My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Yorkshire DCI Alan Banks (a favorite of mine) is assigned to the case of a fellow detective, Bill Quinn, who was bizarrely shot to death with an arrow from a crossbow. Among his effects are a series of compromising photos, which prompt the higher-ups to call in a professional standards officer, the “icy blonde” Joanna Passero. Banks resents having to work with one of the “rats”. When a second body turns up, that of a freelance reporter from Talinn, the case leads this undynamic duo to Estonia. Along the way, Joanna learns something about the detective business, while Banks unearths a myriad of shady characters involved in human trafficking, and resolves a six year old cold case. Corruption and greed are rampant, and as is true in many other recent suspense novels, the spotlight shines on post-Soviet Eastern Europe and organized crime. More police procedural than thriller, Watching the Dark also follows the efforts of Banks’s usual partner, DI Annie Cabot, who ties up several important loose ends that are crucial to cinching the net around the perpetrators. What the book lacks in excitement it more than makes up for in timely, contemporary detail.