‘Aftermath’ is the 12th novel in the Inspector Banks series by Peter Robinson. This novel explores the issues of domestic abuse against women and children.
Alan Banks is acting Superintendent and feeling very much out of his depth. His main case is the disappearance of blonde teenage girls, five so far. The abductor has been dubbed ‘the chameleon’.
Maggie knows that her neighbour Lucy Payne is being abused by her husband. Having escaped her own abusive husband, she knows what Lucy needs to do but can also understand Lucy’s reluctance. When she hears a violent fight in the Payne house at 2am, Maggie fears for Lucy’s safety and calls the police.
When the police arrive, they find more than they expected. Lucy Payne is unconscious in the front hall. When they look for Terrence Payne, they find the most recent chameleon victim dead in the cellar. Then Terrence Payne strikes, leaving one police officer dead and the other under investigation for using unreasonable force.
The house becomes a crime scene and the other bodies are found buried in the cellar.
The biggest question for Banks and his team is – how much did Lucy know about what Terrence was doing? Could she possibly live in the same house and not know what was going on? Did she keep quiet for fear of her own life or was she actively involved in the abductions, abuse and murders? Along with police psychologist Jenny Fuller, Banks delves into Lucy Payne’s past to try to find clues to her present life.
Meanwhile Alan’s girlfriend Annie Cabot is working for police complaints and is tasked with investigating the actions of PC Janet Taylor when she faced Terrence Payne in the cellar.
Some of this book was quite gruesome and raised the question of how much someone’s past can affect their future.
There were some excellent characters in this story such as Maggie Forrest and Lucy Payne as well as Jenny Fuller who played a much larger role than usual.
Banks’s love life is once again full of drama as his affections cycle between his ex-wife Sandra, his girlfriend Annie, and the irresistible Jenny. Things were no clearer at the end of the novel than they were at the beginning.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series – ‘The Summer That Never Was/ Close to Home’.
Book Published 2001