Welcome to our Saturday Spotlight, here on Alternative-Read.com – Today we are really pleased to welcome bestselling author, Peter Robinson (and his beloved DCI Detective Alan Banks!)
Many Rivers To Cross by Peter Robinson brings back beloved DCI Detective Alan Banks. Robinson seems to be the master of the “who done it,” while covering subject matters that are relevant.
This second book in a trilogy takes over where the first book, Careless Love, left off. Zelda, a super recognizer, is working with law enforcement to identify those in the sex trafficking trade from Eastern Europe. She is a survivor of that world, but still has PTSD. When she sees pictures of men who were involved in her past, she hesitates to share that knowledge, and decides to take matters into her own hands. Zelda is also the girlfriend of DI Annie Cabbot’s much older father Raymond.
A parallel sub-plot is the murder of a young boy found dead in a trash can. No one has come forth to identify the body. Detective Banks wonders if there is a connection between this killing and the body of a lifelong drug user. Banks is looking for links that others miss, hoping this will give him the break needed to crack the case.
An added bonus is the music used to facilitate Banks’ mood. Composer Takemitsuh, singers Sinatra, Vaughn, and Bach are part of the story. Readers are always introduced to songs that they can add to their playlist.
This series is very believable and the sub-plots are fabulously interwoven. Because it is a trilogy there are some loose ends left dangling. This allows readers to look forward to the next book.
1st book in the trilogy, Careless Love.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Peter Robinson: Since this is a trilogy I wanted to continue Zelda’s story from the previous book. She is pursuing her own quest. The other sub-plot has these drug dealers using boys to distribute drugs. It was just becoming known in the news when I started to write about it. It is a big problem right now.
EC: So Alan Banks is having some trouble lately?
PR: I keep trying to have him in a relationship but he is resisting. Unfortunately, there is nothing positive at the moment. Part of his depression is knowing he is getting closer to retirement age and is living all alone. I think he is more introspective. He is also depressed because of the kind of job he does, which puts him in contact with some of the most depressing elements of society. He takes on the trouble that he deals with that drags him down.
EC: What is the NCA?
PR: National Crime Agency. It was set up a few years ago and works like the FBI. I don’t think it is fully functional yet. The NCA has a broader perspective than law enforcement. MI5 and MI6 both basically deal with espionage, while NCA handles crime.
EC: How would you describe Zelda?
PR: I want the readers to get to know her and become privy to her thoughts. They know her better than Banks. She is a conflicted character who had terrible teenage years after being abducted and sex-trafficked. She has PTSD and now wants revenge; yet, strives for a peaceful life. I think the book quote sums her up, “Because I am a woman? Because I am a foreigner? Because I was forced into prostitution? Because I don’t jump every time you tell me to?” She is trying to find her identity. I enjoy writing more about a character’s journey than the perils along the way that involve more of the crime.
EC: How did you choose Zelda’s name?
PR: When I first wrote her I thought of Zelda Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character. But then I decided to go in another direction and found her name as a game character. I used to play games on Nintendo years ago. Zelda actually has three names: her Russian name, her Moldova name, and this name.
EC: In the book there is a reference to bacon butty?
PR: It is delicious. Americans always ask about it. It is a wonderful sandwich. It has bacon between two pieces of buttered bread. There is no need for lettuce or tomato.
EC: The TV show on Banks seems to have differentiated from the books?
PR: I did not like that they killed off DI Annie Cabot. This was an extreme thing to do. People were angry and asked why I killed her off? I responded I didn’t do it, the TV show did. In the books, she is alive and well. The TV shows were writing their own stories. Originally, they used a few of the books, but they changed those also. They even made up characters that were not in the books. The books and TV show were two parallel universes and never the twain shall meet.
EC: How do you choose the songs?
PR: I usually choose it as I go along. I think about what could highlight, contrast, or underline what is going on. If I can’t do it while writing the scene I will put a question mark and return later. Sometimes it just so happens I listen to something and realize it belongs here or there. Banks uses it to help his mood or to help him think. For example, I used Toru Takemitsu in this book because the sound of his music creates a certain mood with the drifting kind of music. But he also has an arrangement of certain pop songs that sounds strange in contrast.
EC: In this book Banks is thinking of taking up guitar and received a Martin D-28?
PR: I also play it and I am about as good as Banks. I played the rhythm guitar for fun when I was young.
EC: What about Foyles Book Store in England?
PR: It just moved and is larger than it was before. It has five floors of books, a café, and a basement. It has an incredible range of books and music. I am glad to see that there is an increase in the number of independent book stores in England. I do miss book and music stores. I like to go down to a shop and rummage through the CDs and DVDs. Unfortunately, because there are not many left I have to buy them online, which is not as much fun.
EC: Can you give a shout out about the next book?
PR: It is titled, Not Dark Yet, from a Bob Dylan song. It will end Zelda’s story. There is also a number of cases that follow what happens at the end of this book. It will be the last book in the trilogy. I want readers to understand that I wrote each book so it can be read separately.
Peter Robinson, the acclaimed author of the bestselling series Stephen King calls “the best now on the market,” returns with a gripping, emotionally charged mystery in which the revered detective Alan Banks must find the truth about a murder with possible racial overtones—and save a friend from ruin.
In Eastvale, a young Middle Eastern boy is found dead, his body stuffed in a wheelbarrow on the East Side Estate. Detective Superintendent Banks and his team know they must tread carefully to solve this sensitive case. But tensions rise when they learn that the victim was stabbed somewhere else and dumped. Who is the boy, and where did he come from?
Then, in a decayed area of Eastvale scheduled for redevelopment, a heroin addict is found dead. Was this just another tragic overdose or something darker?
To prevent tensions from reaching a boiling point, Banks must find answers quickly. Yet just when he needs to be his sharpest, the seasoned detective finds himself distracted by a close friend’s increasingly precarious situation. He needs a break—and gets one when he finds a connection to a real estate developer that could be key to finding the truth.
With so many loose ends dangling, there is one thing Banks is sure of—solving the case may come at a terrible cost.
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