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In the Dark Places
Inspector Banks #22
Peter Robinson

William Morrow
July 2016/ ISBN 978-0062240569
Suspense / British / Police

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


Published in the United Kingdom and Canada with the title Abbatoir Blues, this cold wintry tale (now released in softcover) delivers plenty of thrills and chills. Inspector Alan Banks and his team of detectives tour bloody slaughterhouses, unfriendly farmhouses, and dangerous slums in this murder mystery set in England’s sparsely populated countryside.

The story begins with the disturbing discovery of a pile of human remains found by a disabled veteran walking his dog near an abandoned hangar. Then a wealthy farmer in the area reports an expensive tractor has been stolen from his farm, and the most likely suspect has gone missing. To complicate things further, a horrific truck accident during a hailstorm reveals the driver had been transporting dismembered animals and human body parts. Banks wonders if these strange events are connected to a large-scale criminal operation, and assigns his team various angles to pursue in the case to identify the unifying element.

Icy cold weather and bleak conditions permeate the story to create a distinctive mood that’s highly effective for a murder mystery. The book combines intrigue and suspense with undercurrents of horror when police find an illegal abattoir, and romance when a lonely detective lets her guard down with a witness/potential suspect.

Amid frightening scenes of deception, intimidation, torture and death, the best-selling author includes much-appreciated lightness by including a queasy animal-loving vegetarian as one of the detectives who must tour the slaughterhouse facilities. Fans of Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series won’t be disappointed with this latest sinister, but sophisticated, selection: In the Dark Places.

Reviewed 2016