- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Piece of My Heart: A Novel of Suspenseby Peter Robinson
Synopses & Reviews
The year is 1969. Rock 'n' roll, psychedelic drugs, and peace-loving hippies are thriving in Britain. But in the aftermath of a rock music festival, cold reality strikes when a woman is found murdered in her sleeping bag, callously left among the debris in the concert's wake. Detective Inspector Stanley Chadwick is the hard-headed, straitlaced copper assigned to the case who must reluctantly enter a counterculture world to find a killer. When clues lead him to an up-and-coming rock band, the Mad Hatters, with whom the victim was connected, Chadwick experiences firsthand the dangers of this dark new world of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.
In the present day, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called to the scene of a murder victim who turns out to be a freelance journalist working on a piece for MOJO magazine about the classic rock band the Mad Hatters. Since the sixties, the band has gone through a number of tragedies, losing one member to madness and another to the shallow end of a swimming pool. Putting their checkered past behind them, the Mad Hatters have now revamped their sound and are set to celebrate their forty years in the biz by embarking on their first big concert tour in years.
Banks and Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot discover that the dead journalist was onto something big hidden in the band's past, and had stirred up some very serious trouble. As Banks and Annie dig deeper into the phenomenon of the Mad Hatters, they find more than they bargained for, and soon realize that their generation's former free-love lifestyle often comes with a deadly price.
In the course of twin narratives, Robinson expertly weaves the stories of two interconnected murders that occur decades apart. As only he can, Robinson has created a novel that is as explosive as your favorite rock album and a plot that moves at breakneck speed, traversing through the tumultuous swinging sixties to present day and back again. Piece of My Heart is an extraordinary thrill ride that uncovers the gritty and violent underbelly of the generation of peace, love, and harmony.
"Det. Insp. Alan Banks investigates the apparently motiveless murder of Nicholas Barber, a rock journalist from London visiting a small town near Banks's Yorkshire police precinct, in Robinson's less-than-stellar 14th novel to feature the Yorkshire police detective. Meanwhile, another mystery unfolds in a parallel narrative, the fatal stabbing of a young woman at a local rock festival back in 1969. Needless to say, the cases are intertwined — as Banks puts it, 'the past is never over' — and part of the pleasure is trying to piece together the links. Unfortunately, Robinson takes too long to connect the two stories, and the earlier thread suffers from the lack of Banks's engaging presence (though it does capture, with great fidelity, that odd mixture of self-absorption and idealism of the late 1960s and the whole hippie/rock music scene). As always, the author's prose is clear, observant and intelligent, but the story itself is not nearly as compelling as 2005's Strange Affair. 6-city author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"John Harvey and Peter Robinson are two of today's better British crime novelists, and their work is in some ways similar. Each has written more than 15 novels and won more than his share of prizes and acclaim. Each writes about a formidable detective inspector — Harvey's Frank Elder and Robinson's Alan Banks — who operates outside London: Nottingham and Leeds, in these stories. Each man enjoys a... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) drink and a pretty face but struggles to deal with an assortment of ex-wives, ex-lovers and troubled children. In their new novels, each detective is investigating a present-day murder that is connected to murders in the past. From that point, however, the books differ greatly. A few years ago, Harvey ended his much-admired Charlie Resnick series and began the one featuring the gravely named Frank Elder. As 'Darkness & Light' begins, Elder has retired to a solitary life in Cornwall. A call from his ex-wife, however, takes him back to Nottingham to investigate the disappearance of a dowdy 55-year-old widow named Claire Meecham. Soon enough, Elder learns that Claire, aided by the Internet, has been living on the wild side. One of the men in her life boasts that a bit of S&M brought out the devil in her. When Claire turns up dead, Elder starts talking to partners she'd met on the Internet and elsewhere: a mild-mannered teacher, an arrogant art scholar, a bartender-turned-doctor. Complicating the investigation, the manner of her death resembles another middle-aged woman's death eight years earlier. Even as Elder interviews these men, he is trying to re-establish communication with his college-age daughter, whose abduction and rape a few years earlier he thinks he should have prevented. He's also wondering if he should have forgiven his ex-wife for the affair that caused him to end their marriage. Both challenges, personal and professional, are credibly resolved. The bonus, in this well-crafted police procedural, is the occasional elegance of Harvey's writing. We meet an aging prostitute, her 'lipstick bravely rather than wisely applied.' We're told that a young sex-crimes investigator, shaken by the horrors he sees daily, upon arriving home each night 'would go into the twins' bedroom and stand beside their beds, watching them sleeping, five-year-old twin boys.' Or this, as Elder walks along a canal: 'Near the edge of the marina, he stopped to watch four ducklings, the size of small fists, traversing the water in their mother's uneven wake.' I suspect I'll remember these four fist-size ducklings longer than anything else in either of these novels. Robinson's 'Piece of My Heart' is in some ways a more ambitious novel. His plot spins off two well-known rock-and-roll tragedies of the 1960s: a fatal stabbing at a huge, outdoor festival and the mysterious drowning of a rock star in a swimming pool. First off, near Leeds in 2005, a rock journalist, researching a late-'60s band called the Mad Hatters, is murdered. Then we begin a second narrative, starting in 1969, at a concert that featured the Mad Hatters along with superstars Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin. A young woman was stabbed to death in the woods nearby. Alan Banks investigates the present-day crime, and, in alternating chapters, a gruff detective inspector named Stanley Chadwick investigates the rock concert murder. The dead girl was a cousin of one of the Hatters, who invited her backstage during the concert, and suspicion focused on members of the group. Less than a year later, one of the Hatters drowned in the pool on a young peer's estate. A hundred pages into the novel, it is clear to the semi-alert reader that there is a direct link between the 1969 and 2005 murders. Banks in time realizes this and begins to interview surviving Hatters, one of whom can barely function because of too many LSD trips. Robinson admires some of the '60s music he describes, but apparently not the people who made it. Almost everyone on the rock scene is scruffy, arrogant, drugged-out and dishonest. The men call everyone 'man,' women are 'birds,' and the police are 'fuzz' and 'pigs.' The Hatters are shallow, spoiled fellows 'in their bell-bottoms and floppy hats (who) manage to sound pretentious and innocent at the same time as they spoke about 'peace and love, man.'' There's a lot of talk about the Manson family murders — one of the Hatters admires Manson — and about the Rolling Stones' fiasco at Altamont. It's a jaundiced portrait of the rock scene, spiced with bits of real-world gossip: Flash — Keith Richards did drugs! The crucial difference between these two novels is that Harvey takes a relatively simple plot and explores it with a good deal of subtlety and depth, and with a sharp eye for character. Robinson's book, by contrast, packs too much in. As two full-length murder investigations unfold, the reader is overwhelmed with facts, clues, characters and rock trivia. The ending of 'Piece of My Heart' is spectacular but not believable. Robinson's novel is shorter than Harvey's but seems longer. I give him credit for an ambitious concept — two related, past-and-present murders, plus a look at '60s rock-world decadence — but less would have been more." Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail address is mondaythrillers(at symbol)aol.com, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
(hide most of this review)
"First rate...an addictive crime series...bet you can't read just one." New York Times
"The unsavory and unromantic side of the hippie culture is woven into both investigations, as indiscriminate drug use and 'free love' wreak havoc on the lives of several characters. Recommended." Library Journal
"What is more satisfying than one solid Robinson mystery? Two solid Robinson mysteries, expertly entwined, offering twice the usual pleasures." Kirkus Reviews
"While not a lot appears to happen on the surface...Robinson maintains a quiet tension from first page to last, one that makes it almost impossible to stop reading." BookReporter.com
"Robinson's 16th novel hits a perfect chord....[A] thoughtful, intense novel that mixes a gripping plot with intense character studies....Robinson continues to keep his plots and character fresh." South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"The best series now on the market." Stephen King
"Wonderful...multi-layered mystery." Michael Connelly
"Prepare for a crash course in taut, clean writing and subtle psychology." Ian Rankin
The sins of the past come back with a vengeance in this complex, multilayered thriller which finds Detective Inspector Alan Banks investigating the case of a murdered freelance music journalist, a case which will take him back through more than 30 years into an old murder that may be chillingly connected.
About the Author
One of the top writers of crime fiction in the world, Peter Robinson is the author of fifteen previous Inspector Banks novels, all of them published to international acclaim from both reviewers and readers. Robinson was born in Yorkshire, England, and immigrated to Canada in the early 1970s. Today he lives in Toronto.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:
Other books you might like