The latest victim in a series of attacks was found naked, bleeding and wearing one sock, and inquiries were yielding no leads. Now faced with a celebrity receiving unpleasant fan mail and a lack of manpower, Charlie wonders if there will be terrible consequences for one or both of these cases.
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Perhaps what's so jarring about this latest Charlie Resnick novel is the way artifice intrudes on reality. The Resnick series has always been distinguished by the unrelenting dailiness of its vision of cops and criminals; we see the squalor, the pathos, the loneliness, even occasionally the tenderness that constitute their lives, but we see these qualities in ordinary ways, mundane detail building upon mundane detail until the gray reality of it all overwhelms us. That happens here, too, as always, but the main subject--potential murder at a crime writers' convention--seems so, well . . . writerly that we recoil in surprise, as if we'd been served a dainty bite of caviar in a joint renowned for its fish and chips. Resnick, who doesn't read mysteries, recoils, too, much more comfortable with the other case on his plate--finding a missing whore with a penchant for stabbing her johns--but he's forced to tag along at the writers' convention, making friends in spite of himself with the Sue Grafton^-like author whose life has been threatened. Just as Resnick gradually overcomes his prejudices against crime writers, so we gradually overcome our own prejudices against crime novels about crime writers. Even writers and conventiongoers, we realize, have their own gray reality, their own loneliness to confront, and Harvey does the confronting with his signature series of glancing blows, bruising in their cumulative effect. "What happens, most of the time anyway, whatever it is someone's done, somehow you come to understand." Resnick is right again, even when the something someone has done is write about writers. Bill OttFrom Publishers Weekly:
Up to now, Harvey hasn't set his Nottingham copper Charlie Resnick on a false step as the jazz-loving, culinarily adept, love-crossed inspector and his disparate colleagues have probed their way through the urban demimonde of industrial northern England. But Harvey lurches into cozy territory this time, as Nottingham hosts a mystery convention. On the scene are a successful American hard-boiled authoress and a prissy English grande dame of letters with a diminishing readership. Both have devoted underlings. As the American writer receives threatening letters in the mail, a knife-wielding prostitute has carved up a series of johns, the last one fatally. Harvey abandons noir narrative angles for noir lore, dropping the names of real-life novelists and movie stars and offering some behind-the-scenes views of mystery conventions. Although he nabs both the writer of the letters and the perpetrator of the fatal stabbing, the divorced and lonely Resnick doesn't find anyone to fill the empty spot in his romantic life. This tale, following Cold Light (1994), stands on its own, but it's the weakest entry in a series that has thus far delivered nothing less than definitive procedural fiction undershot with telling social realism.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description 2005-10-06., 2005. Book Condition: New. Arrow Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 288pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1335712
Book Description 1996-08-27., 1996. Book Condition: New. Arrow. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 288pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1709260