Robinson, Peter. Bad Boy

Hodder and Stoughton, $32.99

Looks like DCI Alan Banks chose the wrong week to be on holiday. His daughter, Tracy, is on the run with a criminal who just shot a cop. And Tracey’s flatmate, Erin, is hiding a loaded gun – or was, until her mother found it.

Erin’s mother, Juliet, goes to visit Banks for advice, but in his absence speaks with DI Annie Cabot. The operation to remove the gun goes horribly haywire, in a cock-up that would be funny if it wasn’t tragic.

Meanwhile, Tracy Banks has fallen for her flatmate’s boyfriend, Jaff, the handsome “bad boy” of the title. When police come a-questioning about Erin, Tracy decides to warn him something’s up. Silly Tracy mustn’t share her dad’s investigative judgment, and offers up her dad’s pad as a place to lie low while Jaff sorts himself out. Too late, Tracy realises her mistake, and by then she’s no longer on the daring adventure with a slightly racy beau that she believed: she’s a hostage.

On his return, Banks is met at Heathrow airport with news that an old friend is dead, another critical in hospital, and his daughter missing and maybe on the run with a criminal. No time for jetlag; he’s straight back to the office.

“Bad Boy” is the nineteenth book in the Inspector Banks series, which is currently being made into a TV pilot starring Peter Tompkinson. Like walking through the pages of ‘the Bill’, this police thriller is fast paced, neatly plotted, and an effortless read. It should both please existing Inspector Banks fans and garner a few new ones.


Reviewed August 2010