Since being introduced to the DCI Banks series years ago I have made it a mission to read all of the books in order. This is #25 and Banks is slowly aging. I had eagerly awaited my copy from the library and plan to continue to read more in the series, but this particular book made me realize Banks needs to retire.
Premise of the book: A pretty young student is dead in an abandoned car. The car is not hers, she is dressed in evening wear and couldn’t have walked up to this remote road. There isn’t any ID, cell phone or handbag. Is it suicide? How did she get there? Meanwhile a man in his sixties is found dead in a gully up further up the road. He is also wearing expensive clothing and carried no identification. Was it an accident or was he pushed?
Compliments and Complaints
There were a few reviews from people who were fortunate enough to get an advance copy, a mixed bag of compliments and complaints. One particular comment complained about the amount of music interjected, as if Robinson was “forcing a musical education” on us. As I hadn’t read the book yet I thought that was a supremely unfair comment. If you are a fan of Alan Banks you’ll know music is an important part of his life and you will know what he’s listening to in his car and at home.
But then I started reading the book and I have to say, that comment wasn’t too far off the mark. For such a short book of only 300 pages there were far too many paragraphs devoted to music. Much more than in previous books so it felt like filler. So that’s actually two complaints from me – the excess music talk and the length of the book. Maybe it felt shorter because there wasn’t enough investigative plot.
I mentioned he is growing older and I’m good with that. However, the excessive amount of reminiscing in this book was tiresome. He’s lost his edge. As he matures in his years and the career you expect someone to slow down but this performance wasn’t up to the usual standards.
Compliment: This is the first book in the series where I recall a cliffhanger at the end. The last two lines set up the premise for the next book. Certainly that story line won’t be ignored as a previous bad guy is involved. This can’t be explained without spoilers but I look forward to that scenario being a major plot point. Usually there are two investigations going on at once, sometimes they overlap, but it’s easy to keep the stories and investigations separated.
Personally I think it’s time for Alan Banks to retire. Let him go out with a gangbuster ending. Please don’t kill him, Mr. Robinson, but let’s have one of those cracking plots that I can’t put down….and then end it. Let Banks go out on top. I’m a big fan and I will certainly read the next book but I hope it’s better than this one.
Food is mentioned throughout and some had my mouth watering.
Spicy Vindaloo, Yorkshire puddings filled with roast beef and gravy, sandwiches of prawn, egg and chicken salad, a Spenser and Mark’s dinner of roasted chicken with vegetables and potatoes, wine, scones and tea. The chicken dinner had my attention so here is a lovely olive oil roasted chicken dish with lots of onions, grape tomatoes and olives.
Sharing with Joy’s Book Blog for her British Isles Friday event and
Heather for the February Foodies Read.