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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Peter Robinson mystery
Alan Banks can absolutely never take a long vacation again. He went away to the Southwestern and Pacific Coast United States for two weeks, and the world back home falls apart. One of his best nonpolice friends dies, his daughter gets herself into a mess that almost causes her death and Annie Cabbot, Banks' partner, almost loses her life too.

The "Bad Boy" of...
Published on June 30, 2010 by Patricia H. Parker

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "She was having her own adventure now."
While DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire police is on holiday in America, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot interviews an old friend and former neighbor of his, Mrs. Juliet Doyle. Juliet has come to the Eastvale station to report that her daughter, Erin, somehow got hold of a gun and brought it into their home. Erin's mother was hoping that, as a favor, Alan could...
Published on July 4, 2010 by E. Bukowsky


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "She was having her own adventure now.", July 4, 2010
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While DCI Alan Banks of the North Yorkshire police is on holiday in America, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot interviews an old friend and former neighbor of his, Mrs. Juliet Doyle. Juliet has come to the Eastvale station to report that her daughter, Erin, somehow got hold of a gun and brought it into their home. Erin's mother was hoping that, as a favor, Alan could take care of the matter without causing an uproar. Since Banks is still in California, the case is handled according to standard protocol, with disastrous consequences.

Meanwhile, Tracy, Alan's twenty-four year old daughter, who lived with Erin and a third roommate named Rose, takes up with Erin's former boyfriend, thirty-one year old Jaff McCready, a "nasty piece of work." "He was good-looking, bright, a real charmer, and maybe crooked." Tracy is ready to leave her "good girl" persona behind, and Jaff seems to be just the guy to hang out with while she reinvents herself. Peter Robinson's "Bad Boy" describes what happens when a naïve young woman gets involved with a reckless and self-absorbed man. Annie tries to help Tracy but, unfortunately, Jaff is far more dangerous than he appears, and the situation quickly spirals out of control. Soon, Jaff and Tracy are on the run, not only from the police but also from Jaff's confederates, who are even more sadistic and ruthless than he is. Soon Tracy realizes that "what had yesterday seemed like a mildly exciting lark was now turning out to be something more serious."

"Bad Boy" is one of Robinson's lesser entries in his usually superb series featuring DCI Alan Banks. The problems include: an underwritten plot in which the villains are stock characters who behave all too predictably; Alan's absence until the second half of the novel; Tracy's stupidity, which is hard to credit in the adult child of a police officer; a pat and somewhat maudlin conclusion. When Robinson is at the top of his game, he fine-tunes his characters and explores underlying themes that give his police procedurals depth and weight that formulaic genre novels often lack.

Its flaws notwithstanding, "Bad Boy" is a readable enough story about the belated maturation of Tracy Banks, who learns the hard way how miserable "bad boys" can be. Banks, who has neglected Tracy in the past, tries to redeem himself in her eyes. Police bureaucracy and politics rear their ugly heads, as usual. Banks's old confederate, the sly Dirty Dick Burgess, makes an appearance, and there may be some unfinished business between former lovers Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot. One of the more intriguing police officers is Constable Nerys Powell, who has a bit of Alan Banks in her. She is a maverick who ignores regulations when it suits her. Also noteworthy is Jamaica-born Winsome Jackman, a statuesque, smart, witty, and thoroughly professional detective sergeant. As usual, the author nicely describes the picturesque Yorkshire countryside, where tourists flock to gaze at scenic vistas. Robinson has written a serviceable mystery, but the uninspired dialogue and conventional plot prevent "Bad Boy" from taking its place among the best of Banks.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sisterhood of Stupidity, October 1, 2010
By 
MJS "Constant Reader" (New York, United States) - See all my reviews
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In the realm of pop culture the female offspring with bad taste in men and a propensity for landing in life threatening-peril has a long history. Audra in The Big Valley, Diana Fairgate in Knots Landing, Kim Bauer in 24, to name but a few, inspired in viewers like me a weekly mixture of disappointment and awe. Disappointment that yet another perfectly good opportunity to kill them had been squandered and awe that any writer could think stupidity makes compelling entertainment. Into this rich tradition Peter Robinson's Bad Boy launches DCI Banks' daughter Tracey Banks, hitherto not renown for her imbecility.

Tracey, however, is a comer. And she's surrounded by several idiotic characters and situations that serve to vault her own burgeoning dimwittedness into the stratosphere. In the first few chapters we are confronted with England's dumbest mother - what do you do if you suspect your child is in trouble? Why you toddle down to the local police station; a "gun removal" procedure that despite several characters noting that it is "by the book" strikes me as being taken from the adventures of Larry, Moe and Curly; a cardboard cutout police villain; and Tracey, who has decided to call herself Francesca to spice up her boring life. Is it any wonder that Banks himself would choose to flee the jurisdiction and vacation in California? Sadly, he's not in search of higher IQs, he's off searching his soul after the collapse of his relationship with a younger woman and his encounter with MI5. He's on a California whine tour.

To make matters even more entertaining, Robinson has decided to delete the mystery portion from this installment of this mystery series. You know who did it. Banks knows who did it. The only person who is momentarily dim on this is, you guessed it, Tracey. Her decision to cleave unto the bad boy of the title is one the goofier aspects of the book - he was her friend's boyfriend, she just fancied him until the cops got involved. Then it's shopping, trashing Dad's place and running from the man all day. Like Gym, Tanning and Laundry, only even dumber.

As if this isn't enough fun, Robinson then tosses in a super-criminal known as The Farmer (cue the foreboding music) and his two psychotic henchmen. Then he adds a graphic torture tableau. It's a relief because for the last 20 books I've been saying to myself, Excellent characterizations, complex mysteries and genuine moral dilemmas are all fine and good but when is Robinson going to get serious and deliver more gratuitous victimization of women.

I'm not a fan of this book despite being a fan of the series. Robinson can do much, much better than this book that reads more like a plea for a movie deal than an entry into what has been up to know an extremely well-written, well-plotted, thoughtful mystery series. If you're a fan of Robinson and Banks, you may want to skip this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Up to the Standards of A Good Detective Banks Mystery, July 13, 2010
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I've been a fan of the Detective Banks series for a while but this is definitely one of the weaker books in this series. It is not at the level of In a Dry Season (Inspector Banks Mysteries). In fact, Detective Banks doesn't appear in this mystery until about 100 pages into it.

The novel starts off with Julia Doyle, an old neighbor of Detective Alan Banks coming to the station house very upset. She found a gun in her daughter, Erin's, room. For those of you who don't know, unlicensed gun possession in England carries a mandatory five year sentence and always consists of jail time. Detective Banks is on vacation and so the case is turned over to others in the squad. Tragically, in the course of confiscating the gun, Julia's husband is tasered and dies as a result.

Meanwhile, we are privy to the fact that Erin, as well as Detective Banks' daughter, Tracy, are attracted to 'bad boys'. Their latest par amour is Jaff McReady, a seamy guy who is into bad stuff. As the story progresses we find out that he is trying to outfox bigger bad boys and get away with their drugs and money. In the course of things, Tracy turns from his girlfriend into his hostage. It is up to Detective Banks and his team to apprehend Jaff and save Tracy.

Their are lots of holes in the plot and the characterizations are weak. The quality of the writing is very good as is usual for Peter Robinson but he just didn't delve deeply enough into the characters and rationales of Erin, Tracy, Jaff, or The Farmer. Had he done this, the book would be longer but much more satisfying.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Peter Robinson mystery, June 30, 2010
By 
Patricia H. Parker "Bookwoman" (Springfield, Massachusetts United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Alan Banks can absolutely never take a long vacation again. He went away to the Southwestern and Pacific Coast United States for two weeks, and the world back home falls apart. One of his best nonpolice friends dies, his daughter gets herself into a mess that almost causes her death and Annie Cabbot, Banks' partner, almost loses her life too.

The "Bad Boy" of the title is a handsome, charming young man with a heart of ice and no feelings at all except for himself. Tracy Alan Banks' daughter, as with many young women, thinks he has been waiting for her to change him. Of course, this isn't going to happen. The young man, Jaff, has had a revolver taken from his bedroom by his former girlfriend. The revolver has been used in a murder and was supposed to be disposed of. Because Jaff kept it as a souvenir or as protection against the leader of the local drug syndicate who ordered the murder, the gun is in the hands of the police. The rest of the book follows the chase, by police in Leeds and London, to find Jaff and Tracy before Jaff arranges to leave England. He has threatened to kill Tracy before he leaves the country.

Even though the good guys prevail, the characters are left kind of up in the air, leading the reader to hope that even more Alan Banks books will be coming in the future.

When I saw that Robinson had written another book, I jumped at the chance to read it. I wasn't disappointed, and I recommend this one highly. If you are an Alan Banks fan, you will enjoy this book. If you have never read one of these books, this would be a good one to start with.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Mediocre Outing for Banks, September 26, 2010
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I have read Peter Robinson since his first Alan Banks procedural. As with most long series, the first several were excellent. But then the plots became predictable, the writing stale, and the recurring characters boring. I stopped reading him. When I saw "Bad Boy," I decided that after a several-year hiatus, I would try him again. Unfortunately, that was a mistake.

Robinson's recurring women characters in "Bad Boy" are immature, trite, and badly drawn. You have his partner and former lover Annie Cabot, who continues to carry a torch for her partner, even after nearly two decades. Annie has become childish and her career stalled. She has become less of a strong woman character than she was when the author first introduced her years ago. It is as if Robinson wants Annie to rue the day he had her choose her career over Banks. Banks' daughter, Tracy, hasn't grown up either. She remains thirteen years old even though she is, with this outing, in her mid-twenties. In this day and age, you'd think that a woman that age would at least think twice about going about with a man in his 30s who stashed an illegal gun in his girlfriend's flat. Tracy seems intent on punishing her father, something most kids do in their teens. By their mid-twenties, most are ready to get on with life.

Very quickly, Tracy and Annie began to grate, there were no other characters who were sympathetic so there was really no reason to continue to read the book other than Publishers' Weekly giving the book a starred review. I continued to read wanting to get to the parts that PW's reviewer read that resulted in the starred review. I never found them.

There are just too many very, very good authors writing excellent British procedurals (Charles Todd, Laurie R. King, P.D. James come immediately to mind) to waste time on mediocre authors and their books.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many bad movies, May 30, 2011
Peter Robinson has written some decent crime novels, but this isn't one of them. The dialogue is ham-fisted--from gangsters who talk like something out of a B movie from the 30's, to police officers who seem to have no idea of professional procedure, tactics or tact. Robinson lets us know that he knows he's past it as a novelist, because he is allowing series hero DCI Alan Banks to fade away to nothing, in that Banks is physically and mentally feeble in this book, and MIA for most of it. At the end he says he's thinking about quitting--Banks, that is, but Robinson should consider quitting too.

So anyway the baton rests in the hands of DI Annie Cabot and DC Winsome Jackman--who are, irritatingly, referred to by their first names. Is this because Jackman is black and both Jackman and Cabot are relatively young? Older, white, male characters, meanwhile, are always referred to by their rank and surname.

Banks' daughter Tracey is at the center of this plot. She acts with preposterous lack of intelligence and judgment for a 24-year-old woman, going along (and along and along) with the dangerous and abusive antics of a morally challenged young man just because he's sexy. The guy trashes her father's house (after Tracey has thoughtfully led the guy there and let him in). then th guy drinks Banks' best booze, slaps Tracey around, shoots her friend, rapes her, and takes her on a mad dash across country to seek out a crony of his who will get them forged passports so they can get out of the country. (Or maybe he'll just waste her and go on his own, as he sometimes suggests.) Through all this Tracey passes up several opportunities to escape, because of what the guy says might do to her in the distant future. One is hardly surprised when she--no kidding--starts sucking her thumb!!

And when Banks comes on the scene, nor does he have enough gumption to resist the guy--even when they go to the men's room together and the guy would presumably be having a hard time with his gun in one hand and something else in the other.

Well, it's just a stupid book. Terrible dialogue, vapid characters, silly plot.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lackluster ... lack of craft, August 28, 2010
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This review is from: Bad Boy: An Inspector Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels Book 19) (Kindle Edition)
First I want to state that I am a long-time devotee of the Inspector Banks series --- have purchased every entry and savored most of them. To rate this latest one only two stars was tough to do, but the truth is I just didn't like it (which, according to Amazon definitions, equates to two stars).

Others (see three-star reviews) have already cited most of the reasons why I didn't like it:

a plot that is "conventional," "underwritten,"
"threadbare," "contrived," with "holes" in it,
and "no complex problem-solving pleasures on offer"

"weak characterizations"; "stock villains"; "characters
who behave all too predictably"

"uninspired dialogue" that "lacks passion, power, or
resonance"

To which I would add: the language over-all lacks craft. In the moment I can recall one very short paragraph that had three "as ifs" in it and one not very long sentence that used the word "suddenly" twice ... with numerous other similar examples in evidence to an alert (perhaps nitpicky) reader. And the Banks-under-the-desert-sky angst-into-epiphany scene --- which could have been powerful and poignant --- was written with such tired language that, much as I care about Inspector Banks, left me unmoved.

I am grateful for all of the absorbing and stimulating reading experiences this series as a whole has provided me, but I do think an end to this series is needed ... maybe one in which Alan and Annie ride off into the sunset together to share some other-than-detecting kind of adventure ... and then on to some fresh material.

May whatever comes next for Peter Robinson as author be something that richly displays his imaginative prowess and reflects in full force his considerable writing talents. Neither is the case in "Bad Boy".

S. Bouldin
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wrote it in his lunchtime, April 10, 2011
I found this book to be boring to say the least. I have followed Inspector Banks for as long as he has been around and think Bad Boy is just short of rubbish. I think he wrote it in his lunch hour.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Way below his best!, October 14, 2010
At last, they've made a TV cop show out of DI Banks! Not sure about the casting. Anyway, Bad Boy is not good - just two many clichés, too many coincidences, too predictable, all the things that Robinson's novels never used to have. Relies on 'huge' boy sex scenes (after Banks gets leg over at the Monaco in San Francisco) , drugs (taking and trafficking), mental sadist for-hire, ex girlfriend and colleague shot and daughter kidnapped by 'huge', all within the first couple of chapters. And at the end when you think it can't be over- that can't be the lame ending - it is, with about 15 pages of analysis and explanation. I've read all the Banks books. This was the first one (apart from short stories) that I might have put down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, Not Good, September 5, 2010
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I have been losing patience with Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series of late, and unfortunately, "Bad Boy," the latest entry, was no exception. I thought the book started well, with an interesting set-up and some actual tension, but then somewhere along the way the storytelling slackened, and I stopped caring how things would turn out, particularly for Banks' dim-witted daughter (although there was never much doubt in that respect). Banks, as a character, is practically non-functioning, except for an odd 10 page expository section in which he regurgitates plot points that we, the reader, know from already having read the book. Perhaps Robinson felt the need to have Banks actually DO something, given that this is a Banks book; whatever the reason, it's redundant and unnecessary.

To be fair, there was a nice surprise towards the end of the book, and I was heartened by Robinson's return to a less complicated plot structure (the last Banks novel was an unfortunate mélange of spies, international terrorism, murder mystery and romance). That said, I wish "Bad Boy" worked better than it does. As an entry in a series that has long been a favorite, it's wholly insignificant.
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