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Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson - Review

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

When we were on holiday at the beginning of November I scrolled soooo far in my Kindle app on my tablet. I don't use my tablet for anything else except the Kindle app - not Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook or any of that. It's not the best tablet in the world, but it works fine as a Kindle. And while I don't buy many books via Amazon anymore, I've been using a Kindle since 2011 so I have loads of books on there.

I was scrolling trying to decide what I wanted to read. I ended up deleting quite a few books that I'd either started and given up on or that I didn't want to read anymore. It was a good clean up session! Anyway I came across this Peter Robinson book that I think I bought back in 2014. I needed something a bit easy to read like that, so started it.

I have read a lot of the DCI Banks books and I love that they're set in North Yorkshire. I found them years and years ago and got both my parents into them - which proves how long ago it was because my dad died in 2008. My mum recently, a year or just over, decided she would read all the Banks books in order. She's been enjoying them and I know she's read this one. I don't read them very often because they're kind of formulaic, but I thought I would as this one was just sat on my Kindle.

In this book, a sixty year old man is found dead near his home, near a disused railway line. He's been thrown from a footbridge in a scuffle, but there's five thousand pounds in his pocket, so he wasn't robbed. He has lived a hermit's life since being fired from his teaching post at the local college four years ago. No one seems to have had much of a grudge against him, but the police have to investigate and end up going back over the man's life to his university days and some time he spent in North America.

I liked the story and wanted to know what had happened to poor Gavin. I do like DCI Banks as a character, and I also like Annie and Winsome, part of his team, although I didn't think there was enough from either of their points of view in this book. I would give it a decent rating, it kept me gripped enough.

However, I did have a few problems with the book. The timelines, for one thing. It's supposed to be set in around the year that it was published, so around 2013/2014. But that means Banks has been in Eastvale since around 1988, and he was in his forties then, so he must surely be over the age for retirement now. And that's one of the points in the book - that he is nearing sixty (so those maths don't add up) and could be needing to retire soon. I get that it's difficult to end a series like this, but the time discrepancies are just annoying me by now.

Banks is offered the chance to gain promotion to superintendent, as long as he behaves himself and plays by the rules. Which of course, he doesn't. In fact, some people complain about him, and while I get that they're making trouble, it won't make his superiors feel any better about him.

Then there's a whole thing about why Gavin was fired from teaching - he was accused of sexual harassment by two students. The way that these young women and another are treated is pretty bad. The whole book seems to be rolling its eyes at the movement towards calling out sexual aggressors, and is trying to say that there are millions of false accusations - which isn't true. It seems obvious to me that the author is from a certain generation and was peeking through just a bit too much.

Then there's a bit where Annie and Gerry have a spat, and it was so ridiculously written I just laughed. It was not how women would really behave towards each other, I don't think, especially when they both work in a man's world like the police. It was ludicrous. And in the same vein, at the very end of the book Banks takes out a young woman that he met through the case. She is thirty six and beautiful - at one point he's ogling a picture of her in a bikini - and she for some reason agrees to a date with a man old enough to be her dad. This often happens throughout the series and it is just getting ridiculous now. It makes Banks come off like a sordid old man, and I don't like it.

This book was written in 2013, at which point all the above were already ridiculous and outdated ideas, and I'm just... A little bit past them now.

We'll see whether I read another Banks book. We'll see!


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