By: Peter Robinson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 1, 2010
Juliet Doyle has come to the Eastvale Police Station to speak with Inspector Alan Banks. You see, they used to be neighbors many years ago and she trusts her old neighbor to help with a family “situation.” When she arrives at the station, she’s disappointed to learn that Inspector Banks has taken a holiday – all the way to the United States. Banks’ partner, Annie Cabbot, steps in to help the woman who is reluctant to speak with a stranger. Eventually, Annie is able to extract from Juliet the fact that her daughter Erin has a gun in her bedroom. This is a criminal offense in England so the police send an armed team to retrieve the gun. Juliet had simply wanted Inspector Banks to slip over to their house and defuse the situation. What she gets is an explosive situation that leaves one person dead.
Erin’s gun is soon traced to her boyfriend, Jaffar McCready, a young man with a rather seedy past. By the time the police get to Jaff’s apartment, he’s long gone. The catch is that he made his escape with the help of Erin’s roommate, Tracy Banks. Yes, Tracy is the daughter of Inspector Banks.
Tracy originally thought Jaff was simply running to avoid arrest as the owner of the retrieved gun, and by the time she learns the truth, it’s too late – she’s the man’s hostage. Enter Inspector Banks who must solve the mystery behind Jaff’s criminal past if he’s to find the pair’s whereabouts.
Robinson is at his best in Bad Boy as the story moves briskly and easily draws the reader into the mystery. This is much more than a story about a stolen gun – it involves gangsters, drugs and a criminal from Banks’ past. While the big climax scene seemed a bit too easily resolved, the suspense throughout the rest of the book was quite satisfying.
If you love Inspector Banks to the point of wanting to read books that deal solely with his exploits, this may not be your favorite book in the series. He apparently likes to take long vacations as he is away for about half the book. There are little snippets of his time in the States, but the primary focus for about 150 pages is Annie Cabbot and her evolving detective skills. I enjoyed learning more about Annie and felt the author did a good job of developing her character. I hope to see her play a more prominent role in future books.
Quill says: A thoroughly enjoyable addition to the Inspector Banks series.