Friday, September 17, 2010

Bad Boy, by Peter Robinson

William Morrow
341 pp.

First, my thanks to LibraryThing's early reviewer program and to Morrow for my copy of this book.

Don't do what I did and start this late at night -- you won't want to put it down.  It's that good. Although this book isn't really a whodunit, the tension begins to build very close to the beginning and doesn't let up.

 The 19th installment in Robinson's Alan Banks series, Bad Boy begins with the discovery of a gun.  Julia Doyle contacts the police to report that she's found a gun in her daughter Erin's room, and that she was hoping to speak to Inspector Banks (a long-time friend of the Doyle family), but he's away on vacation in the US.   His partner Annie Cabbot takes the case (gun laws are very strict in the UK)  but things quickly spiral out of control and lead to a major disaster.  Erin had just recently moved back home -- she had been living with Banks' daughter Tracy (who's now going by  "Francesca") until things started heating up between Tracy and Jaff, Erin's boyfriend. Tracy, who's going through a rough patch in her relationship with her dad and in her life in general, decides to let Jaff know that the police are trying to find out where Erin got the gun. She finds herself even more attracted to Jaff,  and offers to help him out by letting him stay in her Dad's cabin -- which turns out to be a really bad decision as the two become fugitives, first from Jaff's criminal connections and then the police.  When Banks returns home, there is no time to waste -- he must find Jaff and Tracy in a hurry to prevent the worst from happening.

I have to own up to only having read the first Inspector Banks novel, so I'm at kind of a disadvantage here as far as the development of the characters and of the series stories in general.  So the big question for me is whether or not I think Bad Boy could work as a standalone novel, and I'd have to say yes. Personally, I prefer series books in the order they're written, but I think in this one, there's enough of a buzz-through kind of history offered by Robinson that overcomes the need for having read the previous 18.  My only complaint:  I figured some of the ending earlier so I wasn't too surprised, but hey, if that's the worst of it all, I can easily overlook it. 

Overall, I thought Bad Boy was quite good -- a bit on the suspenseful side, with enough twists and turns along the way to keep the pages turning -- and I look forward to books 2-18 in the series.

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