A skinny young boy is found dead – his body carelessly stuffed into a wheelie bin.

Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called to investigate. Who is the boy, and where did he come from? Was he discarded as rubbish, or left as a warning to someone? He looks Middle Eastern, but no one on the East Side Estate has seen him before.

As the local press seize upon an illegal immigrant angle, and the national media the story of another stabbing, the police are called to investigate a less newsworthy death: a middle aged heroin addict found dead of an overdose in another estate, scheduled for redevelopment.

Banks finds the threads of each case seem to be connected to the other, and to the dark side of organised crime in Eastvale. Does another thread link to his friend Zelda, who is facing her own dark side?

The truth may be more complex – or much simpler – than it seems ….


This is the first Inspector Banks novel I have read and the first book by Peter Robinson. Although I have seen the dramatisation of some of the books on ITV with Steven Tomkinson playing DI Alan Banks. It’s very hard to not picture him as the character when reading this. It is thanks to Pigeonhole that I am reading this book, I enjoy seeing other people’s responses as we are reading together and all giving our different views on the writing, the story, and the characters. I have to say I found this very slow reading. There are lots of things going on within the story, so following the characters that are within the police force, and the characters that are killed, or are the killers, criminals and only reading a bit a day can get a little confusing. I think it took until day seven for me to actually enjoy that days chapters. I’m not sure why that is because I like crime novels. With this one sometimes some of the descriptions are too long winded. For instance if this is book twenty six in the series and you have read every book why would you need a blow by blow description of the pathologist doing the autopsy on a body, and her using vicks under her nose, offering the same to Alan Banks. That is just one instance in the book. I would rather be reading about the investigation than too much description on what colour wallpaper or whatever is in a room! I really struggled with this one.

A young Syrian boy is found dead in a wheelie bin at the back of a house he has four little bags of cocaine in his pocket, has he been forced to work for drug dealers. A member of the NCA Hawkins died in a house fire believed to have been started by a chip pan that caught alight, so possibly an accidental fire, or something more sinister? Zelda an ex forced sex worker sees a photo of one of the men who had kidnapped her, and forced her into being a sex worker as well as drugging her. She had escaped from that life and was now with DI Annie Cabbott’s father Ray, In a happy relationship. Seeing a photograph of a man named Keane pictured with one of the traffickers that had kidnapped her, made her want to track down Goran Tadic, being one of the brothers involved in her kidnap, she works for the NCA as a super recogniser as once she has seen a face she never forgets it. She doesn’t believe that the chip pan fire in Hawkins house is what really happened. A disabled man is found dead in his house sitting in his mobility scooter, it looks like he has taken an overdose of heroin, but did he do that himself, or did someone inject him, were the young lads seen going in and out of his house cuckoos? dealers who take over the house of someone who may be slightly mentally retarded, and deal drugs from it? One of his neighbours, had seen a young lad visiting regularly, followed by lots of other comings and goings when he was there. Why is some hair from the young Syrian lad found in the wheelie bin found in this guys home, had he been forced into dealing drugs to pay off a debt, after being smuggled into the country. Then there is the attack on a young girl as she was walking home, Lisa had managed to get away without being raped, but the attack had scared her and her family.

Then there is Blayden a property dealer does he have something to do with these crimes? He is hanging around with Tommy and Timmy Kerrigan a modern day version of the Kray twins. Were they involved in drug smuggling with the Albanians.

There is a lot going on in the investigations which is great as they all tie up in one way or another. The one thing I didn’t enjoy was the constant references to the music Banks was listening to or what wine or other drink he was drinking, it just felt unnecessary to the story. Other than that it was a really good read, if you like police procedurals or if you have read Peter Robinson’s other Banks novels you will be used to his style of writing by now.

I was grateful to pigeonhole for letting me read this along with other people it makes it fun when you can post comments as you read along together, to see if you are all seeing the same things or if someone thinks something else is happening.


Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks is a major ITV1 drama starring Peter Tompkinson as Inspector Banks, and Andrea Lowe as DI Annie Cabot.

Peter’s stand alone novel BEFORE THE POISON won the IMBA’s 2013 Dilys Award as well as 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. this was Peter’s sixth Arthur Ellis Award. His critically acclaimed DCI Banks novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.

Peter grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada. Peter keeps a website at

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