Many Rivers To Cross by Peter Robinson #shrug

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I have enjoyed my journey with the real time aging of DCI Alan Banks and was eager to pick up book #26. Alas, this one was lackluster.

By page eight he had already trashed Donald Trump and Brexit. Politics do not have a place in this series and frankly, it was a huge turn off. I felt like I was being lectured.

This is a British author who lives in Canada.  While he may have a strong opinion on Brexit, or the U.S.president, Mr. Robinson doesn’t reside in England or the U.S.A. so he should shut his pie hole and write the mystery!

We start with the murder of a Middle Eastern young man and boy oh boy, the lecture/judgement starts again.  Clearly the readers are told how narrow minded most of are. The book description states there would be some racial tension and that here is.

Also, a character named Zelda returned in this book and we hear about her experiences when she was a victim of sex trafficking. It doesn’t fit in with the investigations and reminded me of those movies where you have that gratuitous sex scene, one that doesn’t belong or fits in with the overall plot.  You blink and think, why is this in here?

What I did like: The police procedural genre. Also still loving detectives Annie Cabbot and Winsome Jackman as well as Eastvale’s CSI team.

It’s been fun reading  about his children’s updates as they were so young in the beginning of the series. They are in their late 30’s now and it’s a nice “slice of life “ but I noticed Banks’ age isn’t mentioned. I wrote the author over a year ago voicing concern about Alan Banks aging in real time.

His aging will slow down. Still, if you’ve been reading the books in order and remember when his children were adolescents you’ll be able to do the math. By the way, hardly any time is spent on his grown children (Brian & Tracy) but if you’ve read from the beginning you watch them grow emotionally and professionally.

Overall, and I didn’t think I’d ever feel this way, Alan Banks should wrap up his career and ride off into the sunset. The last book had too much sex trafficking mentioned & had lots of “filler”  about his musical taste. More on that HERE.

This was my second disappointing book in a row and I may not continue. One, two, three strikes you’re out. If the next book is similar I’m done with the series. Mr. Robinson, you will have to write a cracking good story to keep your fans after these last two books.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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Careless Love by Peter Robinson (#25 in the DCI Banks series)

carelessLove 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.

BriFri  2019 Foodies Read