Review by Chris High

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is back and author Peter Robinson has come up with a gem of a novel that is rich, entertaining and utterly compelling.

As volunteers clean up after a huge outdoor rock concert in Yorkshire in 1969, they discover the body of a young woman wrapped in a sleeping bag. She has been brutally murdered. The detective assigned to the case, Stanley Chadwick, is a hard-headed, strait-laced veteran of the Second World War. He could not have less in common with – or less regard for – young, disrespectful, long-haired hippies, smoking marijuana and listening to the pulsing sounds of rock and roll. But he has a murder to solve, and it looks as if the victim was somehow associated with the up-and-coming psychedelic pastoral band the Mad Hatters.

In the present, Inspector Alan Banks is investigating the murder of a freelance music journalist who was working on a feature about the Mad Hatters for MOJO magazine. This is not the first time that the Mad Hatters, now aging rock superstars, have been brushed by tragedy. Banks finds he has to delve into the past to find out exactly what hornets` nest the journalist inadvertently stirred up.

Described by none other than Stephen King as “the best series on the market”, it is difficult to argue with such an appraisal of Peter Robinson’s abilities.

Piece Of My Heart rips along at such a pace it is akin to being placed in a jet-fighter during take-off, as the comparison’s between the latter days of the “swinging sixties” and contemporary Yorkshire underline how little has changed with regards to attitudes towards the young amongst their elders and supposed betters.

The overall key to the beauty of the novel, however, is the author’s ability to convey dialogue so deftly, naturally and succinctly. The context of each scenario is so well defined it is as visible as television in its clarity and so avoids some of the clutter that often hold back cross-generational novels so badly.

As gripping as they come, Piece Of My Heart deserves to be hailed from the rooftops for being the worthy addition to the Crime fiction genre it undoubtedly is.


Formerly a Chef, publican, shop manager, supermarket shelf-filler, library employee and deliverer of lambs, Chris High now dedicates most of his time to writing and journalism. He has successfully collaborated with singer Chris de Burgh on a collection of song based short stories available from his Website, and is currently in the process of completing his first Crime novel. Chris lives on Merseyside, England, with his cat Tigger and his dog, Duke.

Return to Fall 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006 SPINETINGLER Magazine - All rights reserved

Baby Love
If It Bleeds
Behind You!
No Help For The Dying
A Kind of Puritan
A Thankless Child
A Certain Malice