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Flesh and Blood

by John Harvey

Book list Frank Elder had been a detective inspector with the Nottinghamshire police when his marriage fell apart. Now retired and relocated to distant Cornwall, he fights nightmares from an unresolved missing-person case 15 years earlier. Did the two men convicted of a similar abduction-murder also kill the still-missing teenager? When the younger of the two perps is granted early release from prison, Elder is prompted to resume his search for the missing girl. Harvey, who retired his acclaimed 10-volume Charlie Resnick series five years ago, returns to the mean streets of Nottinghamshire, focusing on another copper who feels the pain of those he encounters on the job and takes that pain home with him. But Elder is a different character than Resnick (who makes a cameo here), and those differences (Elder's relationship with his daughter, especially) give this novel a life of its own despite sharing a setting with the earlier series. (Like K. C. Constantine, who retired Mario Balzic but continued his Rocksburg series by focusing on other cops, Harvey wisely spurns the too-common strategy of starting a purportedly new series in a different setting that, in fact, recycles the same characters under new names.) What this novel shares with the Resnick series, however, is Harvey's unmatched ability to get inside the minds and hearts of his criminals and the environments that produce them. Evil is a presence in Harvey's world, but it is never an unexplained presence, and those who commit evil acts always wear tragically human faces. Harvey remains a sensitive but never sentimental chronicler of the underclass, and it's great to have him back where he belongs. --Bill Ott Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Acclaimed for his Charlie Resnick series (Lonely Hearts, etc.), British author John Harvey introduces a new detective hero, Frank Elder, in Flesh and Blood, a competent if plodding story of an old unsolved case and a teenage girl's disappearance. While the dogged Elder shares many habits with Resnick, from a prodigious appetite for common food to a difficulty with maintaining relationships, he lacks his predecessor's zest for life. Agent, Kimberly Witherspoon at Witherspoon Associates. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal After 30 years in the Nottinghamshire police, Frank Elder has retired to escape hassles and an unfaithful wife. Yet even fleeing to Land's End at the southwest tip of England can't prevent his being dogged by memories of the unsolved disappearance of a teenage girl. Soon Elder is drawn into helping the police investigate several violent crimes similar to those done by a man he helped catch 15 years ago. Past seems to merge with present, especially when Elder's own 16-year-old daughter is kidnapped. After ten highly acclaimed Charlie Resnick novels and a standalone (In a True Light), Harvey returns to the procedural (Elder even meets Resnick very briefly) for which he is so rightly praised. Tight plotting, gritty dialog, sympathetic characters and a lot of gray areas are the trademarks of a master still in great form. Highly recommended. Harvey lives in London. [See Mystery Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.]-Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.