Excerpt from Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Playing with Fire

A Novel of Suspense

by Peter Robinson

Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson X
Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 368 pages
    Feb 2005, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

As he fought off the desire, he caught a movement in the trees out of the corner of his eye. Someone was standing there, watching them. Banks whispered to Annie and Smythe, who walked along the bank in opposite directions to circle around and cut the interloper off. Banks edged back toward the trees. When he thought he was within decent range, he turned and ran toward the intruder. As he felt the cold, bare twigs whipping and scratching his face, he saw someone running about twenty yards ahead of him. Smythe and Annie were flanking the figure, crashing through the dark undergrowth, catching up quickly.

Smythe and Annie were by far the fittest of the three pursuers, and even though he'd stopped smoking, Banks soon felt out of breath. When he saw Smythe closing the gap and Annie nearing from the north, he slowed down and arrived panting in time to see the two wrestle a young man to the ground. In seconds he was handcuffed and pulled struggling to his feet.

They all stood still for a few moments to catch their breath, and Banks looked at the youth. He was in his early twenties, about Banks's height, five foot nine, wiry as a pipe-cleaner, with a shaved head and hollow cheeks. He was wearing jeans and a scuffed leather jacket over a black T-shirt. He struggled with PC Smythe but was no match for the burly constable.

"Right," said Banks. "Who the hell are you, and what are you doing here?"

The boy struggled. "Nothing. Let me go! I haven't done anything. Let me go!"


"Mark. Now let me go."

"You're not going anywhere until you give me a reasonable explanation why you were hiding in the woods watching the fire."

"I wasn't watching the fire. I was . . ."

"You were what?"

"Nothing. Let me go." He wriggled again, but Smythe kept a firm grasp.

"Shall I take him to the station, sir?" Smythe asked.

"Not yet. I want to talk to him first," said Banks. "Come on, let's go back to the canal."

The four of them made their way through the woods back to the smoldering barges. Smythe kept a firm grasp on Mark, who was shivering now.

"See if you can scrounge up some tea or coffee, would you?" Banks said to Smythe. "One of the fire crew's bound to have a flask." Then he turned to Mark, who was staring at the ground shaking his head. Mark looked up. He had pale, acned skin, and the fear showed in his eyes, fear mixed with defiance. "Why won't you let me go?"

"Because I want to know what you're doing here."

"I'm not doing anything."

"Why don't I believe you?"

"I don't know. That's your problem."

The foregoing is excerpted from Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women & Power
    Women & Power
    by Mary Beard
    The treatise Women & Power: A Manifesto discusses a scene in Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus&...
  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.