Bad Boy by Peter Robinson

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Bad Boy by Peter Robinson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The 19th DCI Banks story see Banks' daughter held hostage by the ultimate bad boy. A good read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416/12h10m Date: August 2010
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-0340836958

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What do you do when you find a loaded gun in your adult daughter's bedroom? It's difficult to pretend that you haven't seen it and besides, it's dangerous. This was the problem which faced an old neighbour of DCI Alan Banks, Juliet Doyle, and her solution was to pop along to the police station and ask if Alan could sort it out. Only Banks was on holiday: had he not been, an innocent man might still be alive and Banks' daughter Tracy might not be on the run with a wanted man.

Tracy Banks is going through a bad patch in her life. She's never felt as important as her brother Brian, who's a well-regarded and successful musician and she prefers that people don't know what her father does. Despite her university education she's working in Waterstones in Leeds - telling people where to find the latest Katie Price - and whilst it doesn't seem to worry anyone else it worries her. She deals with this by being rebellious and that's why she gets involved with her flatmate's boyfriend. Even this doesn't seem too extreme until she ends up fleeing with him from - well, she's not entirely certain what she's running from, but she takes him to her father's cottage up in the dales.

It's not easy to make Tracy Banks seem credible, but Peter Robinson has managed it. At one point I was sure that Tracy would never have gone along with what happened, but I went back and examined each point at which she could (should!) have done something different and every time her actions were consistent with her state of mind and her nature - that of a 24-year-old woman, going on 14 in terms of maturity. Banks himself is away on holiday for most of the action and I wondered if the story would falter because of this, but it didn't - and even when Annie Cabbot is out of action the story still holds together well - a tribute not just to a well-crafted book but to a well-crafted series.

Rather than read the book I listened to an audio download, which I bought myself. The narrator was Mark Hadfield. I've listened to two later books in the series narrated by Simon Slater and although I found the different range of voices disconcerting at first I quickly adjusted and enjoyed the narration. All the voices came over well and I was never in any doubt about who was speaking. I'd happily listen to more from Hadfield.

The DCI Alan Banks books all read reasonably well as stand alones: you might get odd hints about what has gone before but not to the extent that it spoils your enjoyment if you subsequently read an earlier book. However, if you do want to read the books in order (and it is better) we have a chronological list.

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