Peter Robinson has written another Inspector Alan Banks mystery. The police culture in England has changed over the years. In the 21st century Alan Banks discovers that the local hoods don't seem to have the police in their pockets in order to maintain power over their small town constituency. This discovery opens his case wide open.
Alan and his friend Graham saw a lot of action together that summer in 1965. Teenagers love the fair, the beach,
records, dances and girls. He remembers that Graham always had money, which allowed them the freedom to have fun. As an adult, Inspector Banks seems to remember a lot of things about his friendship with Graham, especially after bones are found in a grave when a local building is razed. The coroner identifies the remains as those of Allan's friend, Graham, who had mysteriously disappeared over 35 years ago.
The author takes the reader on an investigation roller coaster as he portrays a current missing persons case within the jurisdiction where Allan Banks works. A young teenage boy, Luke Armitage, has disappeared. Finding him reveals secrets similar to the ones Inspector Banks discovers about his boyhood friend. Luke and Graham become one. Two kids lost in a grown-up world where needs and emotions are bigger than theirs; stronger and more complex than they can comprehend. Alan Banks discovers for himself that many of those adolescent emotions do not die, even as we become adults, unless they are acknowledged and assuaged.
This report prepared by Dorothy Halligan
Morrow, Feb 2003, 24.95, 400 pp.
Though he is vacationing in Greece to get away from the griminess of police work, English Detective Inspector Alan Banks follows the news reports from home. He is stunned when he learns that an excavator has dug up the skeletal remains of a teenage boy near his hometown of Petersborough. He knows the victim is his childhood friend Graham Marshal missing since 1965. Just before the disappearance, Alan feels guilty because a stranger assaulted him, but he escaped and never reported the incident to his family or the police.
Alan cannot ignore the investigation so he returns home. There he learns that fifteen-year-old Luke Armitage is missing and his former girlfriend Annie Cabbot is working the case. Fearing the worst for Luke and feeling he owes Graham, Alan dives into both inquiries in an attempt to relieve some of the remorse he has carried for too many years.
CLOSE TO HOME is an exhilarating police procedural that plays out on several levels besides the obvious dual investigations. Alan is a complex character who seemed on the verge of burn out until his conscience makes him cut short his R&R. The rest of the cast provides depth whether they played chess with the protagonist in Greece or are involved in the inquiries in England. With novels like this character driven compelling who-done-it and AFTERMATH, fans will appreciate the skills of Peter Robinson, who is bound to become regarded on both sides of the Atlantic.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner