3 01 2015

Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey


Thirty years ago, the Miners’ Strike threatened to tear the country apart, turning neighbour against neighbour, husband against wife, father against son – enmities which smoulder still.

Resnick, recently made up to inspector, and ambivalent at best about some of the police tactics, had run an information gathering unit at the heart of the dispute.

Now, in virtual retirement, and still grieving over the violent death of his former partner, the discovery of the body of a young woman who disappeared during the Strike brings Resnick back to the front line to assist in the investigation into the woman’s murder – forcing him to confront his past in what will assuredly be his last case.

This gripping tale represents an excellent conclusion to the wonderful series of Nottingham-based Resnick crime novels. Marking 30 years since the miners’ strike this compelling novel brings back many of the divisive issues from that era. As a murder mystery it really is outstanding and sees Charlie Resnick bow out in some style.



11 11 2009

Gone to Ground by John Harvey

(Actually read this some time ago) Not a Resnick one but very good nevertheless.

Will’s first thought when he saw the man’s face: it was like a glove that had been pulled inside out…Stephen Bryan, a gay academic, is found brutally murdered in his bathroom. Will Grayson and Helen Walker, police detectives investigating the case, at first assume that his death is the result of an ill-judged sexual encounter: rough trade gone wrong. But doubts are soon raised. Bryan’s laptop has gone missing – could the murder be connected to a biography he was writing on the life and mysterious death of fifties screen legend, Stella Leonard? Convinced there’s a link, Bryan’s sister Lesley sets out to prove that Bryan had uncovered a dangerous truth, and that – desperate to keep it hidden – Stella Leonard’s rich and influential family have silenced him. But soon both Lesley and Helen Walker find themselves victims of the violence that swirls around them, as gradually the investigation uncovers the secrets of a family corrupted by lust, wealth and power…

One of the more recent ones and I think this was in fact the first Harvey I picked up. Mainly set in Cambridge rather than Nottingham but some of the characters do cross over from Resnick series. Really is rather good – well-paced, well-plotted and just an entertaining read.

3 star

Last writes

21 10 2009

Last Rites by John Harvey

last rites

Getting towards the end of the Resnick series and they do just get better and better:

Lorraine Preston’s brother, Michael, was sent down for life for the murder of their father – and now he’s being allowed out for their mother’s funeral. A hardened criminal, Michael Preston is the last person Resnick wants back on his patch, even is it’s only for a matter of hours. Heartsore and world-weary, Resnick is struggling to contain an explosive situation on the streets, where the spread of guns has led to a frightening escalation in drug-related crime. The local force, meanwhile, is riven by internal rivalries and rumours of corruption. With his previously stable relationship with Hannah Campbell wavering, Resnick is forced back on his self-belief, his understanding of people. Why – himself included – they do the things they do.

Really don’t want them to end.

4 star

Still waters running fairly deep

30 03 2009

Still Water by John Harvey

Another cracking good yarn from John Harvey

still water

From the back cover:

The battered body of a young woman is found floating in the still water of a city canal. Police suspect a serial killer, which makes it a case for the newly formed Serious Crime Squad. It is not DI Charlie Resnick’s case then; not his concern. But soon another body is found, and this time Charlie has a personal interest. His lover, Hannah, knew the murdered woman, knew too that her husband was fiercely jealous, and very free with his fists. Arguing that her friend was the victim of domestic abuse, not the target of some anonymous killer, Hannah persuades Charlie to take the case on. Investigating the murder, Resnick runs head-on into deeply disturbing questions about the nature of love, about the relationship of abuser and abused, and about our complicity in our own destruction…

All a bit complicated but really very good. Fortunately not too much philosophical introspection from the good copper…


Easy does it

4 01 2009

Easy Meat by John Harvey

More slightly misleading back cover description:

Why would a fifteen-year-old boy commit suicide? Mind you, who cares when he’s a no-good kid on trial for bludgeoning an elderly couple to death? But when the senior investigating officer is then found brutally murdered, DI Charlie Resnick is put on the case, and uncovers some sinister and startling revelations. It also brings Resnick into contact with Hannah Campbell, with whom he finds himself falling unexpectedly and awkwardly in love…

Really is a pretty rich and interesting case and of course Resnick’s love interests are always awkward in one way or another. Best one yet. Am increasingly concerned though about getting to the end of this excellent series – only two to go I think.


4 star

More Nottingham fun and games

1 01 2009

Living Proof by John Harvey


When a man is found in the middle of Alfreton Road in the early hours of a Sunday morning, stark naked and bleeding heavily from a chest wound, he is the latest victim in a series of vicious attacks on men. But enquiries in the mean streets of Nottingham’s red-light district have brought the investigations to a dead end. Charlie Resnick is the man for the job. And as if he hasn’t had enough to deal with, he now has to provide police protection for a celebrity at the annual crime convention – an author with the some very unpleasant ‘fan’ mail. Chronically short-staffed as he is, it’s a guessing game as to when Resnick’s lack of manpower will have fatal consequences…

The problem with this kind of blurb is that it makes these books sound like a run-of-the-mill crime caper and really they are far from it. And this is another intelligent, well-plotted and excellently written book in a series which just keeps getting better.


Ash and Bone: more please

17 09 2008

Ash and Bone by John Harvey

Excellent. Parallel, interwoven plots featuring Cornwall, London and Nottingham as Frank Elder is brought out of retirement to get involved in another tough case. And then he has to deal with the challenges of his fractured relationship with his daughter. A whole series of credible characters, scenarios and settings and a really gripping narrative make this one of the best of Harvey’s books I’ve read. Keep them coming…

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