Peter Robinson is the author of a page-long list of novels. Watching the Dark is one of his Inspector Banks novels. I read this one as a stand-alone. I'll never be able to follow all of the excellent series available, but my lack of knowledge about Insp. Banks didn't lessen in the least my enjoyment of this novel. I will, however, be reading the next one, Children of the Revolution, due out next month and I look forward to it now that I've made the acquaintance of these intriguing characters.
This story begins with the murder, by crossbow no less, of a former cop who has been residing in a home for injured cops or those who need psychological treatment. Peter Quinn's wife had recently died and his grief was intensified by a case that he never solved. He was obsessed with the disappearance of a young woman on holiday in Tallinn, Estonia six years earlier.
As the investigation into Quinn's murder proceeds, Banks and his detectives, accompanied by a member of what we in the U.S. would call Internal Affairs, learn about a migrant worker racket being run by crooks in both England and Estonia. Banks' assistant Annie has just returned to work after a serious injury so she and a colleague follow up in England while he and the detective investigating Quinn head off to Estonia. In the process they turn up all kinds of despicable men who prey on the vulnerable and the poor. And always on their minds? What became of Rachel Hewitt when she became separated from her friends six years ago?
The way the investigation plays out and the interaction between the characters is fascinating. The reader is brought in easily to who and what is going on. There are many victims of these evil men; I was struck by how easily many people could fall victim to them. You just don't expect people to turn on you and not care one whit about your suffering and/or your family and friends. But it happens and we all know it. Estonia's Soviet Union past is involved as well.
Source: William Morrow Imprint of HarperCollins