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The DCI's daughter
Bad Boy - Peter Robinson
Member Name: CPTDANIELS
Bad Boy - Peter Robinson
Advantages: Well thought out support Characters
Disadvantages: Slow story that missed DCI Banks influence
I have for several years admired the writings of Peter Robinson. In particular I have always enjoyed the Chief Inspector Banks Detective stories. So when I recently earnt enough points to received an Amazon voucher and there was a book in this series I hadn't read, there was no real decision to make, I knew I had to purchase it.
==About the author:==
Peter Robinson is an English crime author born in 1950. He has enjoyed great success with his DCI Banks stories and this is the 19th in the series. Robinson has won many awards for his pieces of fiction including in 2002 the CWA Dagger Award. This series has now been in my opinion very successfully transferred to television.
==Synopsis of the book:==
The picturesque town of Eastvale in Yorkshire should be quiet, especially as its maverick Detective DCI Alan Banks is out of the country. Surely nothing will happen while he goes to America trying to make sense of another failed relationship. Live however is never like that and while the cat is away the mice are definitely going to play.
However it is when an ex-neighbour of Banks's arrives in a distressed state the fun begins. After discovering he is away and after much coaxing from his assistant DI Annie Cabbot, Julie Doyle confides in her that while cleaning her daughter room in her house she has found a gun and doesn't know what to do about it, hence why she has asked for her old neighbour to help and to advise her.
After a discussion with her senior management team, it is agreed they must follow procedures laid down and call in the Armed Response Team to get the gun from the house. The house only has the daughter Erin and her father in it and when no reply is heard the the Team go in. However in the operation Erin's father is shot by a taser and dies as a result of a heart attack. This will lead to an internal investigation and the Police needing to find out what this ex-university girl is doing with this weapon. This is where the trouble for Banks and his team really starts as one of Erin's flatmates is Banks's daughter Tracy, surely she can't be implicated as surely she must know better?
==My thoughts on this book:==
Before I read this book I thought I would love any book written by Peter Robinson starring DCI Banks, but I was wrong. As I actually thought this was quite a disappointing Detective story. And for anyone new to these books I would certainly not start here. I think you would find this book slow going and even wonder about the credibility of what you where reading. This is because a very simple and in theory easy to manage situation leads to a complex and deadly chain of events.
I think it is far to say that this is an unusual Detective story. My reason for saying this is because for half the story the Police investigation does not involve the star of this series DCI Banks. Indeed the only time he is involved is to advise the reader about what he is doing on his holiday in America. This for a big fan of the Detective like me is odd, yes it is good to know what is happening in his life but I would prefer to see him do what he does best and what I read these books for. So for me there was definitely something missing in this story.
This for me was a brave thing to do from a very talented author. As on the positive side it allowed the reader to learn a lot more about Banks's Team. The ones who are involved in previous books but ones you don't necessarily know too much about. By doing this you got to know, understand more about them and their thinking. For someone who has read these books before I think this is fine but for a new reader to the series I think this would be confusing and mat not really make much sense.
For me this approach while interesting went on too long. I am happy for DCI Banks not to be on every page of the story and to learn more about his team but I thought it would be better to have him back involved long before he finally resurfaced. As without him I found the story a little disjointed as the story moved from what the Police where doing, what his daughter was doing, which was related to the story to what Banks was doing on holiday in America, which was not related or important to the main story.
Maybe as a result of this I found the story for the first half was quite slow. I often criticise author's for their lack of depth, but is it possible to have too much depth and detail? As for me this story had too much, it slowed everything down and left me waiting for something to happen. The level of detail I felt gave you too much of a picture and I felt like I had too much information and some of it was not relevant to the story.
Yet I really liked the concept behind the story. And having heard a lot about Banks's daughter Tracy mainly through his own thoughts about her, I welcomed her inclusion. The idea that she could get involved with criminals and she should know better sounded good, although in the back of my mind I wondered if this was realistic.
This concept was explained in a little more detail in the very short summary on the reverse of the book. It wet my appetite but I would have liked more detail as such a short summary really did not do the book justice and many other readers would need more information before making their buying decision. Although at the same time I was impressed by the array of compliments by other respected authors and Newspapers about this story in particular.
The story when I started it I felt was slow as it seemed to takes ages for the mother of Erin to explain why she wanted to see DCI Banks. And while I found this all well written and interesting the chain of events that resulted from this I really found unbelievable. Maybe I am wrong in this and I will not give any more away of the story I just felt I didn't believe in it and it really stretched the bounds of credibility.
There where aspects to the story what where good and the main thrust of it was good it was just the problem I had of one action leading to a domino effect that was far more serious and complicated. However I found because as always the author is good at creating a variety of multi dimensional characters I was always interested to learn all about them as see how they they would deal with what was happening either to them or around them.
What I did find very strange was in this book they talked about doing things by the book, following laid down guidelines. Yet there where at least two occasions in the story where members of various Police units including Banks's clearly went against this and I found it hard to believe this could happen twice.
The story was for me long and winding and it had a lot of depth to it, so when the resolution to it was very unexpectedly quick and easy I felt more than a little cheated having waded through all the build up to it. For me it seemed all wrong and had I blinked I would have missed it. It certainly did not live up to my expectations and I thought an author of the calibre of Peter Robinson would have come up with something much cleverer and well thought out.
With the last 30 or so pages dealing with all the fall out from the story. Dealing with the after mouth of what had happened and putting back together relationships that had been impacted by what happened in the story. It was like a very long epilogue and while some answers where necessary I thought it was too detailed, too long and a lot of it was not required. For me a longer solution would have been far more desirable as the book had created a lot of suspense and then just let it all go far too quickly.
For me DCI Banks will always be a fascinating lead character. I admire him and feel there is quite a lot of him in most of us. He is always so well described in both his thoughts and actions, I feel like he is an old friend I want to catch up with. So when less than half of the story involves him I was bound to be disappointed especially as his contribution to the solution was quite minimal. But by doing this was the author being realistic, showing he was just a very normal man who as well as making mistakes when it comes down to it is very human as well?
For me the most impressive feature of this story was the depth of the support characters, although in Banks's absence some of these really became more than that. I really feel he creates excellent characters that are very easy to remember and with characteristics it is easy to understand even if you cannot always relate to them, well the baddies anyway!! He always is at pains to demonstrate that modern Police work is complex and every action has a consequence which I think is very realistic.
For me the length of the story was too long. The author spent too much time setting the scene and not enough dealing with the resolution to it. As a simple discovery lead to a massive chain of events that was wide ranging with a solution that was disappointing and far to short. In short he got most of it wrong up to and including the ending of the story that was again too long and I felt the majority was unimportant and added nothing to the story.
Price: 3.79 new at Amazon
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Year first published: 2011
More about the author: www.inspectorbanks.com
For me this was by far the poorest book I have read within the DCI Banks series of detective stories.
Admittedly it was a slightly different approach, which for me just did not work. I would not recommend it and while I was pleased I had read it, it was none the less a big disappointment to me. This series of stories are built around Banks so only having him involved in the case from halfway onwards was in my opinion the wrong decision.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS March 2012.
Summary: Disappointing thriller