Tuesday, August 12, 2008

REVIEW: Flesh & Blood

Title: Flesh & Blood
Author: John Harvey
Protagonist: retired police detective, Frank Elder
Setting: present-day Yorkshire, England
Series: #1
Rating: A

First Line: Soft and insinuating, the cat brushed against his face, and Elder, still three-quarters asleep, used his arm to push it away.

After his marriage fell apart, Frank Elder retired from the police force and moved to way down south to Cornwall. But he's reminded of a 14-year-old cold case when a murderer is released on parole. Elder had always thought that the parolee and his partner had killed Susan Blacklock, but he had never been able to prove it. Perhaps he can get more information from the parolee now that he's stewed in prison for a few years. With that hopeful thought in mind, Elder heads back north. Almost immediately, a young girl goes missing there; a young girl who's eerily similar to those disappeared ones all those years ago. Now Elder has even more incentive to speed up his investigation.

This is my first John Harvey novel, and it won't be my last. His pace is deliberate, even slow at times, but the story is so rich that it should move slowly in order to ratchet up the suspense. Harvey's characterization is rich and complex, and his subtle inclusion of telling details adds so much to the setting and the people who inhabit it. I look forward to many more outings with Frank Elder.

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