Close to Home : A Novel of Suspense by Peter Robinson
Having already shown, in 1999's In a Dry Season, that he can plumb historical homicide for gripping modern drama, Peter Robinson goes further in Close to Home, telling parallel stories about teenage boys lost in a grownup world, decades apart. The first is Graham Marshall, a childhood pal of Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, who vanished mysteriously in 1965, the supposed victim of a pedophile. Hearing that Graham's bones have finally been unearthed, Banks quits his vacation in Greece and heads to his hometown of Petersborough, England, hoping to assist the investigation--and, perhaps, assuage his guilt over his friends fate. Meanwhile, Banks's colleague and ex-lover, Annie Cabbot, is busy probing the recent disappearance of 15-year-old Luke Armitage, the sensitive, brainy son of a rock star who committed suicide during Luke's infancy. After Cabbot catches hell for interrupting what may or may not have been a legitimate ransom payment for Luke's return, she seeks Banks's advice, drawing these two plot lines neatly together.
As this intense and intricately crafted puzzler develops, blending fiction with a bit of fact (the Kray brothers, who ran a criminal ring in London's East End during the mid-20th century, play off-camera roles here), Robinson explores Banks's troubled relationship with his parents, especially his working-class father, who "had never approved of his choice of career." He also raises doubts about a famed copper whod originally tackled the Marshall case, involves Banks romantically with a damaged detective whose investigative diligence threatens her safety, and shows Cabbot as someone better and stronger than merely Banks's protégé. Working with themes of lost youth and the dark secrets hidden in small towns, Robinson delivers in this 13th Banks novel a police procedural of remarkable human depth. --J. Kingston Pierce
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Strong Finish, May 30, 2003
from New Jersey USA
Peter Robinson's Close to Home is an excellent crime/suspense novel that actually gets stronger as it goes along. The novel concerns the unexplained deaths of two teenage boys, over thirty years apart. Inspector Banks returns home from a Greek vacation to deal with the discovery of the bones of one of his old classmates who had been missing since the mid-sixties. The story of this murder is juxtaposed with the story of a young man who has disappeared and is soon discovered dead. The novel is full of suspense and plenty of red herrings. It's an enjoyable read, especially at the end. Frankly at the start I was a little wary. I've read a couple newly-discovered bones mysteries lately, and wasn't exactly searching for another, but this one keeps getting stronger as it goes along to its satisfying finish. Enjoy.