The 26th instalment of the Number One bestselling series
'The master of the police procedural' Mail on Sunday
'The Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are the best series on the market. Try one and tell me I'm wrong' Stephen King
A skinny young boy is found dead - his body carelessly stuffed into a wheelie bin.
Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called to investigate. Who is the boy, and where did he come from? Was he discarded as rubbish, or left as a warning to someone? He looks Middle Eastern, but no one on the East Side Estate has seen him before.
As the local press seize upon an illegal immigrant angle, and the national media the story of another stabbing, the police are called to investigate a less newsworthy death: a middle-aged heroin addict found dead of an overdose in another estate, scheduled for redevelopment.
Banks finds the threads of each case seem to be connected to the other, and to the dark side of organised crime in Eastvale. Does another thread link to his friend Zelda, who is facing her own dark side?
The truth may be more complex - or much simpler - than it seems . . .
In Robinson's discursive 26th police procedural featuring Yorkshire Det. Supt. Alan Banks (after 2018's Careless Love), Zelda, "a consultant helping to build a database for facial recognition of sex traffickers" and longtime friend of Banks, joins the investigation into the death of Banks's boss, Trevor Hawkins. Meanwhile, Banks is called out to a housing estate where the body of a 12- or 13-year-old boy has been crammed into a trash bin. Because a small amount of cocaine was found in the boy's pocket, Banks and his team believe they may be dealing with a drug ring. However, they can't rule out the possibility that it was a hate crime based on the boy's Middle Eastern appearance. Soon, property schemes, insider trading, sex trafficking, and gang murders all start swirling into the mix, which includes a tenuous link to Zelda's inquiry. Banks's musings about music, food, and politics may not charm those who haven't already come to admire the character; such digressions can feel more like padding than anything that adds interest to the lead. This isn't the starting place for newcomers.