Sunday, February 10, 2019

Review: Carless Love by Peter Robinson

Carless Love (Inspector Banks, Book #25)
by Peter Robinson
Release Date: February 12th 2019
2019 William Morrow
Kindle Edition; 320 Pages
ISBN: 978-1444786996
ASIN: B0746LN968
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5 / 5 Stars

Summary
A young local student has apparently committed suicide. Her body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. She didn't own a car. Didn't even drive. How did she get there? Where did she die? Who moved her, and why?

Meanwhile a man in his sixties is found dead in a gully up on the wild moorland. He is wearing an expensive suit and carrying no identification. Post-mortem findings indicate he died from injuries sustained during the fall. But what was he doing up there? And why are there no signs of a car in the vicinity?

As the inconsistencies multiply and the mysteries proliferate, Annie's father's new partner, Zelda, comes up with a shocking piece of information that alerts Banks and Annie to the return of an old enemy in a new guise. This is someone who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get what he wants - and suddenly the stakes are raised and the hunt is on.


My Thoughts
Careless Love is the latest in a long line of Inspector Banks books and I usually look forward to these books with pleasure.  Lately though, it has been with a bit of trepidation as I just felt they weren't up to their usual snuff, and unfortunately, this one fell into that same list.  I tried to like it, I really did, but I just...didn't.

First of all, the actual story is intriguing, or perhaps I should say, parallel stories. If they were written in a different way, with less ho-hum procedural work that I normally love but just set my teeth on edge, the story could have been quite good and suspenseful. However, the first one was very easy to figure out, and the second one actually goes nowhere.  While I don't usually have an issue with secondary story lines continuing in a series, the way it was done didn't quite work out for me and I was left feeling a bit let down.  

Now, I have really enjoyed this series for years, and I am always willing to give a series another shot when there is a book that I don't really enjoy, but I really feel like this series has been going downhill for a little while. I have always enjoyed the issues this series has brought to attention, but lately, I am feeling a bit discouraged when it comes to character development.  I don't typically have an issue when it comes to relationships in books, but lately, it just feels a bit...ageist.  The author does try to justify the reasons behind why Annie's father is in a relationship with a young 30 something, drop-dead gorgeous Russian woman, while Annie herself has been interested in Banks for a long time.  Banks himself often ruminates over his old flames, a lot of them half his age.  It gets old fast, sorry for the pun.  

Normally, the actual procedural work is well done, and quite suspenseful, leaving the reader to figure out the events in the murder / mystery.  In this one, the suspense is lacking, and the interviews and procedural work felt a bit sloppy.  Banks seemed to spend an awful amount of time in pubs and the like, and I grew frustrated with what was happening.  Typically, the banter between the characters has been quite good, but everyone seemed to be on edge in this one.  When such high standards have already been set in earlier novels, I guess attaining those standards can sometimes be difficult.

Verdict
Careless Love has some interesting and intriguing ideas, but they just don't work.  And while I love the setting, and usually love the procedural work in a Robinson novel, it just fell a bit flat in this one, losing focus in unnecessary details that I think were meant as an attempt to develop characters but ended up being more annoying than anything.  Every series tends to have its downturn and the last few books have definitely not been up to the par we've seen in earlier books.  And I definitely do not recommend starting with this book. Start at the beginning and see why so many people liked the earlier novels, including myself.  I am willing to attempt another novel and see what happens, but if it's the same as this one, sadly I think Inspector Banks and I will part ways.