On a warm summer night, an attractive woman hurtles north in a blue Peugeot with a hastily scrawled address in her pocket, while, back in London, a desperate man leaves an urgent late-night phone message on his brother's answering machine. By sunrise the next morning, the woman is found inside her car along an otherwise peaceful country lane, shot, execution-style, through the head.
Welcome to the idyllic Yorkshire Dales, where Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot arrives on the scene and discovers, to her surprise, a slip of paper in the dead woman's pocket that bears the name of her colleague and erstwhile lover, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Banks, meanwhile -- already haunted and withdrawn after nearly dying in the fire that destroyed his home -- has gone missing just when he's needed most, and has left plenty of questions behind.
As Annie struggles to determine whether or not Banks is safe -- and what role he may have played in the woman's murder -- Banks himself investigates the mysterious disappearance of his estranged brother, Roy, whose late-night call for help brings Banks back to London. Working from Roy's swank apartment, Banks makes the rounds to Roy's old haunts and slowly inhabits the life of his younger brother -- the black sheep of the family, who always seemed to sail a little too close to the wind. As the trail of clues about Roy's life and associations draws Banks into a dark circle of conspiracy and corruption, mobsters and murder, Banks suddenly realizes he's running out of time to save Roy, and by digging too deep, he may be exposing himself and his family to the same -- possibly deadly -- danger.
"A skillful writer."
"Deeply nuanced works of art."
"Exquisitely complex and atmospheric."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Flawless plotting and superbly drawn characters..[Robinson] is a master craftsman."
"Taut, carefully thought out.with plots that are refreshingly clich-free."
-Time Out London
-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Robinson is on a winning streak."
"The equal of legends in the genre such as P.D. James and Ruth Rendell."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The best Banks book in years."
"Fascinating....Robinson, with his usual deft touch and unblinking eye, brings the story to an unexpectedly gut-wrenching conclusion."
"Different and intriguing."
"A damn fine crime novel...like a master class in crime fiction."
"A fast-moving story [with] some knockout scenery and an assemblage of delicately drawn characters."
-Raleigh News & Observer
-Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"If you haven't read Robinson .... what on Earth is stopping you? .... A clever and entertaining thriller."
"First-rate . an addictive crime series . bet you can't read just one."
-Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Smart and shapely ... immaculately constructed."
-Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"Robinson shows he's a master ... mixes a gritty plot with intense character studies....Consistently compelling."
"Cunning.authentic and atmospheric."
-The Independent (London)
"Psychologically acute fiction."
"Stunningly complex and intricately plotted....Peter Robinson fools and entertains me with every twist."
"A happy discovery."
-Lady Antonia Fraser in the London Sunday Times
"An engaging pleasure . . . like red wine, [Banks] gets better and more interesting with age."
"Complex and intelligent."
-Sunday Times (London)
Peter Robinson is:"A gifted creator of fully fleshed and vividly present characters."
"The Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series now on the market."
"Absorbing.Robinson continues to stretch the boundaries of the standard procedural."
"Robinson actually seems to grow in front of our eyes, delivering books of greater complexity each time."
-San Diego Union-Tribune
"Robinson has won just about every mystery award there is..His latest shows why."
-Booklist (starred review)