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by Peter Robinson
Hodder & Stoughton, August 2008
416 pages
16.99 GBP
ISBN: 034083692X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS opens, DCI Alan Banks is away in London having a dirty weekend with his new girlfriend. So it's DI Annie Cabbot who's called out to Hindswell Woods in the Yorkshire Dales when some youngsters find a man hanging from a tree.

The dead man turns out to be Mark Hardcastle, the set designer from the theatre in Eastvale. It looks like suicide, but everyone who knows Mark claims he was happy with his job and new partner, and had no reason to kill himself. But then Annie makes a shocking discovery that drags Banks back from his weekend away and into a shadowy world where lies appear to be the normal currency and where those around him are suddenly in danger.

It's hard to say a great deal about ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS without giving too much away. But it's certainly a departure from the rest of this series which has always fitted pretty neatly into the police procedural box. Probably as much as I can say is that the book taps into the paranoia/worries/fears/call it what you will of certain sectors of UK society.

Much of the book has Banks as lone wolf, listening to his music (yes, he does have good taste!), hammering up and down the motorway or train network of the UK and generally getting up his bosses' noses and putting those who know him at risk. Condition normal, then.

Annie and DS Winsome Jackman are very much in the supporting role this time out, either running interference for Banks or concentrating on cases closer to home. But we do get to see a little more of the enigmatic Detective Supt Gervaise, who makes some rather surprising decisions.

Robinson could have done a bit more with Banks's equally enigmatic (oh, OK, read irritating) new girlfriend Sophia, who does something trendy in the mee-di-ah. I do hope, though, that we get to see more of sparky private investigator Tom(asina) Savage, who pops up several times in the book.

I don't think ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS is the best in this impressive series by some way the rationale behind the mystery comes across as more than a tad implausible, and plenty of other writers are ploughing the 'state of the nation' furrow, also with varying results. But I'm still thinking about it a week or so after having finished the book, so Robinson's obviously doing something right. And enquiring minds will be speculating happily about the identity of the crime fiction writer who swears, smells and sounds off about literary fiction . . .

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, July 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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