NY: Morrow, 2007.
DCI Alan Banks of the West Yorkshire CID is a pretty good detective, but his old cases seem to have a habit of coming back to haunt him. He starts out with a pretty ordinary rape/murder case in the Maze, a neighborhood of narrow, twisty passages and untenanted Victorian buildings only a minute’s sprint from the police station. The victim was young, bright, and sexy, with a tendency to drink too much with her mates on the weekends, and while Banks has problems with some of the suspects, he expects to solve the case without too much trouble.
Meanwhile, though, DI Annie Cabbot, seconded to a neighboring division, is handed a very different sort of homicide — the throat-slashing of a helpless paraplegic woman on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. It’s obviously a very personal crime, a matter of hatred or revenge. But it’s when this victim’s true identity becomes known that the plot begins to heat up and the two killings seem to want to merge. Robinson has developed Banks’s personality in vivid detail over a dozen an a half novels now, and the reader will usually know what to expect from him. Annie Cabbot, his ex-lover, with whom he now has a sometimes uneasy professional relationship, is also nicely developed, as are the supporting players — the gorgeous, six-foot-tall Jamaican, DS Winsome Jackman; the old-school but effective DS Hatchley, who never met a pub he didn’t like; the bloody-minded and ambitious newcomer, Superintendent Gervaise, whom Banks still isn’t quite sure about; the corner-cutting DS Kevin Templeton who delights in tormenting suspects (and antagonizing his more thoughtful colleagues). And this time, someone on the team is going back into the Maze and not coming out. (And by the way, don’t read this one until you’ve read Aftermath.)