As is his style, Peter Robinson wastes little time getting a reader into the storyline of Friend of the Devil. A couple pages to set the general scene, and then the action begins, usually slowly, but inexorably, and hooking you. No chance of escape after the first few pages. A bonus was learning what ginnel and snicket mean.
Halfway through the first book by Peter Robinson I read, I went to the library and requested all his other books. Some of them they had to get sent over from other libraries, so I ordered the first four, hoping they’d come in close to being in order, since I wanted to see the development of both the author and the characters in proper order. I managed to get them all in within a couple of days, and so I was able to read them chronologically, and I’ve read every one since.
I had achieved, however, my goals of seeing the development of author and characters. Here, in Robinson’s seventeenth book, his style is fully developed, and his usual characters are matured in both themselves and their roles in his books. Even though some of the characters have appeared in many of Robinson’s earlier novels, you can easily read this as a stand-alone book. If you like this book — and I can guarantee you will, so long as you like crime/detective/procedural police novels — then you, too, can go back and read his earlier ones. And if, like me, you re-read the novel you started with, your comprehension of the cast of usual characters will increase and expand. If you decide not to re-read his earlier novels, then you still will have read an excellent novel.
What I’m going to tell you about this book is straight up. No lies or exaggerations, but perhaps a little hyperbole, and I’ll give away a few morsels, but not enough to spoil the read.