Summary and book reviews of Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson

Playing with Fire

A Novel of Suspense

By Peter Robinson

Playing with Fire
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jan 2004,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2005,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

Fire. It violently destroys futures and pasts in a terrified heartbeat, devouring damning secrets while leaving even greater mysteries in its foul wake of ash and debris.


To the seasoned eye of Inspector Alan Banks, this horror was no accident, its method so cruel and calculated that only the worst sort of fiend could have committed the dark act. And it isn't long before the fears of Banks and D.I. Annie Cabbot are brutally confirmed, when another suspicious blaze incinerates a remote trailer in the countryside . . . and another solitary life is gruesomely consumed.

But is it the work of a serial arsonist, or an ingeniously conceived plot to obliterate the trail to other heinous crimes? There are shocking secrets to be uncovered in the charred wreckage, grim evidence of lethal greed and twisted hunger, and of nightmare occurrences within the private confines of family. A terrible suspicion that a killer's work is not yet done drives Alan Banks as the hunt intensifies for an elusive, cold-blooded chameleon who could be anyone and anywhere.

In Playing with Fire, award-winning, internationally bestselling author Peter Robinson delivers a modern masterwork of suspense that confirms his standing as one of the brightest literary lights in crime fiction -- a blistering tale of murder and betrayal that is as frightening, devastating, and hypnotic as flame itself.

Excerpt
Playing with Fire

"The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne, burn'd on the water," Banks whispered. As he spoke, his breath formed plumes of mist in the chill January air.

Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot, standing beside him, must have heard, because she said, "You what? Come again."

"A quotation," said Banks. "From Anthony and Cleopatra."

"You don't usually go around quoting Shakespeare like a copper in a book," Annie commented.

"Just something I remember from school. It seemed appropriate."

They were standing on a canal bank close to dawn watching two barges smolder. Not usually the sort of job for a detective chief inspector like Banks, especially so early on a Friday morning, but as soon as it had been safe enough for the firefighters to board the barges, they had done so and found one body on each. One of the firefighters had recently completed a course on fire investigation, and he had noticed possible evidence of accelerant use when he boarded...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Author Blurb Stephen King
Stephen KingThe Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series now on the market. In fact, this may be the best series of British novels since the novels of Patrick O'Brian. Try one and tell me I'm wrong.

The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson

The Banks novels are a model of dependable professionalism. Given time and a sufficient level of addiction, you could do worse than to seek out four or five and read them straight through. Like Laphroaig and Cassandra Wilson, they satisfy.

Publishers Weekly

Characterization is Robinson's real strength. Virtually every character is etched with care, precision and emotional insight. With each book, the quietly competent Alan Banks gets more and more human; like red wine, he gets better and more interesting with age.

Kirkus Reviews

Robinson's customary insight into the wavering line between normalcy and unblinking evil is intensified by a sins-of-the-fathers fatalism. P.D. James, meet Ross Macdonald.

Booklist - Connie Fletcher

Starred Review. Unlike many procedural writers, Robinson doesn't have his characters hang on to rigid identities; these are primarily novels of character... Robinson has won just about every mystery award there is. His latest shows why.

Library Journal - Wilda Williams

Robinson has once again penned an enthralling read. Strongly recommended for most mystery collections.

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