4.5 Stars: Murders and Memory Mar 14, 2008
4.5 Stars: Murders and Memory, a British detective suspense novel
Best enjoyed in the context of his earlier work AFTRMATH, Peter Robinson's FRIEND OF THE DEVIL is a stunning addition to his British police detective series. Not only does the reader glimpse more of the unfolding dynamics between the main characters, but also, the case hearkens back to the past as new murders challenge both the detectives and the reader to look at the past through a different perspective.
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot investigate a series of chilling murders. Cabbot investigates a brutal and chilling murder of a parapalegic woman in a wheelchair while Banks investigates the brutal murder and rape of a woman found in The Maze. Although these crimes seem unrelated, the murders provoke both Banks and Cabbot to look into their own histories to past crimes that have touched their lives. The eerie murder of the mysterious woman in the wheelchair haunts the imagination as the detectives ponder the thoughts a woman unable to defend herself or even voice a protest in her last moments. The first layer of clues unraveled is only one layer to this finely constructed suspenseful mystery. When Banks' investigation solves the mystery of one crime detail of the rape and murder, more mysteries emerge. Will the security cameras around the Maze aid or complicate this investigation? Each clue, each new development twists and turns the investigation, keeping the reader in suspense until the final dramatic scene.
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL explores the ambiguity in the relationship between Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot. Peter Robinson's unflinching and realistic look into the conflicts in their personal lives add a depth to the characterization as their past chafes and recalls earlier moments and the character's personal weaknesses. In FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, relationships aren't easy or simplistic and, to the reader's delight, neither is the path to catching the perpetrators of these crimes. Precise, sometimes stark descriptive details heighten the terror of these crimes all the way to the shocking climatic end.
Chilling, eerie and full of surprises, Peter Robinson's FRIEND OF THE DEVIL gradually builds up a fascinating look into memory, interweaving it into the very thematic structure. Memory underpins this mystery, interwoven within the very core as reminiscences from a former case haunt Banks. Past events present obstacles to personal relationships. Even in the murders themselves, Banks and Cabbot must delve into the memories of witnesses. Quite simply, Peter Robinson's kaleidoscope into memory makes FRIEND OF THE DEVIL a good choice for readers who might crave a little extra to ponder in addition to riveting suspense.