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As a teenager in 1965, Chief Inspector Alan Banks was traumatized by the disappearance of his best friend, Graham Marshall. When Graham's decayed bones are discovered 40 years later, those old demons are reawakened. At the same time, Banks is heading a probe into the apparent kidnapping and murder of another troubled teenager, Luke Armitage. The Summer That Never Was, the latest in Peter Robinson's bestselling, Arthur Ellis Award-winning Inspector Banks series (Aftermath, Cold Is the Grave), explores the two cases in parallel, and the reader eagerly waits to discover their possible connection.
Unlike many thriller writers, Robinson doesn't rely on terse prose to fuel the narrative. His smooth style is colourfully descriptive and easy to relax into. Think of it as the equivalent of sipping a pint on the patio of an English pub, one of Banks's favourite occupations. As the suspense builds and the plot takes as many twists and turns as a road through the Yorkshire dales, Robinson is not afraid to detour into further character development, whether it's the tense relationship between Banks and his father or the ongoing grief of his new colleague, D.I. Michelle Hart.
Robinson, raised in Yorkshire but based in Toronto, has sometimes been compared to Ian Rankin, who actually contributes a quote on this book's dust jacket. The two share an ability to evoke time and place with real eloquence, and each writer loves to mix in musical references to help define their characters. Robinson does this very freely here, and with real accuracy. From '60s crooner Val Doonican through dead cult heroes Nick Drake and Ian Curtis to current singer-songwriters Nick Lowe and David Gray (two of Banks's faves), he never misses a beat. Similarly, his cultural references to the England of both the mid-'60s and the present day are spot-on. The Summer That Never Was is the 13th Inspector Banks novel, but there's nothing unlucky about it. Any lover of well-written detective thrillers will feel fortunate to encounter it. --Kerry Doole --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
In this 12th novel to feature Det. Chief Insp. Alan Banks, the brooding Yorkshire policeman is called back to England from holiday when someone discovers the remains of his old childhood friend Graham Marshall, who disappeared from their hometown in 1965. It's a journey back to Banks's own past and the provincial town of Peterborough, where he assists Michelle Hart, a local detective, on the case. He's also advising his colleague (and former lover) Annie Cabbot as she investigates the more recent disappearance of another teenager: Luke Armitage, the introverted, intellectual son of a British rock star who committed suicide when Luke was a baby. Like P.D. James, Robinson works on a large, intricately detailed canvas (sometimes too detailed-even the minor figures get at least a thumbnail sketch). The plot is richly complex, with lots of forensic science, a fair bit of English criminal history (the Kray brothers, legendary '60s-era London East End gangsters, make an appearance) and some internecine police department feuds. There's a fair amount of action and lots of suspense; someone doesn't want Hart or Banks to pursue the decades-old case, and Cabbot has her hands full with a plethora of unsavory suspects in the Armitage case. Along the way, Robinson probes more abstract ideas: the illusory nature of nostalgia; the dark, secret lives of small towns; middle age; and the oft-lamented challenges of going home again. This satisfying and subtle police procedural has a little bit of everything.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.