Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson

Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
William Morrow, 2008 (ARE)
Mystery; 372 pgs

Completed: 10/28/2007
Rating: * (Very Good)

First Sentence: She might have been staring out to sea, at the blurred line where the gray water meets the gray sky.

Reason for Reading: I requested to preview this book through Harper Collins First Look Program. It sounded like something I would enjoy reading. This is my second selection for the Unread Authors Challenge.

Comments: I love it when I discover an author whose book I am reading makes me want to rush out and buy every single book the author has written. From the very beginning, I was swept up into Robinson’s world, feeling very much like I was in the thick of the investigations into two brutal murders. One being the murder of a paraplegic woman whose throat had been slit and was left to bleed to death out on a cliff overlooking the sea. The second murder involved the vicious rape and murder of a young college student who only that night had been out clubbing with her friends.

Detective Annie Cabbot and her team in Whitby must sift through the past to uncover a motive of why someone would want to kill Karen Drew, a woman confined to a wheelchair and unable to communicate. The victim herself is not at first who she appears to be. Meanwhile, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks back in Eastvale, North Yorkshire leads the investigation into the death of nineteen-year-old Hayley Daniels, digging deeper into her life and friendships. The two cases could not be more different, and yet, when another body is discovered not far from where Hayley Daniels had been raped and murdered, there are too many coincidences to ignore.

As the sort of series reader who prefers to read series books in order, I always feel like I am missing a little something by way of back story when I start a series in the middle, or in the case, with the most recent book published (or soon to be as the case may be). That isn’t to say that Peter Robinson did not fill in the blanks—he certainly did do that. I think anyone who starts with this book will feel no sense of loss in that regard, although if you are like me, you will want to go back and dig a little deeper.

I was quite charmed by the character of Alan Banks, and enjoyed reading about him in action. He always seemed to have a handle on the situation even when at loose ends. He was generally calm and obviously intelligent and skilled at his job. His need to relax to music was something I could relate to. More than once I have turned up the radio on my way home after an especially difficult day at work, letting the music wash over me. I quickly related to Annie Cabbot, obviously talented in her field, but also someone that was struggling with personal issues that were a result of her own insecurities and past hurts. I wished I could reach through the pages and give her a big hug on a couple of occasions. There were several other, more minor characters that were easy to like, and who I enjoyed getting to know. I look forward to going back and getting to know them even better in the earlier books of the series.

Friend of a Devil is riveting and suspenseful novel that only becomes more interesting with each turned page. Not only did I feel like I was along for the ride in the investigations, but Mr. Robinson also made me feel right at home both on the seaside in Whitby and in the town of Eastvale. His use of pop culture and ability to step into the psyche of his characters made it all the more alive in my mind. This is a very well written mystery novel, and I am definitely hooked.

Favorite Part: The author did an excellent job of balancing the main mystery story line with the personal side stories. I got to know many of the characters very well as I read the novel and came to care about them. The crime investigations themselves were fascinating to see unfold. I guessed one major piece of the puzzle about half way through, the final piece, but that did not hurt my enjoyment of the novel at all. It rarely does. How it all comes together is what I am drawn to the most.

Visit the author's website for more information about his books.

Miscellaneous: I hesitated before posting this review now. The book will not be released until after the first of the year, but two reasons compelled me to do so. The main one being that it’s been awhile since I last posted an actual book review and the other simply because I can’t keep mum about this great book. You may not be able to rush out and read this one, but you can perhaps try some of the earlier books in the series.

The cover above is not the same one one my copy. I actually like the cover I have better, but I could not find it online to share with you.

28 comments:

  1. I guess all I can do is give up. You guys are simply not going to stop giving me new authors and books to read.

    Not that it's a bad thing. And this book sounds right up my alley. I'll have to remember to look for it when it comes out.

    cjh

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  2. Thank you for the preview; as a result I was able to place a hold on one of the 26 copies my library has on order next year & have Gallows View en route now. I've been restless for another good mystery series to get into!

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  3. CJ - I'd apologize, but I'm not sorry. ;-)

    Ketchup Sister - You're quick! :-) I hope you enjoy this series. So far, I'm impressed.

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  4. That good, huh? Oh, but I can't wait! :D

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  5. Great! I have Robinson's Alan Banks Series on my Possibilities List for the 1st in a Series Challenge (#1 - Gallows View). I may just have to make this one a must read. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

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  6. I love Peter Robinson, and like you, after reading the first one, I wanted to find every single book. I've not read them all, but I've read all that the library had available. A year or so ago, I was on a P.R. spree!

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  7. This sounds really good. I'm going to look for the author next time I go to the bookstore. Great review!

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  8. Hey, I wouldn't want you to be sorry! It's too much fun finding new authors because of your recommendations.

    cjh

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  9. It's says a lot about the author's talent if you can pick up the 16th in a series and not feel lost. I don't think many other writers could boast that. Nice work.

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  10. You popped up in my google reader but I didn't read your review because I am currently reading a review copy of this. But...He he ...I'll be back!

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  11. So glad to hear you enjoyed the book. I admit I skipped through most of your review but that's because I'm on book 7 or 8 of the series so far and I get the feeling big things are coming so I don't want to be spoiled :)

    I'm a huge fan of this series. I think Robinson has created a good character and even if he sometimes gets on my nerves I still root for him and want him to catch the bad guys.

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  12. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book, Wendy! I have never read anything by Peter Robinson, and your review makes it so good that I have to check out his earlier books. :)

    BTW, you've been tagged! ;P

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  13. Maggie - I really enjoyed it. :-)

    Joy - Oh good! You'll have to tell me what you think when you read the first book. :-)

    Jenclair - I'm definitely going to stop by my favorite UBS and see if they have any of his books in stock. There's so many of them to look forward to!

    JMC - Thank you. If you do read one of his mysteries, I'll be curious to know what you think.

    CJ - Haha That's very true. I love "discovering" new authors.

    Kookie - He did a good job of explaining the relationships and some of the back story without making it too obvious. I still feel a little sense of disconnect if only because I haven't experienced the past stuff with the characters yet. I don't know if that at all makes sense, but it did when I wrote it. ;-)

    Amy - I'm waiting on the edge of my seat to read what you think.

    Iliana - I understand. I do that too. I was very careful not to spoil anything about the characters and their personal stories, and so I think you are safe reading it. With mysteries sometimes it is hard to know how much to reveal. I try not to give away any more than you might find on the back cover or inside flap. Sometimes I think those give too much away though . . .

    I am glad to see a couple of people here who do enjoy the series. :-)

    Melody - It was an enjoyable book to read. I've been reading some really good mysteries lately. I feel spoiled. :-)

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  14. I really enjoy this series. The first one I ever read was actually #10 - In a Dry Season. Since then, I've started at the beginning and read the first 9. I think I'll re-read In a Dry Season before I move on with the rest of the series.

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  15. Great review! I love finding new authors! I'm with you, I like to read series in order when it is possible. I will look out for him although I may start at the beginning. :)

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  16. This sounds like a great series. Like Jamie, I'll try to start with the first one and travel through them.

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  17. I love the way you structured your reviews, Wendy. I'm thinking of copying... LOL. Great review, btw. :D

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  18. Peter Robinson is a very steady seller in my little bookshop. I wasn't surprised by your review - the people who read him keep coming back for more.

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  19. Suzi - I feel like I've been missing out all these years!

    Jaimie - Thank you! I hope you will enjoy the series. Hopefully the rest of the series is at good as the latest. Somehow I think it might be considering how many people seem to like it. :-)

    Framed - Starting from the beginning is good. :-)

    Alice - Thanks! You are welcome to use the same or a similar format, Alice. It's actually not original to me either. I borrowed the idea from a friend as well.

    Julie - I'm discovering that. Quite a few people I know have read his books and I hadn't even realized it.

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  20. This would be the kind of book I would love to read but can't. I just can't do suspenseful/scary in the same way anymore. Weak, perhaps? I dunno. At any rate, the book truly does sound fascinating. Thanks for the review!

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  21. Great review! I have the ARE of this too and can't wait to read it. I've got to get through a couple more library books before I can settle down with it though.

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  22. Carrie - Maybe your interests have just changed. I don't think it's a sign of weakness not to care for books like this. :-)

    Nicola - I hope you will enjoy it!

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  23. I finished it and posted my review! I really enjoyed this one too and will be reading more by him in the future.

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  24. Amy - I haven't had a chance to read your review yet, but I did bookmark it to read it when I have a little more time. I am glad you enjoyed it also!

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  25. My husband has a Peter Robinson laying around the house somewhere. He found one of the hardbacks on a remains table and took a chance. He was practically bouncing up and down in front of me when he finished the book telling me that he hopes I'll read it too. I guess I need to start digging through the books and read it!

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  26. I'm bouncing right there alongside your husband, Terri! Haha Do read it!

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  27. Anyone recognize the back story to "Friend of the Devil" also is a re-telling of Robinson's earlier novel, "Caedmon's Song"? Ver craftily done!--Doric Scarpelli, Rockland MA

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  28. Doric - I haven't yet read anything else by the author, but when I do get to that particular mystery, I'll have to compare the two. Thanks for stopping by!

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