Robinson, Peter. Piece of My Heart.

NY: Morrow, 2006.

It’s been an eventful year or two for DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire CID. He was burned out of his small cottage and lost everything, nearly including his life. His estranged brother was murdered, but he caught the killer. His old friend and superior, Superintendent Gristhorpe, has finally retired and been replaced by a dangerously ambitious woman. And he’s been on the outs with DI Annie Cabbot, previously his lover and now his friend and colleague. But things seem to be turning around a bit for Banks.


Published in: on 26 September 2010 at 7:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Todd, Charles. Legacy of the Dead.

NY: Bantam, 2000.

I’ve been enjoying this new police procedural series (new to me) — mostly. It’s set in Britain just after the Great War, featuring young homicide Detective Inspector Ian Rutledge, a rising star in Scotland Yard in 1914 who went through a great deal of hell and emerged from the trenches in France deeply afflicted with “shell shock” — what we now would call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Three years or more in the trenches was a far different experience even than facing the more powerful weapons of the next world war. (more…)

Published in: on 16 September 2010 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Moon, Elizabeth. Trading in Danger.

NY: Del Rey, 2004.

Kylara Vatta is just about to graduate at the top of her class from her planet’s space academy when her helpful nature is taken advantage of by a younger cadet with a grudge against the military. Exactly what happened, and why it’s a Bad Thing, is never really explained, but Ky ends up taking the heat and is thrown out. Luckily (or not), she’s the younger daughter of a wealthy space mercantile company and her father and uncle pack her off on a routine voyage — her first command, though a very small one — to remove her from the public eye and the reach of the media.


Published in: on 14 September 2010 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Robinson, Peter. Strange Affair.

NY: William Morrow, 2005.

I think one of the things I like best about Robinson’s series featuring DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire CID is that they’re unusually true-to-life in their structure. That is, Agatha Christie and P. D. James and most other writers of “detective stories” have always followed a certain pattern. The murder takes place, the author quickly introduces the reader to a clutch of suspects, and says, in effect, “one of these people dunnit.” Even Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch books tend to work that way. But the narrative in Robinson’s novels follow the process of the investigation.


Published in: on 11 September 2010 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pope, Dudley. Ramage & the Guillotine.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 1975.

This is a rather disappointing entry in an otherwise enjoyable series of naval historical novels set during the Napoleonic wars. Lieut. Lord Nicholas Ramage, who has a reputation for disobeying orders while still successfully accomplishing his missions, is in London and between ships when he’s drafted for some undercover work by the First Lord and Admiral Nelson. It’s a matter of coincidence, really; Ramage was present at a ball and came under their eye. His job is to sneak into Boulogne and check out Bonaparte’s growing fleet of barges and transports, intended for the invasion of Britain — but the Admiral leaves it to him to find a way to get there.


Published in: on 7 September 2010 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Robinson, Peter. Playing with Fire.

NY: Morrow, 2004.

It’s a cold winter’s night and DCI Alan Banks, homicide expert with the North Yorkshire CID, is standing beside a dead-end branch of a rural canal, watching two abandoned narrow-boats burn. His shivers are only partly because of the frost; he’s also paranoid about death by fire, having witnessed the results of a particularly nasty arson back in London when he was a young detective constable. And the author doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the horrific details, either.


Published in: on 5 September 2010 at 4:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Robinson, Peter. Close to Home.

NY: Morrow, 2003.

It’s apparent that the author feels sufficiently secure now about the success of this excellent British cop series to experiment somewhat with plot structure and narrative strategy. Each of the last few novels featuring DCI Alan Banks, homicide specialist with the North Yorkshire CID, has been a bit unusual in one way or another. This time, Banks becomes involved in two separate cases, one certain homicide and one possible. They’re far apart both in geography and in time, but both involve adolescent boys. (more…)

Published in: on 2 September 2010 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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