Monday, April 28, 2014

Peter Robinson. Dead Right (1997)

     Peter Robinson. Dead Right (1997) A well done police procedural. DCI Alan Banks and sidekicks DC Susan Gay and DS Jim Hatchley investigate a beating death that quickly complicates into racial tensions, neo-Nazis, and drug trafficking. Office politics and personal relationships mix in for a satisfyingly complex plot with well-drawn characters that we care about. The crime puzzle’s solution does not, however, resolve Banks personal difficulties, which means the sequel(s) will have guaranteed soap-opera interest. One should not downplay this: people’s private and work lives always intersect. To leave that intersection out of a story diminishes it. For that matter, the crime itself has a far more complicated  motivation and context than at first appears. Robinson is good at showing the inevitable: a crime’s effects ripple outward and damage many more people than the victim, often including the perpetrators.
     I’d never noticed Robinson before this, but “Alan Banks” triggered interest when I spotted the book in the discard rack at the library. WGBH’s channel 44 runs the DCI Banks TV series, and so his name was stored somewhere in my internal database. The paperback cost 50 cents, worth it. I’ve already found another book at Value Village, but they charge a good deal more. ***

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