Close to Home (Inspector Alan Banks Series #13)

Close to Home (Inspector Alan Banks Series #13)

by Peter Robinson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062431271
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Series: Inspector Alan Banks Series , #13
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 240,146
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

One of the world’s most popular and acclaimed writers, Peter Robinson is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Inspector Banks series; he has also written two short-story collections and three standalone novels, which combined have sold more than ten million copies around the world. Among his many honors and prizes are the Edgar Award, the CWA (UK) Dagger in the Library Award, and Sweden’s Martin Beck Award. He divides his time between Toronto and England.

Read an Excerpt

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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Close to Home (Inspector Alan Banks Series #13) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
breeks on LibraryThing 8 hours ago
A good fast-paced book and well written. Not only was Robinson able to weave two main plots sucessfully he was able to add individual colour as well. As someone who grew up in a large UK city as a teenager in the 1960's I enjoyed the opportunity to have my memory tickled. As Robinson took Banks back to events in the 60's he sprinkled the story with accounts of the British Pop scene at that time. Here was a chance to be reminded of many of the singers and bands of that time and of the many little 45 rpm records purchased in those teenage years. Very nice.
Darrol on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Okay story; two somewhat parallel murders of teenage boys. Too sentimental for my tastes.
jepeters333 on LibraryThing 6 days ago
The remains of a young man who disappeared in 1965 have been discovered in the neighborhood where Inspector Banks grew up. As Banks gathers clues abouut this death, he remembers his own friendship with the victim when they were schoolboys. When a teenager disappears from the same area, Banks feels there must be a connection between the two cases. But this new investigation will lead the detective beyond nostalgia into a rocky landscape of confusion and guilt. This was good - I don't usually like British stories.
martitia on LibraryThing 9 days ago
audiobook, police procedural, Yorkshire, series
pw0327 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I have been reading the Inspector Banks series of books in sequence since In A Dry Season. I suspect I will go back and pick up the stories prior to that one later. In reading the books the way I have been reading them, I have come to know the mai character pretty well, as the author had intended it. There had been substantial foreshadowing of one of the murders invrestigated in this book. Alan Banks had always brought up the memory of his friend Graham Marshall and his unexpected disappearance in his previous books. Robinson had brought the memory up as an example of Bank's guilt and messy history. It punctuated his complexity as a person and how that complication marks his life so far and his work as a detective. As such, this book should have been the most emotional and cathartic. Instead, it was pretty much business as usual, wich was disappointing but it also underscores the fact that there is really nothing cathartic in police work. Peter Robinson is an extraordinary writer, or else I never would have read this many books in such a short time. His device of interweaving two separate story lines together would be disastrous in the hands of an amateur, but in Robinson's hands it is as natural as can be. He steers the narrative easily amongst the stories and builds the tempo of the story equally until the two lines comes to a parallel climax. In this book, the climax wasn't a real climax, it was just an ending, an explanation for the crimes. I didn't exactly feel cheated, since I got my enjoyment out of the process of building the case and edging further into the story. The nice moments of charater building was appropriate and it served to pull the reader into the character, made us sit notice of Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot and Jenny Fuller. One more note, Robinson could have used the same plotting device as In A Dry Season, soince both this story and that one involved going into the past to get at the truth, but he refrained. I think it may have hurt his narative somewhatbut I also think it was pretty brave of him to lay off the same device and stay with this plotting device, just to stay fresh. In the end, the confrontation with Bank's past was somewhat of a let down. The other story was actually quite engrossing, it did not quite supercede the Graham Marshall story, but it came close. This whole book had the feel of an intermediate step to somewhere else. But coming on the end of Aftermath, it was good to get into a standard whodunnit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book.I was on the edge of my seat wondering about what was going to happen next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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. ***
Guest More than 1 year ago
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