Skip to main content

Careless Love: A DCI Banks Novel


Careless Love: A DCI Banks Novel

I am hard-pressed to explain why, but the newly published CARELESS LOVE is my favorite Alan Banks novel to date. Peter Robinson’s series about the British detective inspector has been a reliably excellent police procedural since its inception over 30 years ago. His latest, though, relies on a fairly simple plot and the gentle foibles of its main character to carry things along. It does so quite quickly and so very well.

CARELESS LOVE is propelled by a pair of deaths that, at least initially, appear to be due to misadventure rather than by murder most foul. The first is that of a student, a lovely young woman at a local university. Her death seems to be the result of suicide, or perhaps an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. But she is dressed to party, and her friends and family insist that she had no reason to take her life. What is particularly unusual about her circumstances is that her body is found in an automobile that was involved in an accident and was by the side of the road for a few days. Its owners did not know the woman and have no idea how she wound up in their disabled vehicle.

"Banks presents a terrific playlist for readers interested in music both contemporary...and classical. Robinson does a wonderful job of aging his character slowly, carefully and realistically."

Banks is no sooner involved in this matter when a second body is discovered. It’s the corpse of an older gentleman who has apparently fallen to his death from a walking path popular with hikers. He is very well dressed in a manner better suited for an evening party than a stroll. There does not seem to be a personal connection between the two deceased individuals, but their bodies are found in somewhat close proximity to each other, and autopsies indicate that they appeared to have died within a few hours of each other.

Banks and his team begin looking for connections. They eventually find one, thanks to a lead uncovered during the course of a murder investigation of another young woman. A mysterious figure is connected to all of the victims, and a good deal of the book is devoted to identifying and then finding her in order to determine who is behind these deaths.

Meanwhile, Banks seems to have all but given up on his futile efforts to establish any sort of a long-term personal relationship, partly due to the fact that he regards himself as being a bit long in the tooth. At the same time, a deadly nemesis from his past indirectly resurfaces, and an intriguing newcomer is introduced. Banks ties up the set of mysteries presented here quite neatly by the end, but the old and new characters who form one of the subplots will undoubtedly constitute grist for at least one future volume in the series, and hopefully more.

As always, Banks presents a terrific playlist for readers interested in music both contemporary (“Parquet Courts,” “My Man”) and classical. Robinson does a wonderful job of aging his character slowly, carefully and realistically. Hopefully we will see several more books in the series before Banks is inevitably retired, but for now we can appreciate that Robinson --- even at this late date --- continues to favor us with his best writing.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on February 15, 2019

Careless Love: A DCI Banks Novel
by Peter Robinson

  • Publication Date: January 7, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062847473
  • ISBN-13: 9780062847478