When two young men disappear, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his fellow investigators struggle to untangle a variety of clues, find connections between multiple crimes, and shine a light on dark mysteries in rural North Yorkshire, England.
I’ve been a fan of the “DCI Banks” television series for some time, but I’d never read one of the DCI Alan Banks mysteries by Peter Robinson until IN THE DARK PLACES. I was completely drawn in from the very first paragraph. Robinson’s writing style is engaging, compelling, and utterly readable. He deftly sketches distinctive characters and a sense of setting in a few sentences.
My favorite aspect of IN THE DARK PLACES is the colorful cast of characters. Interestingly, Banks doesn’t show up in the story immediately, but I was drawn in by the original mystery, by the other detectives in the Homicide and Major Crimes Unit, and the characters of the North Yorkshire area where the crimes and suspects live. As a lover of British-set mysteries and crime dramas, I have to admit that the modern English setting, insights into regional landscapes, and the use of British slang multiplied the story’s appeal. Robinson doesn’t sugar coat any of it or romanticize his characters or setting. In fact, his writing style is powerful, sometimes verging on graphic, exposing gritty undersides and the dark deeds that can be perpetrated by villains, even in charming, rural England.
The mystery and the investigation unfold at a gradual and steady pace that builds to a tense, suspenseful end. Each intriguing character who is introduced reveals a bit more of what turns out to be a surprisingly tangled web. Two apparently divergent crimes turn out to be predictably connected, but it was only the tip of novel’s iceberg style mystery—much deeper than I imagined. I didn’t mind the novel’s initial less than breakneck pace. It gave me a chance to settle in to the North Yorkshire setting, get to know the characters—detectives, crime investigators, and suspects alike—and I came to care about each of them, and thus the mystery’s resolution, more than I often do when reading a crime thriller or mystery novel. I will definitely be seeking out more of Robinson’s DCI Alan Banks novels to read.
Published in the United Kingdom and Canada as Abattoir Blues
Louise Penny calls In the Dark Places "brilliant." Tess Gerritsen says it's "thrilling." And Michael Connelly describes Peter Robinson as "amazing." One of the world's greatest suspense writers returns with this sensational new novel featuring Inspector Alan Banks, hailed by Michael Connelly as "a man for all seasons."
It's a double mystery: Two young men have vanished, and the investigation leads to two troubling clues in two different locations.
As Banks and his team scramble for answers, the inquiry takes an even darker turn when a truck careens off an icy road in a freak hailstorm. In the wreckage, rescuers find the driver, who was killed on impact, as well as another body—a body that was dead well before the crash.
Snow falls. The body count rises. And Banks, perceptive and curious as ever, feels himself being drawn deeper into a web of crime, and at its center something—or someone—dark and dangerous lying in wait.
Vibrating with tension, ingeniously plotted, and filled with soul and poignancy, In the Dark Places is a remarkable achievement from this masterful talent.