Synopses & Reviews
Fire. It violently destroys futures and pasts in a terrified heartbeat, devouring damning secrets while leaving even greater mysteries in its foul wake of ash and debris.
The night sky is ablaze as fire engulfs two barges moored end to end on a Yorkshire canal. On board are the blackened remains of two human beings. One was a reclusive and eccentric local artist, the other a junkie, a sad and damaged young girl.
To the seasoned eye of Inspector Alan Banks, this horror was no accident, its method so cruel and calculated that only the worst sort of fiend could have committed the dark act. And it isn't long before the fears of Banks and D.I. Annie Cabbot are brutally confirmed, when another suspicious blaze incinerates a remote trailer in the countryside . . . and another solitary life is gruesomely consumed.
But is it the work of a serial arsonist, or an ingeniously conceived plot to obliterate the trail to other heinous crimes? There are shocking secrets to be uncovered in the charred wreckage, grim evidence of lethal greed and twisted hunger, and of nightmare occurrences within the private confines of family. A terrible suspicion that a killer's work is not yet done drives Alan Banks as the hunt intensifies for an elusive, cold-blooded chameleon who could be anyone and anywhere.
In Playing with Fire, award-winning, internationally bestselling author Peter Robinson delivers a modern masterwork of suspense that confirms his standing as one of the brightest literary lights in crime fiction -- a blistering tale of murder and betrayal that is as frightening, devastating, and hypnotic as flame itself.
"The Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series now on the market. In fact, this may be the best series of British novels since the novels of Patrick O'Brian. Try one and tell me I'm wrong." Stephen King
"Just having Banks back, brooding over a case as he sips his Laphroaig Scotch and listens to jazz, is reason to celebrate. Robinson has won just about every mystery award there is....His latest shows why." Connie Fletcher, Booklist (Starred Review)
"The Banks novels are a model of dependable professionalism. Given time and a sufficient level of addiction, you could do worse than to seek out four or five and read them straight through. Like Laphroaig and Cassandra Wilson, they satisfy." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World
"[A]n engaging pleasure....Characterization is Robinson's real strength. Virtually every character is etched with care, precision and emotional insight." Publishers Weekly
"[Robinson's] talents...account for both the quickness of mind that makes Banks such a keen protagonist and the diversity of tongue that gives the secondary characters...their lively individuality." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Among the best British police procedurals published today....[A] complex and intriguing plot....Robinson has once again penned an enthralling read. Strongly recommended." Library Journal
"Robinson is on a winning streak." Tampa Tribune
"A taut pleasure." Daily News
"[A]n engrossing story that starts with the investigation of arson and reveals layer after layer of twisted relationships, family intrigue, drugs, and more. Brilliantly plotted and paced, Playing with Fire
is sure to send you racing for more Robinson." Georgie Lewis, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
Multiple prize-winning and international bestselling author Peter Robinson returns with a new novel of burning suspense, as a deadly case of arson leads Inspector Banks into his most dangerous case yet.
In the early hours of a cold January morning, two narrow boats catch fire on the dead-end stretch of the Eastvale Canal.
When signs of accelerant are found at the scene, DCI Banks and DI Annie Cabbot are summoned. But by the time they arrive only the smouldering wreckage is left, and human remains have been found on both boats.
The evidence points towards a deliberate attack. But who was the intended victim? Was it Tina, the sixteen-year-old who had been living a drug-fueled existence with her boyfriend? Or was it Tom, the mysterious, lonely artist?
As Banks makes his enquiries, it appears that a number of people are acting suspiciously: the interfering 'lock keeper,' Tina's cold-hearted stepfather, the wily local art dealer, even Tina's boyfriend...
Then the arsonist strikes again and Banks's powers of investigation are tested to the limit.
About the Author
Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, England. His previous Inspector Banks novels include In a Dry Season, which was nominated for the Edgar and won the Anthony Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book. His most recent Inspector Banks novel, Aftermath, was an international bestseller.