Many Rivers To Cross
by Peter Robinson brings back beloved DCI Detective Alan Banks.
Robinson seems to be the master of the “who done it”
while covering subject matters that are relevant.
Robinson noted, “I keep trying to have him in a relationship,
but he is resisting. Unfortunately, there is nothing positive
at the moment. Part of his depression is knowing he is getting
closer to retirement age and is living all alone. I think
he is more introspective. He is also depressed because of
the kind of job he does, which puts him in contact with some
of the most depressing elements of society. He takes on the
trouble that he deals with that drags him down.”
This second book in a trilogy takes over where the first book,
Careless Love, left off. Zelda, a super recognizer, is working
with law enforcement to identify those in the sex trafficking
trade from Eastern Europe. She is a survivor of that world
but still has PTSD. When she sees pictures of men who were
involved in her past, she hesitates to share that knowledge
and decides to take matters into her own hands. Zelda is also
the girlfriend of DI Annie Cabbot’s much older father,
“I want the readers to get to know Zelda and become
privy to her thoughts. They know her better than Banks. She
is a conflicted character who had terrible teenage years after
being abducted and sex-trafficked. She has PTSD and now wants
revenge; yet, strives for a peaceful life. I think the book
quote sums her up, “Because I am a woman? Because I
am a foreigner? Because I was forced into prostitution? Because
I don’t jump every time, you tell me to?” She
is trying to find her identity. I enjoy writing more about
a character’s journey than the perils along the way
that involve more of the crime.”
A parallel sub-plot is the murder of a young boy found dead
in a trash can. No one has come forth to identify the body.
Detective Banks wonders if there is a connection between this
killing and the body of a lifelong drug user. Banks is looking
for links that others miss, hoping this will give him the
break needed to crack the case.
An added bonus is the music used to facilitate Banks’
mood. Composer Takemitsuh, singers Sinatra, Vaughn, and Bach
are part of the story. Readers are always introduced to songs
that they can add to their playlist.
“I usually choose the songs as I go along. I think about
what could highlight, contrast, or underline what is going
on. If I can’t do it while writing the scene, I will
put a question mark and return later. Sometimes it just so
happens I listen to something and realize it belongs here
or there. Banks uses it to help his mood or to help him think.
For example, I used Toru Takemitsu in this book because the
sound of his music creates a certain mood with the drifting
kind of music. But he also has an arrangement of certain pop
songs that sounds strange in contrast.”
This series is very believable, and the sub-plots are fabulously
interwoven. Because it is a trilogy, there are some loose
ends left dangling. This allows readers to look forward to
the next book.