Review

Friend of the Devil

by Peter Robinson

With
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, Peter Robinson brings us the 17th book in 20
years featuring Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Fans of
Robinson’s series will be quite pleased with this effort, and
those unfamiliar with Banks and his team will find an easy
transition into this well-worked novel.

The premise of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL revolves around two terrible
slayings that happen within the same week on chilly March days in
the Eastvale district. Banks is investigating the rape and murder
of a popular female college student whose body is found in the
Maze, an area of intersecting alleyways in Eastvale.
Simultaneously, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot is working on the
savage murder of a quadriplegic woman who is found in her
wheelchair atop a cliff with her throat slashed from ear to
ear.

As both Banks and Cabbot get further along in their investigations,
clues and witnesses begin to overlap in a way that may somehow tie
the two crimes together. Most specifically, the title of the book
refers to an infamous figure from a previous Robinson novel,
AFTERMATH. Here, the “friend of the devil” is Lucy
Payne --- so named because she was an accomplice to her husband,
Terrence Payne, in a case covered in AFTERMATH that involved a
number of heinous crimes committed against victims lured to their
“House of Payne” lair. These wrongdoings are compared
to the real-life Moors Murders that were well-publicized in London
when Lord Longford defended Myra Hindley, who was accused of being
an accomplice to her partner who committed similar
atrocities.

It turns out that the victim Cabbot is investigating, Karen Drew,
may have been none other than Lucy Payne herself. Has she been
killed by a vengeful family member of one of her victims, or was
this an isolated incident? Readers will be riveted as these two
investigations spiral further and further into dark areas Banks and
Cabbot may not want to go.

Robinson’s writing style is quite engaging and easy for
anyone to dive right into. Yes, it would help somewhat to have read
his previous Inspector Banks novels, but not being familiar with
them won’t keep readers from thoroughly enjoying FRIEND OF
THE DEVIL. To give out more plot elements would reveal too much.
Suffice it to say, in the words of author Stephen King, “The
Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series
on the market.” I would definitely put them in the company of
all the top mystery writers working today. FRIEND OF THE DEVIL will
satisfy anyone who savors a well-written, character-driven police
procedural.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on January 24, 2011

Friend of the Devil
by Peter Robinson

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0060544376
  • ISBN-13: 9780641871351