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Children of the Revolution: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson

Children of the RevolutionReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

As Children of the Revolution opens, Inspector Alan Banks, closing in on mandatory retirement age, has been offered a possible promotion which would allow him to stay on the job another five years. In order for it to go through, Banks has to work “inside the lines” until the promotion goes through. But early on in the investigation of a man found dumped over the side of a bridge, Banks finds that staying out of trouble with his superiors impossible when a link between the deceased and a well connected woman comes to light.

There are a lot of suspects with a wide variety of motives in the murder of Gavin Miller. A former instructor at the local college, Miller was terminated after allegations that he had had inappropriate contact with two female students. He was barely making ends meet living off his the generosity of the few friends that he still had, but recently had started talking about better times to come. When his body was found, there was a large amount of cash found as well. Was he blackmailing someone? Selling drugs? Was his death connected to the friend of his accusers he had run out of town? A drug deal gone bad? Or did it have something to do with Gavin’s past? Robinson does a good job of weaving the various characters, their relationship to the victim and their possible motives into an intriguing story that goes back several decades.

Plot wise, this is the best book in the series for a long while. However, I’m sure I’m not alone in growing weary of the long passages of Banks reflecting on music, wine and whatnot else. Robinson used the music references in particular as triggers of sorts between the victim’s choice in music and his own and made the parallel between the victim’s solitary life and his own lonesomeness, but it was too much. Readers get that he is lonesome and introspective-we don’t need quite so many pages telling us that and it really does make the book drag along in places. The other quibble I have with the book is that parts where the female officers he works with all of a sudden seem to be competing for his attention-to the point of there being a cat fight at his home one evening between them. It was a ridiculous scene.

After twenty-one books in a series, it’s hard to keep things fresh. The series’ cast of characters grows and the people change over time. It will be interesting to see if Banks retires or takes the new job and if he does, what will become of the cast of characters. I’m look forward to the next book in the series.

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