When the body of a young girl is found in a remote countryside lane, evidence suggests she was drugged, abused and thrown from a moving van - before being beaten to death. While DI Annie Cabbot investigates the circumstances in which a 14-year-old could possibly fall victim to such a crime, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Alan Banks must do the same - but the crime Banks is investigating is the coldest of cases.
Fifty years ago Linda Palmer was attacked by celebrity entertainer Danny Caxton, yet no investigation ever took place. Now Caxton stands accused at the centre of a historical abuse investigation, and it's Banks' first task as superintendent to find out the truth. As more women step forward with accounts of Caxton's manipulation, Banks must piece together decades-old evidence.
With his investigation uncovering things from the past that would rather stay hidden, he will be led down a path even darker than the one he set out to investigate....
©2016 Eastvale Enterprises, Inc c/o David Grossman Literary Agency Ltd (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton
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"Bang up to the minute!"
This is the 23rd of Peter Robinson's DCI Banks criminal investigations - and it could not be more of the moment. The two strands are the murder of 15 year-old Mimsie Moffat, thrown out naked into the darkness from a vehicle containing three Asian men, and the conviction of Danny Caxton, now in his eighties but one-time big name in the pop industry - and serial rapist.
What the author does extremely well is make a cracking good, meaty story out of these all too familiar themes, but without tabloid sensationalism. The various characters provide the stereotypical reactions to these kinds of events - such as saying that Mimsie and Linda Palmer, Paxton's virgin victim 50 years ago, were well up for it and deserved what they got - whilst the back stories as they emerge develop the realities of their lives. The social situations which have produced young girls like Mimsie susceptible to older Asian men's flattery and gifts are explored with subtlety and understanding, as well as the Asian men's views and experiences. Linda Palmer's family holiday in Blackpool which ended with her life-changing rape is vividly presented through her teenage diaries; Danny Caxton's past is gradually unwrapped and found to contain worse than rape. Through this fiction, hard-hitting and difficult social issues are explored with a vigour and toughness not generally found in the Press. At the same time, the author gives us understanding of the complexities and problems involved in the minds and experiences of the different people which make up our troubled society.
I gave overall 4 and not 5 because I found it rather long. Some tightening up (eg shortening some of the interviews) would have increased the intensity without sacrificing any of the content.
"The topical crimes brought to life"
It’s hard to believe that this is the 23rd Detective Banks novel. I’ve read or listened to them all and am glad to say that in the present book the author has maintained his high standard of story-telling. Though a crime and detection novel this particular book, more than the others, delves deeply into social, and racial issues around two story lines of topics recently much in the news: historical sexual assaults by celebrities and grooming of underage white girls by older, Asian men. The latter storyline occupies more of the book as the author illustrates the social backgrounds of vulnerable young people who get sucked into binge drinking, drugs and sexual exploitation. Not the usual fare of crime novels but creates a more interesting listen that makes one think about the factors that lead to youngsters becoming easy prey.
I find the author’s predilection for digressions into the musical tastes of his characters, mainly DCI Banks, tedious, but that’s a minor irritation in an otherwise gripping novel with thought-provoking themes given more substance by being populated by well-rounded characters.
The narrator is excellent giving different accents to the various characters that adds to the impression that one is listening to real stories.
"cracking, pacey murder mystery"
Good plot and well drawn characters. I enjoyed listening to this.
Very contempoary themes regarding the tensions between immigrant cultures.
This was a great challenging almost uncomfortable story and would have felt really current if not for the shocking narration... this chap portrayed every character as they were in a pre 1950's serial. The women were wholly patronised despite being very strong characters as you could imagine them wearing bonnets - that's a metaphor for something I think, the West Indian accent was insulting and men were completely unreal! I nearly stopped listening out of principal several times but I really did want to know who done it!
"ll good book spoilt by the narrator's heavy breath"
Couldn't continue after chapter one on second reading because of the very audible inhalations. most off putting despite the good story
"I loved this book"
The book contained difficult subject matter and it was handled sensitively, but it wasn't too heavy and it certainly wasn't predictable. It was a very enjoyable listen and it kept me interested and entertained all the way through. The narrator was very good.
"An enjoyable read but with a few caveats"
Yes, but I would recommend that to get the most enjoyment from it you would be better starting on the earlier books to acquaint yourself with the characters
Death in the Dales
One of the worst traits of Peter Robinson's books are when he has to go on about Bank's musical tastes which have become boring, on the written page you can just skip the paragraph but in a talking book it is not that easy. Ian Rankin talks about Rebus's taste in music but does it in far less intrusive way. Another sad factor is that in the earlier books Robinson went on about unlike a policeman Banks was and often wore his hair over his collar which made Stephen Tomkinson just about the worlds worst casting in the role for TV.. Now Robinson talks about his close cropped hair and I guess by the next book he will have grown five inches and look every bit the policeman in plain clothes, in other words Stephen Tomkinson.
Basically it boiled down to two unrelated stories being told concurrently. Thought the narrator sounded bored a lot of the time.
"Cleverly worked thriller"
The story line was excellent, but spoiled for me by using the Lord's name in vain. A forrm
of blasphemy that I find extremely discomforting. There will be no more of this writers books for me, on this account.
"Riveting and topical"
Some highly topical issues addressed in this excellent thriller. Five stars. A superb read written well. great narration and characterization. Deep and dark portrayal of sinister moral issues.
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