Close to Home
Close to Home by Peter Robinson. (aka: The Summer That Never Was)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow;(February 4, 2003)
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 friend’s 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 who’d 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
The used copy of this book I have is actually called The Summer That Never Was. When I looked in Amazon for their review I couldn't find the title but Peter Robinson has many other books with his protagonist Inspector Alan Banks. As I read thru some of them I found this review which is exactly what I read so I realized they had changed the title.
This was a good read! I liked that it had two stories going at the same time and yet had no trouble keeping touch with which was which. One story was a "cold case" of someone Banks knew and died as a teenager, and the other was also a young man of 15 who is found murdered in a different town.
Banks goes back and forth between the two murders. He has no jurisdiction in the town he grew up in where his friend went missing many years ago,but shows up to offer any help. When he feels unwanted he goes back to where he actually works to help his colleague, Annie, on the murder of the second teenager.
For me to say they could flip back and forth between the two cases and I was able to know where he was at all times is nothing short of a miracle! Which tells me that I enjoyed this author (even though this is one of his earlier books) . I searched out a few other Inspector Banks books used at Amazon and sent for 2 more. That should tell you he was an interesting character and I'll be glad to learn more about him and his cases.
(but I am not giving up looking for more *mysteries* such as The Thirteenth Tale, where there is no new murder or death but lots of secrets to uncover! If you know of any let me know!!)