Aftermath is the 12th book in the DCI Banks series. As a big fan of this series and of police procedurals I have to say this one was grittier than most of his previous books. Obviously there is a murder to investigate in the Yorkshire Dales setting, that’s a standard, but the crimes in this book were horrendous.
We are looking at a serial killer and the victims are young women, all in their late teens. The story is unfolded in graphic detail manner, focusing on a serial killer, a rapist all the while linking in sub stories about child abuse, sexual exploitation and domestic violence. As I said, this book was darker than any of the others but in my opinion, well written.
One of the sub plots is about Detective Sargent Janet Taylor. She and her partner Dennis respond to a domestic violence call. It is here the story begins when they enter a home, find Lucy Payne, the wife, knocked out, splayed out on the floor with blood on her head. The detectives proceed to check the house, head into the basement where they find a naked girl tied to a bed, strangled and quite dead. At that point they are attacked by the abusive husband, Terry Payne. As he wields a machete and cuts Dennis down, Janet thrashes him with her police baton, finally subduing him and handcuffing him to a handrail in the basement.
As you read on there is an excessive violence case considered on DS Taylor. She was defending her partner, defending her own life – but she must have brought that baton down on Payne one too many times. As someone who works in law enforcement I did not like the way that story line was heading but, that is my personal opinion.
Another sub plot revolves around Maggie Forest. She is the one who called the police when she heard Lucy Payne scream. She is also a victim of domestic violence, living temporarily in England while she escapes her abusive husband back in Toronto. Her point of view is to protect Lucy from the press as she sees her as a victim. But could Lucy have been living in that house and not know her husband was keeping young women captive? Is she part of the killings too?
From the start of this series I have watched Alan Banks grow in his job, watched his children grew up, his wife becoming distant and how our committed copper handled his professional and personal life. This is by far his most salacious book in the series.
Now, I have my opinions about things that I felt were not resolved but those will be spoilers if you have not read this book. If you have read it please write me so I can share a few of those unresolved story lines and get your opinion.
Will I read more? Absolutely! I love Alan Banks and enjoy all the musical references as well as food references in the books. As a matter of fact I have already downloaded book 13 to my Kindle. More later………………