Close to Home (Inspector Alan Banks Series #13)

( 7 )

Overview

There are human bones buried in an open field, the remains of a lost teenaged boy whose disappearance devastated a community more than thirty-five years ago ... and scarred a guilt-ridden friend forever.

A long-hidden horror has been unearthed, dragging a tormented policeman back into a past he could never truly forget no matter how desperately he tried. A heinous crime that occurred too close to home still has its grip on Chief Inspector Alan Banks — and it's leading him into a...

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Close to Home (Inspector Alan Banks Series #13)

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Overview

There are human bones buried in an open field, the remains of a lost teenaged boy whose disappearance devastated a community more than thirty-five years ago ... and scarred a guilt-ridden friend forever.

A long-hidden horror has been unearthed, dragging a tormented policeman back into a past he could never truly forget no matter how desperately he tried. A heinous crime that occurred too close to home still has its grip on Chief Inspector Alan Banks — and it's leading him into a dark place where evil still dwells. Because the secrets that doomed young Graham Marshall back in 1965 remain alive and lethal — and disturbing them could cost Banks much more than he ever imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

Nevada Barr
“Stunningly complex and intricately plotted...entertained me with every twist.”
The Independent(London)
"Cunning....authentic and atmospheric."
Otto Penzler
“Robinson, actually seems to grow in front of our eyes, delivering books of greater complexity each time.”
Seattle Times
“So readable....”
Washington Post
“This one is entertaining and sophisticated, crime writing of a high order.”
The Independent (London)
“Cunning....authentic and atmospheric.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The equal of legends in the genre such as P.D. James and Ruth Rendell.”
New York Times
“Refreshingly down to earth.”
New York Times Book Review
Praise for Aftermath“A devilishly good plotter...[Robinson’s] characterizations are so subtle that even the psychological profiler is stumped.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Engrossing...seamlessly plotted.”
Midwest Book Review
“An exhilarating police procedural.”
National Post
“Highly readable... [Robinson is] one of those first-class storytellers.”
Boston Globe
“A winner....Returning to the world of Alan Banks is, as always, a pleasure.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Robinson spins and intricate web...an excellent crime novel.”
Tampa Tribune
“Highly textured... Banks is a multidimensional figure struggling to cope with his private demons while directing murder investigations.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Suspenseful and engrossing.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Splendid.”
New York Times
“Refreshingly down to earth.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Suspenseful and engrossing.”
Washington Post
“This one is entertaining and sophisticated, crime writing of a high order.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Robinson spins and intricate web...an excellent crime novel.”
Midwest Book Review
“An exhilarating police procedural.”
Boston Globe
“A winner....Returning to the world of Alan Banks is, as always, a pleasure.”
New York Times Book Review
Praise for Aftermath“A devilishly good plotter...[Robinson’s] characterizations are so subtle that even the psychological profiler is stumped.”
Seattle Times
“So readable....”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Splendid.”
Tampa Tribune
“Highly textured... Banks is a multidimensional figure struggling to cope with his private demons while directing murder investigations.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The equal of legends in the genre such as P.D. James and Ruth Rendell.”
National Post
“Highly readable... [Robinson is] one of those first-class storytellers.”
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Engrossing...seamlessly plotted.”
The Independent (London)
“Cunning....authentic and atmospheric.”
Publishers Weekly
In this 12th novel to feature Det. Chief Insp. Alan Banks, the brooding Yorkshire policeman is called back to England from holiday when someone discovers the remains of his old childhood friend Graham Marshall, who disappeared from their hometown in 1965. It's a journey back to Banks's own past and the provincial town of Peterborough, where he assists Michelle Hart, a local detective, on the case. He's also advising his colleague (and former lover) Annie Cabbot as she investigates the more recent disappearance of another teenager: Luke Armitage, the introverted, intellectual son of a British rock star who committed suicide when Luke was a baby. Like P.D. James, Robinson works on a large, intricately detailed canvas (sometimes too detailed-even the minor figures get at least a thumbnail sketch). The plot is richly complex, with lots of forensic science, a fair bit of English criminal history (the Kray brothers, legendary '60s-era London East End gangsters, make an appearance) and some internecine police department feuds. There's a fair amount of action and lots of suspense; someone doesn't want Hart or Banks to pursue the decades-old case, and Cabbot has her hands full with a plethora of unsavory suspects in the Armitage case. Along the way, Robinson probes more abstract ideas: the illusory nature of nostalgia; the dark, secret lives of small towns; middle age; and the oft-lamented challenges of going home again. This satisfying and subtle police procedural has a little bit of everything. Agent, Dominick Abel. (Feb.) Forecast: Robinson's long-running series is gathering readers and recognition. This latest addition will be helped by an 11-city tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Robinson's 13th novel is a story of parallel crimes-the disappearance of two 15-year-old boys-that are separated by some 35 years. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is drawn into both investigations, one because the missing boy, Graham Marshall, whose body turns up at a building site, was a childhood friend; the other because Inspector Annie Cabbot, a friend and former lover, needs his help. As Robinson shifts imperceptibly from one crime to the other, Banks, too, moves back and forth in time. Tormented by guilt after all these years over Graham's disappearance, he searches through childhood diaries for clues and returns to his parents' home, where he confronts his father, still hostile about his becoming a policeman. As he and Cabbot delve into the second crime, he embarks on an affair with the inspector investigating Graham's death. Though Robinson is his usual brilliant self, one wonders why the women Banks is attracted to all seem to have been wounded in some awful way. This quibble aside, Robinson again shows himself to be as astute a writer as P.D. James as he examines the myriad faces of guilt.-Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal" Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The New York Times
In light of the slam-bang subtleties of most throwaway thrillers...there is an attractive depth and naturalness about Peter Robinson's "Close to Home." ...refreshingly down-to-earth.... Like Dennis Lehane's "Mystic River," which it resembles in ambition and in pointed contrasts between past and present.... Janet Maslin
Kirkus Reviews
Underneath all the endless complications, Detective Inspector Alan Banks's behemoth 13th appearance is a case of two dead boys. DNA evidence, directed by some smart forensics, identifies the first as Graham Marshall, a childhood friend of Banks's who went missing from his Yorkshire newspaper route 35 years ago. Hearing that his skeletal remains have been found, Banks hastens home from the Greek island where he'd retreated to blot out the memory of his last sour adventure in crime and romance (Aftermath, 2001) to Peterborough, where he finds the local constabulary eyeing his long-withheld revelation-Banks himself had been attacked and nearly drowned by an unidentified stranger two months before Graham went missing-with suspicion and a present-day case unfolding in ways that disturbingly echo the past. The new Graham is Luke Armitage, a sensitive student whose famous mother, retired model Robin Fetherling, and equally famous stepfather, ex-soccer player Martin Armitage, have never helped him come to terms with his own father, a rock star whose life ended in suicide. Haunted by constant reminders of the past he shared with Graham, Banks joins forces (and eventually much more) with Inspector Michelle Hart, unearthing a murky pattern that threatens to swallow every finely limned survivor of the Swinging Sixties, along with some who didn't survive. Robinson unites P.D. James's strengths-breadth, ambition, and an olympian penetration into character-with some of her equally characteristic weaknesses: a tendency to sprawl and a ritual reluctance to tie all those wonderfully woven threads together. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061031090
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/27/2004
  • Series: Inspector Alan Banks Series , #13
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 231,594
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Robinson's award-winning Inspector Banks novels have been named a "Best Book of the Year" by Publishers Weekly, a "Notable Book" by the New York Times, and a "Page Turner of the Week" by People. Robinson was born and brought up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between North America and the U.K.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Close to Home
A Novel of Suspense

Chapter One

Trevor Dickinson was hungover and bad-tempered when he turned up for work on Monday morning. His mouth tasted like the bottom of a birdcage, his head was throbbing like the speakers at a heavy metal concert, and his stomach was lurching like a car with a dirty carburetor. He had already drunk half a bottle of Milk of Magnesia and swallowed four extra-strength paracetamol, with no noticeable effect.

When he arrived at the site, Trevor found he had to wait until the police had cleared away the last of the demonstrators before he could start work. There were five left, all sitting cross-legged in the field. Environmentalists. One was a little gray-haired old lady. Ought to be ashamed of herself, Trevor thought, a woman of her age squatting down on the grass with a bunch of bloody Marxist homosexual tree-huggers.

He looked around for some clue as to why anyone would want to save those particular few acres. The fields belonged to a farmer who had recently been put out of business by a combination of mad-cow disease and foot-and-mouth. As far as Trevor knew, there weren't any rare pink-nippled fart warblers that couldn't nest anywhere else in the entire country; nor were there any ivy-leafed lark's-turds lurking in the hedgerows. There weren't even any trees, unless you counted the shabby row of poplars that grew between the fields and the A1, stunted and choked from years of exhaust fumes.

The police cleared away the demonstrators -- including the old lady -- by picking them up bodily and carting them off to a nearby van, then they gave the go-ahead to Trevor and his fellow workers. The weekend's rain had muddied the ground, which made maneuvering more difficult than usual, but Trevor was a skilled operator, and he soon got his dipper shovel well below the topsoil, hoisting his loads high and dumping them into the waiting lorry. He handled the levers with an innate dexterity, directing the complex system of clutches, gears, shafts and winch drums like a conductor, scooping as much as the power shovel could hold, then straightening it so as not to spill any when he lifted it up and over to the lorry.

Trevor had been at work for well over two hours when he thought he saw something sticking out of the dirt.

Leaning forward from his seat and rubbing condensation from the inside window of the cab, he squinted to see what it was, and when he saw, it took his breath away. He was looking at a human skull, and what was worse was that it seemed to be looking right back at him.


Alan Banks didn't feel in the least bit hungover, but he knew he'd drunk too much ouzo the night before when he saw that he had left the television on. The only channels it received were Greek, and he never watched it when he was sober.

Banks groaned, stretched and made some of the strong Greek coffee he had become so attached to during his first week on the island. While the coffee was brewing, he put on a CD of Mozart arias, picked up one of last week's newspapers he hadn't read yet, and walked out on the balcony. Though he had brought his Discman, he felt fortunate that the small time-share flat had a mini stereo system with a CD player. He had brought a stack of his favorite CDs with him, including Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Schubert, Walton, The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.

He stood by the iron railings listening to "Parto, ma tu, ben mio" and looking down at the sea beyond the jumbled terraces of rooftops and walls, a cubist composition of intersecting blue and white planes. The sun was shining in a perfect blue sky, the way it had done every day since he had arrived. He could smell wild lavender and rosemary in the air. A cruise ship had just dropped anchor, and the first launches of the day were carrying their loads of excited camera-bearing tourists to the harbor, gulls squawking in their wake.

Banks went to pour himself some coffee, then came out again and sat down. His white wooden chair scraped against the terra cotta tiles, scaring the small lizardlike creature that had been basking in the morning sun.

After looking at the old newspaper and perhaps reading a little more of Homer's Odyssey, Banks thought he would walk down to the village for a long lunch, maybe have a glass or two of wine, pick up some fresh bread, olives and goat cheese, then come back for a nap and a little music before spending his evening at the taverna on the quayside playing chess with Alexandros, as had been his habit since his second day.

There was nothing much that interested him in the newspapers except the sports and arts pages. Rain had stopped play in the third test match at Old Trafford, which was hardly news; England had won an important World Cup qualifying match; and it wasn't the right day of the week for the book or record reviews. He did, however, notice a brief report on a skeleton uncovered by a construction worker at the site of a new shopping center by the A1, not far from Peterborough. He only noticed it because he had spent a good part of his early life in Peterborough, and his parents still lived there.

He put the newspaper aside and watched the gulls swoop and circle. They looked as if they were drifting on waves of Mozart's music. Drifting, just like him. He thought back to his second conversation with Alexandros. During their game of chess, Alex had paused, looked seriously at Banks and said, "You seem like a man with many secrets, Alan, a very sad man. What is it you are running from?"

Close to Home
A Novel of Suspense
. Copyright © by Peter Robinson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2002

    Peter Robinson's Alan Banks is the best British cop....

    Curiously this book is published in the U.K. under the title "The Summer that never was" and is available in the international market. I have every book in the Inspector Banks series, which get better and better with each succeeding story, the greater majority of which have only been published in the U.S., with a one-off out-of-series book published only in Canada. The Inspector Banks series are set in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales, an area with which I am very familiar having lived there for 20 years, and even though Peter Robinson now lives in Canada his familiarity with that delightful part of Yorkshire comes to life vividly. The police procedural at its very best as Inspector Banks' childhood is re-lived with the discovery of the skeleton of a school friend of the 1960's. Each Peter Robinson book has the continuity of characters who have become familiar friends. Without hesitation I would highly recommend this book and I am sure that there will be demand for previous titles but, sadly, these have become extremely rare - even at the bigger Barnes & Noble stores in N.Y.C., as I discovered recently.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2004

    VERY COOL

    I loved reading this book.I was on the edge of my seat wondering about what was going to happen next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    Spectacular!

    Peter Robinson¿s ¿Close to Home¿ is a gem¿one sensational read. Reading it is like watching an exquisite ballplayer at work¿he makes the writing look so easy that only a thoughtful examination will clue you in as to how ingenious the writing is. Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called home from vacation when a body dumped in 1965 is unearthed. Turns out the body is that of Graham Marshall, a boyhood pal of CI Banks. In his own district, Banks is investigating a missing person, turned kidnapping, turned homicide. The victim is a teenager, about the same age as was Graham Marshall when he disappeared. ¿They were linked in his mind in some odd way. Not technically, of course. But two very different boys from very different times had ended up dead before their time, and both had died violently.¿ Banks has able assistants in both cases: Michelle Hart in the Marshall case and Annie Cabbot on the current case. The police procedural on both matters is detailed, captivating and all three detectives have an instinct for crime solving. Banks is a keen observer of humanity and a man of integrity¿a marvelous protagonist. In each case the whydunit will uncover whodunit. I plan to go back and read the entire series. This is the first British mystery that has grabbed my attention in forever. The pages absolutely glided by.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    So-so

    While digging up an area for a new shopping center near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, the skeletal remains of a teen is found. Forensic experts were able to get many clues, even a possible first name of the victim! .................. Graham Marshall had disappeared back in 1965. No one knew if he had run away or worse. Detective Inspector Michelle Hart was given the case, being the 'new girl' in the force. She was surprised when Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks showed up hoping to help. .................... Alan had known Graham as a kid and had last seen Graham the day before the disappearance. Alan had kept a secret all these years and the guilt forced him back from an extended vacation in hope of releaving his guilty conscience. Alan ended up disturbing things best left alone and put his life/sanity on the line. ................ *** This title is labeled as 'suspense', however, it takes over half the book before any suspense begins to build. Until then it is all mystery solving and D.I. Hart dealing with what appears to be another case (kidnapping). This is definitely NOT this author's best work, but still worthy as a good read. ***

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2002

    exhilarating police procedural

    Though he is vacationing in Greece to get away from the griminess of police work, English Detective Inspector Alan Banks follows the news reports from home. He is stunned when he learns that an excavator has dug up the skeletal remains of a teenage boy near his hometown of Petersborough. He knows the victim is his childhood friend Graham Marshal missing since 1965. Just before the disappearance, Alan feels guilty because a stranger assaulted him, but he escaped and never reported the incident to his family or the police. Alan cannot ignore the investigation so he returns home. There he learns that fifteen-year-old Luke Armitage is missing and his former girlfriend Annie Cabbot is working the case. Fearing the worst for Luke and feeling he owes Graham, Alan dives into both inquiries in an attempt to relieve some of the remorse he has carried for too many years. CLOSE TO HOME is an exhilarating police procedural that plays out on several levels besides the obvious dual investigations. Alan is a complex character who seemed on the verge of burn out until his conscience makes him cut short his R&R. The rest of the cast provides depth whether they played chess with the protagonist in Greece or are involved in the inquiries in England. With novels like this character driven compelling who-done-it and AFTERMATH, fans will appreciate the skills of Peter Robinson, who is bound to become regarded on both sides of the Atlantic. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

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