In the early hours of a sweet May morning, two Yorkshire police officers investigating a “domestic” stumble upon the very worst of crimes – the sexual torture and murder of a young teenage girl. Moments later, one of the officers is felled by a machete blow, and his rookie, female partner takes out her disgust and fury on the murderer, battering him to death. This is the intensely dramatic, wrenching beginning to the twelfth in Peter Robinson’s award-winning and internationally bestselling Inspector Banks series.
The task of investigating Probationary PC Janet Taylor’s actions falls to DI Annie Cabbot, Banks’s lover. This complication to his love life unsettles Banks, but he keeps his mind on his job, one that becomes immeasurably more difficult when the bodies of other teenage girls are found buried in the torturer’s garden. Who are these girls? Why weren’t they all reported missing? These are difficult questions, yet the central question Banks has to answer is how much did the murderer’s wife know? Was she, too, the victim of a sick and twisted man, as she claims, or was she an accomplice?
This compelling story is at its heart a deeply sensitive, astute, and ultimately unforgettable exploration of the nature and long-lasting effects of crime and of victimhood. Its intelligence, honesty, and moments of grace lift Aftermath out of the confines of genre fiction and place it in the first rank of novels on crime.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Opening with a startling crime scene, Peter Robinson’s original police procedural quickly strays from the conventional mystery formula, offering up its perverse culprits in the first chapter. A seemingly normal newlywed couple abducts and tortures young women, with major repercussions. With crisply rendered characters and visceral action scenes, Aftermath pulls readers into a seedy underworld where unsavoury things happen to unlucky people.
Dark, darker, darkest endless shades of ebony seem to envelop Acting Det. Superintendent Alan Banks in this grim, compelling, character-driven mystery (after 2000's Cold Is the Grave). As the head of the North Yorkshire half of a two-county joint task force, Banks is helping look into the disappearances of five young girls. As the title implies, the answer comes early on in an explosive scene where the girls' grisly fate is discovered. But Banks is left with the aftermath: a cop facing possible charges for excessive force, a woman who may be a victim or may be guilty of monstrous crimes, an "extra" body and one that isn't where it ought to be. Banks also faces plenty of personal challenges as his wife, Sandra, still pressing for divorce, finds a new way to shock him, while sometime girlfriend and colleague, Annie Cabbot, seeks to change their relationship. Robinson's never tackled darker themes: child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, torture and murder. And while he never indulges in needlessly graphic descriptions, it is still horrific stuff. Introspective, thoughtful and plagued by uncertainties, Banks battles to maintain focus as the investigation plods on. As always, the author scrupulously details the police work, from the forensics to the efforts of a consultant psychologist (i.e., a profiler), who delves into a past case that may be related. A proven master of the British police procedural, Robinson should find a large audience for this gripping, psychologically astute tale.
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Downloaded to read a second time!
Love this book series SO MUCH that I'm reading this one again. Always look forward to future Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels (and his other books). Great stories that are a pleasure to read.