees a gradual rapprochement and understanding between Annie and Banks as they start to out their past relationship behind them and find new ways of working together. Incidentally - this is another case where the summary on this site, presumably taken from the book jacket, really doesn't give a fair impression of the actual story.

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Banks will ferret out the truth, no matter what rules he breaks. In this British police procedural, Robinson offers up a gritty plot with some introspective ruminations on self-identity and personal relationships. As Banks ("not your everyday quaffing plonk") evaluates his relationship with his high-living, shady brother, he examines his own vulnerabilities-heightened, of course, by his nasty divorce and near-death experience in the aforementioned fire. Robinson fleshes out compelling characters, but also comments on important social issues, from international arms dealings to women's rights. It's a good read, especially for its unpredictable depravities. "Alan has long known that there is no shortage of monsters in this world," writes the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "but Strange Affair reinforces that."This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.
—Bookmarks Magazine

A Strange Affair by Peter Robinson follows DCI Banks and DI Annie Cabot as they unravel the murder of a young woman heading to Yorkshire to meet DCI Banks and the murder of DCI Banks’s brother Roy in London. These two murders are linked and the story takes the reader on a journey of Eastern European prostitutes and criminal gangs operating in London.Peter Robinson has a knack of making his characters believable and interesting and if you read any more in this series you will also find many of his main characters are developed and fleshed out which gives another narrative within the main story.This book like most in the series are quite detailed in police procedural work and the mystery and suspense of working out the “who dun it” is spun out slowly with lots of conversations, interviews and leads. If you are looking for exciting car chases or shoot outs they are not to be found in this book or others in the series. Personally I find the way the criminals and crimes are solved to be absorbing and very interesting and I usually complete these books in a day or two as they are hard to put down.
—Michael Davidson

This is the 15th book in the Inspector Banks series and all I can say is that Peter Robinson gets better with every book I read. I love the complexity of the characters. Robinson is not one to create returning characters who lead lives that are all wonderful and perfect. He allows his characters to learn from the hard events that touch their lives. In this book Inspector Alan Banks is forced to face a tragedy that happened to him in the previous book as well as face another personal tragedy that occurs in this one.Robinson's writing continues to be superior and fulfilling...I usually save his next book in the series for my next vacation.

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