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Close to Home    by Peter Robinson order for
Close to Home
by Peter Robinson
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

What a good book. I found it hard to put it down. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Bates has been plagued with guilt for thirty-five years over the disappearance of his childhood friend Graham Marshall. When Graham's bones are found, Bates goes home to help in the investigation of what was clearly Graham's murder. After all, the kid didn't bury himself under six feet of soil. Meanwhile, back in his own patch, a fifteen year-old boy goes missing and Alan promises to help Michelle, the inspector who is assigned the case.

The two cases parallel each other. Both boys vanished. Both boys were loners of a sort. Both boys had fathers who displayed little interest in their sons. Michelle and Alan are threatened. Are they getting too close to the answers? Peter Robinson writes a compelling novel with characters that are complete personalities, warts and all. His dialogue is simple and to the point but builds suspense quickly. His plot is first-rate and he weaves the two periods of time and the crimes together effortlessly for the reader. The author's knowledge of music is encyclopedic and he weaves it into his story. Robinson's use of world events in the 60s and the mores of the times brought back those troubled years vividly, making this novel an unabashed nostalgia trip.

Close to Home is fast-paced and action-packed. Get yourself a copy. Here's a tip. Fix a plate of your favorite food to nourish you through a mystery you won't want to put down 'til you've absorbed the very last word.

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