The story begins with a stolen tractor, hardly a job for DCI Banks and his Homicide and Major Crimes team, but the new police commissioner has put rural crime high on her agenda. At the same time, an apparent crime scene is discovered in an old hangar at an abandoned World War II airfield. In addition, two local lads are missing. One of them lives in a caravan, which is burned to the ground one night, and the other’s girlfriend receives an unwelcome visit from someone impersonating a police officer. Just as Banks and his team are getting a grip on all these incidents, a motor accident in a freak hailstorm turns up a gruesome discovery that spins the investigation into high gear. Soon it seems that not even the investigators themselves are safe during the race against time that follows.
I always feel like Peter Robinson is one of those crime writers that always manages to write really well, and creates convincing, interesting characters in his DCI Alan Banks series. Therefore I was really shocked that he wasn’t included anywhere in the Top 20 list of WH Smith’s ‘Best Crime & Thriller Authors Of All Time’ (though I was pleased that Peter James topped the list- read my blog post about it here) as this list is voted by readers and I think he’s written some brilliant novels to date.
Abattoir Blues (or In The Dark Places as it’s called being in America) is the newest DCI Alan Banks novel and follows the much-loved detective as he tries to track down the killer/s of two men, and subsequently thrown into the world of slaughterhouses and murder.
The story has a good amount of twists and turns and keeps you guessing as to how and why certain elements are connected. I definitely didn’t guess the ending and enjoyed reading about Banks piecing he puzzle together, as I always do! The story isn’t quite as engrossing as previous novels have been though- in my opinion the atmosphere isn’t quite as well crafted as usual, but the characters are as charming as ever. The writing and plot is great; the story is complex and moves at a fast pace that never left me feeling bored.
Robinson’s research is, as always, top notch and the story’s policing skills are completely convincing. I always forget that Robinson is not English, then I’ll read a particular word that reminds me of this, but nevertheless the character of Banks always makes me think of an English detective (like Peter James’ character Detective Roy Grace). From the knowledge he must have of Policing, I imagine that- at 22 books into this series- Peter Robinson could solve a murder as well as any trained Policeman (well, probably…!)
Reading about these well-loved characters is like visiting old friends every time a new one of these novels comes out!
Ultimately it comes down to the fact that the standard of Robinson’s books are just so high that this one didn’t quite impress me as much as I expected, but it is still a very good read!
Abattoir Blues is released in the UK on 11th August 2015.
** Many thanks to the Publisher for an Advance Reading Copy of this book in return for an honest review. **
Are you a Peter Robinson fan? Which novel is your favourite?