Title: Far Cry
Author: John Harvey
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Love John Harvey, especially the Frank Elder trilogy. One of my favorite authors.
Where I Obtained the Book: On the new release shelf at my local library.
Synopsis: Ruth and Simon Graham’s rare romantic break is shattered by devastating news: their daughter, Heather, on holiday in Cornwall with a friend’s family, has disappeared. The loss is more than they — or their marriage — can bear. But time does heal, and slowly Ruth builds a new life for herself, a new husband, Andrew, even a second daughter, Beatrice.
The chances that history should repeat itself are next-to-impossible — that is until, years later, a desperate phone call launches D.I. Will Grayson and his partner, D.S. Helen Walker, into an investigation which will test their professional and emotional resources to the very limit.
Yet as Grayson becomes increasingly obsessed with a recently-released child abuser and Helen is drawn deeper into a destructive love affair with a married colleague, there is a real danger that their most testing investigation yet will slip fatefully through their hands.
Review: Nothing cannot compare to the loss of a child, especially in a violent and mysterious way. After much convincing they finally agree their 12 year old daughter go on a vacation with a friend, only to have her never return. Flash forward 15 years and their marriage is destroyed as each partner has handled their loss in their own way. For Ruth that meant a new marriage and a new daughter. Now this girl has gone missing, and Ruth’s worst fear has come true.
The plot moves along nicely and we get to see two new detectives in the John Harvey world enter the scene. The dedicated, yet determined family man, plus his hard living partner who brings out his paternal worries. But at its heart this is a story of loss and how we all experience it on our own terms. Ruth still speaks with her first daughter and is fully convinced that no one else can fully understand her loss. Though a tragic circumstance, it is this attitude that directs her life for better, and definitely for worse.
It is this ability to delve into the emotions of the crime that sets Harvey apart. The police investigate and chase after a recently released pedophile in good faith, but the true repercussions of the events are in the core relationships. Like any real crime, the interesting bit is the people and not so much the events. A lot of modern crime fiction loses sight of that and the events overshadow the heart. It is this harmony of the perpetrator, victim, and investigator that creates a fully fleshed out symphony. It is this interlaced jazz composition that Harvey is one of the best.
Enjoy this standalone, and then seek out his previous series featuring Charlie Resnick and (one of my absolute favorites) Frank Elder.
Author Biography: John Harvey (born 21 December 1938 in London) is a British author of crime fiction most famous for his series of jazz-influenced Charlie Resnick novels, based in the City of Nottingham. Harvey has also published over 90 books under various names, and has worked on scripts for TV and radio. He also ran Slow Dancer Press from 1977 to 1999 publishing poetry. The first Resnick novel, Lonely Hearts, was published in 1989, and was named by The Times as one of the 100 Greatest Crime Novels of the Century. Harvey brought the series to an end in 1998 with Last Rites, though Resnick has since made peripheral appearances in Harvey's new Frank Elder series. The protagonist Elder is a retired detective who now lives, as Harvey briefly did, in Cornwall. The first novel in this series, Flesh and Blood, won Harvey the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger in 2004, an accolade many crime fiction critics thought long overdue. In 2007 he was awarded the Diamond Dagger for a Lifetime's Contribution to the genre. On 14th July 2009 he received an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Nottingham in recognition of his literary eminence and his associations with both the University and Nottingham (particularly in the Charlie Resnick novels). He is also a big Notts County fan.
FYI: Far Cry is Harvey’s 100th book. Follow the link to read an interview with the author in This Is Nottingham.