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.)
"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
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.