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Strange Affair
Inspector Banks #15
Peter Robinson

William Morrow
December 2016/ ISBN 978-0062431325
Mystery / British / Police Procedural

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


This latest paperback edition of the best-selling Inspector Banks Novel series features British Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks in a case that literally hits close to home. Still recovering from an unsolved case where his own house was burned to the ground, and he was trapped inside until a last-minute rescue, the last thing Banks needs right now is more stress in his life. When he receives a panicked late-night telephone call from his estranged younger brother, Roy, Banks pays him a visit the next morning. Much to his surprise, Roy’s apartment door is unlocked, his computer hard drive is missing, and Roy is nowhere in sight.

As Banks interviews neighbors and friends, and uncovers clues inside the apartment, his dark suspicions become increasingly likely: Roy has been kidnapped, may be in danger, or even worse. On the same night that Roy disappears, a beautiful young woman meets her death on the highway. Shot in the head for no apparent reason, the victim’s identity is gradually revealed. An administrator at a family planning center, she had no known enemies beyond a crazy ex-boyfriend who desperately wants her back.

Banks’s former lover, Detective Annie Cabbot, has been assigned the case, and as luck would have it, the two crimes may be connected. Even with all the twists and turns in the investigations, both cases keep returning to three main suspects: a creepy businessman who travels the lonely highways at night, a husky thug with a black ponytail, and a slippery international criminal who has yet to be caught. Banks and Cabbot work frantically to learn whether none, all, or some of the three suspects are involved in the ever-expanding case whose victims keep increasing.

Suspenseful, surprising, and disturbing, this novel digs deeper and deeper into the dark side of humanity with cruel characters who make up their own rules for getting by in life regardless of who gets physically hurt, psychologically damaged, or killed in the process. The central characters are well-rounded, and even most of the minor characters are more than mere stereotypes, with fears, desires, and their own unique motives. The story shifts from one case to another throughout the chapters to keep interest levels high in a teasing, yet not unpleasing, manner.

Well-paced, cleanly written, and meticulously plotted, Strange Affair provides another exciting installment to Peter Robinson’s series.


Reviews of other titles in this series

Cold is the Grave #11
Aftermath, #12
Close to Home #13
Playing Fire #14
Strange Affair #15 [audio] [book1 ] [book2 ]
Piece of My Heart #16
Friend of the Devil #17
All the Colors of Darkness
Bad Boy #19
In The Dark Places #22 [review 1] [review 2]
When The Music's Over #23 [review 1] [review 2]

Reviewer Leslie C. Halpern is the author of 200 Love Lessons from the Movies, Passionate About Their Work: 151 Celebrities, Artists, and Experts on Creativity, Reel Romance, Dreams on Film, and the Funny Children's Poems book series.
Reviewed 2017