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In Strange Affair, Inspector Allan Banks is off work recovering from his injuries he suffered on his last case. While he struggles to put his life back together, his only brother, Roy, leaves a disturbing and urgent message on his answering machine. When Banks can’t reach him, he heads straight to London to see what kind of life his wealthy but rather dodgy brother leads. He arrives to find the house unlocked and Roy nowhere to be found. As the trail of clues about Roy’s life and associations draws Banks into a dark circle of conspiracy and corruption, mobsters and murder, Banks suddenly realizes he’s running out of time to save Roy and by digging too deep he may be exposing himself, and his family to the same deadly danger. This is the fifteenth novel in Peter Robinsons’ Inspector Banks series.

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See how many daggers our experts gave Strange Affair. Dagger ratings are from 0 to 5, with 5 daggers being the best.

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Roger Adkin
Intelligence Officer
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Paul Bergen
Book Reviewer
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I gave this book three and a half daggers, and the reason why I didn't score it higher was because I was hoping that it would be a bit more testosterone-driven. It is a good book, though, and I would recommend it.

The plot of Strange Affair was believable, because I think that people who are in criminal enterprises have no boundaries. Anything they can make money on, they will. Roy Banks, for example, is a criminal, and engaged in criminal activities, but he's also a businessman.

I was intrigued by Roy's being able to draw a line in the sand and say 'even though I'm involved in criminal activities, this is where I draw the line'. And even though it cost him his life it was nice to see that he actually had some morals. I think in general we stereotype criminals, like the guy with the ponytail or the big bulky guy that's probably on 'roids with cropped hair - they make good criminals. Although I did think it was funny that this criminal organization would use the small caliber gun for a murder weapon. I was thinking 'small gun, small crime poop'. It didn't match the persona of the organization.

I don't want to be a stickler on details, because this is a fictional book, but I do think that at one point, one of the characters makes a huge leap of faith - a triggering piece of evidence occurs at a gas station, when a man leers at a woman. He looks at her provocatively, and all of a sudden he's the prime suspect. That's a huge, huge leap. And you know, I'd be arrested too.

Other reviews by Roger Adkin:
Dark Places

 

I thought this book was very good. It's got a great context, and it's entirely believable. It's very refreshing as a straight-ahead procedural, with real characters building up to a reasonable finale, and very few tricks.

I also liked Inspector Banks as a character. People that are failures or have troubles are much more interesting than people who don't, and this makes Banks compelling. He's been developed over time, he's had various addictions, drinking problems, he's trying not to smoke, his house has been burnt down, and now he's investigating his own family. Despite all of this he still does his job, and he does his job well.

One thing I found really interesting about the book is the separation of work from life for a police officer. Banks wants to investigate his brother, but he doesn't want it to become an official, legal affair. He treats his friends as suspects, which for him isn't a big deal - he can suspect someone, then forget about it two minutes later. But of course everyone who's suspected doesn't feel the same way. I wonder if Banks can stop being a police officer in his relationships.

Other reviews by Paul Bergen:
Blood Memory
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
He Who Fears the Wolf
Shock Wave