Categorized | Features

Review: Watching the Dark, by Peter Robinson

Recently a person who was reading the particular novel was overheard to say the it was “stodgy.” So either this person was dead wrong, or millions of fans the world over like stodgy crime novels.
Stodgy or not, Robinson has any number of plot threads going all at once and he keeps them nicely hooked together. First thing that happens is that Bill Quinn is fatally wounded in his heart with a crossbow. That’s interesting. Not stodgy.
Bill is a policeman staying at a facility where police people go to recover from various physical or psychological wounds. His neck had been bothering him. Maybe he should have learned to just live with it. His death, besides being done in an unusual manner, arouses the interest of Professional Standards Inspector Joanna Pessero, who feels there are indications that Quinn may have been what is termed a “bent cop.”
Pessero insinuates herself into the investigation, much to the chagrin of DI Banks, who, as the man in charge, doesn’t want anyone interfering in the case. But he has to admit that the photos he found tucked inside a book in Bill’s room, photos of a sexual nature, are cause for concern. He and Joanna theorize that someone was using them to keep Bill’s mouth shut about something very important and that when Bill’s wife passed away a month ago, it was time to get out the old crossbow.
So this is the path they follow, with Banks initially doing everything in his power to keep Joanna confused, upset and at arms’ length. As they gradually learn how to work together they find the clues leading them in the direction of the disappearance of young Rachel Hewitt, who simply vanished six years ago while on a holiday with some friends in Estonia.
In some strange way, the Rachel case and the Quinn case appear to have strings tying them together. Banks and Pessero travel to Estonia and uncover what it was that Quinn had been covering up all these years. They solve his murder and Banks, who just won’t quit, also manages to solve the mystery of Rachel’s disappearance. Not stodgy at all.