• Paul Phillips

Review 02 - Innocent Graves

Hi and welcome to the second entry in my book review series. For my second review I have selected a book which I feel flies a little under the radar but one which I truly love. Peter Robinson is an author who I have always admired and his Banks series is one I look forward to reading each year. However I have not selected Innocent Graves due to the author or the series, no my decision making is due to the plot and style of the book. I have always enjoyed books which look at the same story through more than one set of eyes. A plot which shows you something twice but from two different angles is one that I always enjoy and Innocent Graves may be the best book I have ever read which uses this formula. As you may have noticed from my published work, I do not like ‘black and white’ when it comes to my plots, no I much prefer the shades of grey and interweaving plots which always keep you guessing. Innocent Graves does just this. From page one to the end the story flows in a way that keeps you both guessing and always wondering who the killer is.

Innocent Graves the eighth book in the excellent Peter Robinson, DCI Banks series is not just the best of the earlier Robinson books but one of the best crime novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Starting in the gloomy setting of a church graveyard at night the Vicars wife, who is drunk, stumbles upon a shocking discovery. Hidden behind one of the graves is the body of young Deborah Harrison. All the classic signs of a sex crime are present, the clothes have been interfered with and young Deborah has been left in a way that does nothing to protect her dignity.

After a little digging Deborah is discovered to be the daughter of a rich industrialist and the new Chief Inspector, Jimmy Riddle, is demanding that Banks and the team find the killer and find him quickly.

With the pressure turned up Alan has to ignore the troubles he has at home and do whatever he can to find the killer. Fortunately for the team an early break in the case presents them with not just a suspect but a man most are convinced committed the crime.

Owen Pierce, a teacher at a local school, was seen alone on a bridge overlooking the church yard just before the murder, he also was in the area drinking before the attack. During questioning from the police it soon becomes clear that Owen is hiding things from the investigators which only makes him appear more guilty. Soon with the lies adding up and DNA evidence apparently conclusive Owen is charged with the murder of the girl and the case would appear to be solved.

However, despite the backslapping going on Banks can't shake a feeling that something is not right. With so many questions unanswered have they got the right man?,

This is where the book, in my opinion, shows its true genius. Robinson makes the decision to split the chapters at this stage between the police and the accused. It is wonderful how Robinson shows you both how the police have come to their conclusion and what the actual truth is. It is almost unnerving at times to see how the most basic of evidence can be interpreted and in some instances twisted to make a monster appear innocent and the innocent a monster. It is this splitting of the chapters which helps set Innocent Graves apart from your usual crime novel.

At a time when true life crime dramas such as ‘Making a Murderer’ are growing in popularity, Peter Robinson proved to be ahead of the curve with this book. It doesn’t take long for you to want to reach into the book and point Banks and his team in the right direction. While you can understand the mistakes they are making it is so frustrating to read them make those mistakes.

In conclusion, Innocent Graves is a very special novel. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you are a fan of the crime genre and Peter Robinson and you have not yet read it do yourself a favour and buy this wonderful book.

Innocent Graves by Peter Robinson can be purchased on the following link - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Innocent-Graves-Inspector-Banks-Book-ebook/dp/B003GK21OY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542586849&sr=8-1&keywords=peter+robinson+innocent+graves

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