three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
40-May-June-2009
user_rating: 
0

A-All the Colors of DarknessPeter Robinson has been a fixture on the British crime-writing scene for more than two decades. All the Colors of Darkness is Robinson’s 18th police procedural featuring Inspector Alan Banks.

The Story: In All the Colors of Darkness (the title comes from Shakespeare’s Othello), the death of popular theatrical set designer Mark Hardcastle in the woods near Eastvale is initially ruled a murder-suicide (his wealthy lover has been beaten to death with a cricket bat). A cursory investigation quickly reveals, however, the complicated and sinister involvement of elements supporting international terrorism and espionage. When Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called back from holiday to take over the matter, he unwittingly runs afoul of a secret government agency, whose members threaten Banks even as the case begins to parallel the theatre troupe’s production of Othello.
Morrow. 368 pages. $25.99. ISBN: 006136293X

Pittsburgh Trib-Review 4 of 5 Stars
"This 21-year-old series stays contemporary by staying on top of developments in technology and changes in society while never neglecting the growth of the characters." Vaunda Bonnett

South FL Sun-Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"Robinson doesn’t miss a beat as he melds the espionage elements and the police procedural into a cohesive plot. … All the Colors of Darkness is another example of Robinson’s seamless, insightful storytelling." Oline H. Cogdill

Cleveland Plain Dealer 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Just as you feel certain of the shape of the plot, two enormous surprises occur late in the book. … Earlier books have been more compelling, but this installment is a well-written, thought-provoking continuation of our relationship with characters who inhabit the same world of darkness, accident and concern that we all do." Susan Grimm

Wall Street Journal 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The more elusive the quarry, the more unorthodox Banks’s methods, the more extreme his theories—and the more riveted the reader becomes. … Mr. Robinson … [has] loyal fan bases that will welcome [his] latest work featuring familiar investigators." Tom Nolan

Critical Summary

Peter Robinson rarely strikes a false note in his fiction, and All the Colors of Darkness, which draws on elements of espionage and Cold War treachery, is another solid installment in the Inspector Alan Banks series. Banks has become one of the most recognizable figures in a growing stable of gritty British crime solvers (Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus comes to mind). Critics are divided as to whether Robinson’s latest effort is his best, but they are unanimous in praising the author’s continued strong plotting and his main character’s growth. An added bonus: Robinson’s eclectic passion for music has become legendary among his faithful readers, who can find the cuts mentioned in the Banks novels on the author’s Web site.