Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson

In the Dark Places (Inspector Banks, Book #22)
by Peter Robinson
Release Date: August 11th 2015
2015 William Morrow
Ebook Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062240545

Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

It's a double mystery: two young men have vanished, and the investigation leads to two troubling clues in two different locations.

As Inspector Banks and his team scramble for answers, the inquiry takes an even darker turn when a truck careens off an icy road in a freak hailstorm. In the wreckage, rescuers find the driver, who was killed on impact, as well as another corpse . . . that of someone who was dead well before the crash.

Snow falls. The body count rises. And Banks, perceptive and curious as ever, feels himself being drawn deeper into a web of crime . . . and at its center something—or someone—dark and dangerous lying in wait.

My Thoughts
In the Dark Places, originally published in January 2014 as Abattoir Blues, is the twenty-second novel in the Inspector Banks Series.  I enjoyed this one far more than the previous novel, and I continue to like the fact that the author wastes no time getting into the story, relying on your own knowledge of previous events and characters so there is no long drawn-out explanation of characters and events and why people are behaving the way they are. There is this acceptance that you already know what is going on, and it's left at that.  

As always, it's the development of the characters that continues to draw me into this series.  The author creates characters with many different types of personality quirks and that keeps them interesting, considering this is now book 22 in the series.  In this book, Inspector Banks takes a bit of a backseat role and the author allows some of the other characters to shine; team member DS Winsome Jackman took over in this scenario and it was great to get to know her a bit better.  Perhaps the author will allow the new relationship she develops in this novel to grow and it is definitely something I would love to see happen.  As always, I enjoy Annie Cabbot's view on things as she is far more prickly and sensitive to people and situations; she also seems to be developing a softer side which is kind of interesting.  

The mystery itself though, was intelligent and well-crafted.  It's a nice break from some of the so-called suspense novels that are full of car chases and stuff that is blown up continuously as you don't see any of that kind of thing in here.  The characters are just plain, simple folk who got caught up in events that spiraled out of hand and didn't know who to turn to when they needed help.  Perhaps they crossed a line or two, then realized things were much bigger and more serious than they understood and didn't know how to get out of their situation.  In this case, the events had to do with the illegal abattoirs (slaughterhouses) as well as the illegal transport of farming equipment out of the United Kingdom.  There were many threads to this story, and I liked how the author used police procedural to pull all of them together in the end; all of it done through hard work by the detectives and investigative work which is why this series draws me back time and again.  

In the Dark Places is an intelligent mystery that can definitely be read as a stand-alone.  It must be said however, that if you are squeamish, you might want to give this one great thought before reading it as it made even me consider becoming vegetarian, and I don't eat a lot of red meat to begin with.  The descriptions of the abattoirs add a unique and necessary element to this mystery, but they're not for everyone.  The dialogue is witty and the development of the characters continues along nicely, although I don't think Banks new amour will last too much longer.  I'm actually glad to see Winsome stand out in this one as it's not always necessary anymore for Banks to be the standout character. That being said however, I am still glad the author included his musical selections as they work so well with what is happening and I even look forward to checking a few of them out.