John Harvey






Arrow Books/Random House (Australia)
February 2005
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

John Harvey has made his name as an author with his series of books featuring Charlie Resnick. In FLESH AND BLOOD, the first in a trilogy , Harvey has branched out and created a new character, retired Detective Inspector, Frank Elder. Frank is a quiet, reserved man who is methodical in his work and a good detective. Frank has retired to a cottage in Cornwell to live a quiet life.

When Shane Donald, convicted fifteen years ago of involvement of the rape and murder of a sixteen year old girl, is released on parole it re-awakens memories for Frank. He remembers that another girl, Susan Blacklock, also aged sixteen, disappeared about the same time and no trace of her was ever found. As Frank's own daughter is now that age, he finds himself haunted by the disappearance. He decides to have another look at the case.

Shortly after Shane's release from prison he drops off the police radar and another girl is found murdered. Because of his knowledge of the first murder, Frank is called in as a consultant. Things take on a desperate urgency when Frank's own daughter fails to return home after athletic training one evening. Now Frank has another murdered girl and two missing. He has to find out if the murders and disappearances are connected and who is responsible. If he can find Shane, perhaps he'll find the answers.

For an author with a much loved series of books to embark on a new one with a different main character is a pretty brave thing to do. There are always going to be comparisons. If FLESH AND BLOOD is any indication, Harvey is going to have two successful series of books on his hands.

FLESH AND BLOOD has a number of threads. We not only follow the investigation, we also see the struggle of newly-paroled Shane trying to make his way in the world. Then there is the mother of the girl missing for fifteen years and the effect that has had on her life.

If you're new to John Harvey and don't fancy going back to read the Charlie Resnick series, FLESH AND BLOOD is an excellent place to start. If you are a fan of Resnick, then there's a new character created by Harvey you can enjoy. Harvey also writes poetry and has created a number of scripts for radio and television. His website is http://www.mellotone.co.uk/ .

August 2006

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