Jack Reacher, November Man, Bond and Bourne are all thriller series I’d thoroughly recommend and after reading Cold Is the Grave by Peter Robinson I would add the Inspector Banks novels to that list.
Cold Is the Grave is the eleventh outing for Inspector Banks.
Detective Inspector Banks’s relationship with Chief Constable Riddle has always been strained. So Banks is more than a little surprised when Riddle summons him late one night and begs for his help.
For Riddle, Banks’s new case is terrifyingly close to home. Six months ago his sixteen-year old daughter ran away to London, where she has fallen into a turbulent world of drugs and pornography. With his reputation threatened, Riddle wants Banks to use his unorthodox methods to find her without fuss. But before he knows it, Banks is investigating murder …
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks had never had a good relationship with Chief Constable 'Jimmy' Riddle, so he was more than surprised when the Chief Constable summoned him late one night and begged for his help. Six months previously Riddle's daughter, sixteen year old Emily, ran away to London and became involved with drugs and pornography. Riddle wants Banks to go to London and find his daughter – and try to persuade her to return home. He also wants Banks to go as a private individual rather than as a policeman. Banks agrees to go; he knows how he would have felt if the same thing had happened to his daughter Tracy.
Emily Riddle, sixteen going on thirty, ran away from home after leaving her parents in disarray. She made demands of them and then when they gave her what she wanted she loathed them all the more for it. Banks finds her living with a thug named Barry Clough, but he has had other names. Clough is a gangster with a rock star image of himself and a penchant for underage girls. After posing as her father Banks extracts the girl, dodges a potentially career ending temptation to sleep with her, and returns the girl to her parents.
One month later she is found dead in a nightclub toilet , murdered by a mixture of cocaine and strychnine. Banks finds it difficult to stand back and be objective. It becomes personal to him and Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe has to warn Banks,
‘Don’t let anger and a desire for revenge cloud your judgement? Look clearly at the evidence, the facts before you make any moves. Don’t go off half-cocked the way you’ve done in the past’. (page 192)
He and his team, including Detective Sergeant Annie Cabot, are also investigating the death of Charlie Courage, a small-time crook. Their investigations take them from their base in Eastvale, Yorkshire down to London, Stony Stratford, and Leicestershire, with links to crime in Northumbria. At first this seems to be unrelated to Emily’s death but Banks begins to suspect that the two cases may be linked.
More complications follow with blackmail, another death and suicide, but eventually Banks and Annie work their way through the maze of events. Banks, though, has more victims of crime to add to those that bother his sleep with feelings of guilt, thinking that he should have dug deeper, and that he could have prevented the murders. He knew there was ‘ and realises that Emily’s death was ‘murder from a distance, perhaps even death by proxy, which made it all the more bloody to solve.’ (page 271)
Weaving together threads of plot from characters pasts, presents and futures, Robinson builds a case that involves more than just one crime and more than just one character. This was a great 'who-dunnit' from beginning to end, with plot twist’s that always ensure your best guesses will be wrong.
This is the 11th book in the Inspector Banks series and refers back to incidents in previous books. It’s not too difficult to follow if you haven’t read all the others (as I haven’t) but I think it would help and I wish that I had. It’s also a bit too long for my liking .However, this is still a good read and I’ve already moved on to my next Inspector Banks novel ‘A strange Affair’