Reader reviews for Friend of the Devil

An entertaining read which ties together loose ends from not just one, but two previous novels. It's very useful in understanding the story to have read both Aftermath and stand-alone Caedmon's Song before Freind of the Devil.
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A quadriplegic woman overlooks the sea unmoving in her wheelchair. Her throat has been slashed. Who would do such a thing to someone so helpless? More importantly why would they do it? Those are the questions that face Annie Cabott in the newest Inspector Banks mystery by Peter Robinson. Along with some disturbances in her personal life, Annie must determine who would take someone unable to communicate away from her caregivers and kill her in such dramatic fashion. Meanwhile, Banks faces a new-school version of the locked door mystery. A young woman has been raped and killed in The Maze - a tangle of narrow alleyways. The footage from a nearby CCTV camera proves no help in determining the killer. This leaves Banks to do what he does best interview witnesses and suspects.I have read all of the previous books in the series and liked all of them. This one has the usual tight plot, wonderful characterizations and interesting use of music that are typical of his work. Robinson is a master of the small observations and details that make even the most supporting characters spring to life. He has a real knack for bringing humanity to the forefront of the story. The mysteries themselves involve people new and old to the series and are resolved by the novel's end. Not all questions are though--just like life hanging threads remain hanging rather than tied in a pretty bow. In general, I think you would enjoy this even if you hadn't read other books in the series, but I do think the experience would be enhanced if you were familiar with some of the major players and their personalities. It would be worth your time and energy to do so anyway.
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This book tells the story of two very different mysteries investigatedby two detectives with a shared history. Right from the start the storyreally draws the reader in, as all good mysteries do, presenting twocrimes committed on the same night in very different locations - oneurban and one rural - and in very different circumstances.I really liked the way the author balances the police procedural partsand details about the crimes committed with the more personalinformation about the two detectives and the people around them. Veryquickly into the story I had a good sense of who these people were andI was interested in them. I thought the ending was really good as well - unexpected but not completely out of the blue if you looked back at the hints available.One complaint however is that since I haven'tread any of the author's other works there were occasionally referencesto things that I didn't understand but I assumed were explained inearlier books. The book reminded me somewhat of the British mysteryseries starring Helen Mirren that I really like, so I appreciated theBritishness of it, but that might be a drawback for some people whoaren't as familiar with the various job titles and terms used forthings.
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This is the 17th in Peter Robinson's excellent Alan Banks series. Banks is a Chief Inspector in Eastvale, a small English town not far from Leeds. The series is rather dark in tone, but one rather expects that in a murder related series. While Banks is the main character, it is something of an ensemble piece, with a number of interesting characters that grow over the course of the series. Annie Cabot is the lead female character, and it is her emotional life that is a major plot point in this particular entry in the series. Excellent series, this book is a well-done part of it.
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quite improbable but carried me along
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Overall, an intriguing read.I was excited about getting this book, because I enjoy mystery novels, and this was set in Great Britain--the locale of many excellent mysteries. I had a little trouble getting into this book, however, because of all the acronyms and names. If you're not familiar with the British police system, it takes a while to figure out which officer does what job. Also, I think too many characters were introduced at the same time in the beginning. I spent a lot of time turning pages back and forth to refresh my memory.There were also a few typos (does no one edit anymore?), which drive me crazy, but I'm probably in the minority on that issue.I liked the way the narrative alternated between the two main characters, but it should have been more clear in the very beginning that there were two different threads (maybe by using chapter titles or subtitles?).There were a couple of throw-away characters (what happened to Sophia? what was her purpose in the plot?), although they were interesting side stories.But having said all that, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read--I couldn't put it down!
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I liked it, but I guessed the major twists.
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i like this series-Alan Banks and Annie-enuf personal detail to be interesting and the mysteries are good too
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Complicated murder mystery with the two detectives working separate cases that come together in the end of the book with a surprise, gruesome and violent death.
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Peter Robinson knows a good formula when he sees it, and so in this latest of his mysteries featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, he applies his familiar template: a parallel murder investigated by DI Annie Cabbot (in alternating chapters), crimes in the past linked to those in the present, sex associated with the violence, and angst associated with the detectives. He writes very much like an updated and masculine version of P.D. James: the characters, settings, and plot layout are similar, but there are differences: "atmospherics" are greatly toned down (what? no fireplace with two comfy chairs on either side topped by bookshelves?!); his vocabulary does not contain any challenging surprises; and references are strewn throughout Robinson's books to show that he is part of modern times. DI Cabbot "googles" suspects, for example, and DCI Banks uses an IPod, drinks Chilean cabernet, and has "pizza funghi" as leftover dinner.Like James, who pairs Adam Dalgleish with Inspector Kate Miskin (with whom there is a certain sexual tension), Robinson's Alan Banks works with Annie Cabbot (with a similar sexual tension). Banks is as fond of his Porsche as Dagleish of his Jaguar. Like James, Robinson quietly inserts sly humor into his stories. The man who found the first murder victim was walking his dog named "Hagrid." A local constable reports that a witness was "pale as a ghost and shaking like a leaf." The Superintendent interjects: "Spare us the cliches, constable, and get on with the story." Later in the report the Constable gives the name of the witness as Chelsea Pilton and says "Funny name, I thought. Sounds like an underground stop, doesn't it?"Robinson, although born in Yorkshire, has spent over twenty years in North America, and it shows. His brisk pace is in tune with American attention spans, and the short chapters and page-turning plot recall Ridley Pearson more than any British writer.The two related murder investigations in this book involve a quadriplegic woman found dead in a wheelchair on a cliff near Whitby with her throat slit, and a young girl found brutally raped and murdered in a sleazy area in Eastvale. Cabbot draws the first, and Banks the second. It won’t spoil the plot (since it follows a familiar route) to say that both investigators find to their surprise that collaboration is a fruitful way to solve these crimes.There are some lovely turns of phrase, like this thought from Annie: “In her experience, killers who wanted to make statements were like bores at a party, a bugger to shut up until they’d finished what they had to say.”I don’t know if I shall remember this novel at all in a year, but it makes a fine companion for a long boring plane trip, and often that is all that a book should be.
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