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Far Cry: (Grayson & Walker) Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099539438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099539438
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 406,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

John Harvey’s Far Cry moves the author’s output into the treble figures and (thankfully) he shows no sign of slowing down. In this latest novel, Harvey once again airs his skill at fashioning an utterly compelling crime narrative. The protagonist here is DI Will Grayson, a well-rounded and persuasive figure (though, commendably, Harvey eschews the usual police protagonist shorthand of alcoholism and a messy private life): Grayson has two children, a contented marriage and a troubling relationship with DS Helen Walker, his police colleague. She's the one with messy private life, and Grayson ill-advisedly lectures her about her inappropriate choice of sexual partners. The interplay between the two – never overstated – is one of the pleasures of the book, as such interactions were in the author’s recent series of Frank Elder novels. One of the key concerns of Far Cry is the challenging subject of the rights of the individual.

Ruth Pierce and her husband try unsuccessfully to cope with the anguish of their daughter’s disappearance, but their marriage can’t take the strain of their terrible loss, and they separate. Years later, Ruth marries for a second time, but (to her horror) her second daughter, Beatrice, also disappears.

Detective Will Grayson is on the trail of the creepy Mitchell Roberts, a paedophile who has been released from prison, and Grayson makes it clear that he is on Roberts’ case as the latter begins his old tricks by hanging around schools. Grayson and Helen Walker (who is having an affair with an older married colleague) discover that matters at stake here are not just the protection of children from dangerous human predators – and issues such as the freedom of the individual become crucial, as lives are put at risk.

John Harvey, as ever, is able to freight such weighty matters into his narrative without ever obscuring the essential purpose of the crime novel: to compel the attention and to entertain. The entertainment here is of the disturbing variety, as so often with this author. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"This is one of John Harvey's best novels, which means it's one of the best, full stop." (Crime Time)

"Harvey's fleshed-out characters and sure grasp of the complex emotional underpinnings of society generally, and individuals in particular, make him a favourite among crime writers and readers alike" (Daily Mail)

"All Harvey's usual virtues - strong minor characters, likeable, three-dimensional cops, adroit handling of a complex plot and large cast - are in evidence" (Sunday Times)

"A taut tale exploring the themes of child abduction, abuse and bereavement... [the] understated narrative is elegant and effortlessly gripping" (Press Association (syndicated article))

"The architecture of Harvey's storytelling begs to be admired, with its multiple narratives, shifting time lines and elaborate plot details. But it's his handling of difficult characters and provocative themes that gives the book weight. All the adults in this story love children, some selflessly and others in ways that make your skin crawl, and they all react differently when the children they love are taken away from them. Harvey's touch is so subtle, his style so seductive, the he distracts us from the fact that Ruth isn't the only person whose choices are determined, or tragically derailed, by love for a child - even if it's someone else's child" (New York Times)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Oxley on 11 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
The eleven Charlie Resnick novels to date have established John Harvey in the upper echelons of British crime writers: a place he has further cemented with his three Frank Elder books.

However, `Far Cry' is the second to feature his latest creations, DI Will Grayson and DS Helen Walker - following 2007's `Gone to Ground' - to my mind the most disappointing crime novel JH has ever written.

This second outing tackles the emotive issues of child abduction and abuse. It's 1995 and Simon and Ruth Pierce find their daughter Heather has gone missing on the foggy moors of Cornwall. She's found dead but an open verdict is recorded. Cordon, the investigating officer, harbours a suspicion that there are darker elements at play, but is unable to prove anything.

Fast forward to date and Ruth is now married to her second husband Andrew, when their daughter Beatrice disappears, apparently abducted.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: to lose one daughter seems a tragedy, to lose two, looks like carelessness. At the same time, a child abuser has recently been released from jail, and DI Grayson has him under surveillance, believing he's committed far more than the one crime he was sent down for. Ruth's first husband Simon, has also re-entered her life, and he's still disturbed/obsessed over the original incident involving his daughter Heather's death.

John ties everything up well, the characterisation is good, and he's believable (up to a point) at presenting the anguish and torment that the parents of abducted children go through. But - and it's a big but - he's no better than good here, when he needs to be great.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Terry Smith on 24 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
The second book to feature DI Will Grayson and DS Helen Walker. I felt that this book was similar to Cold in Hand featuring Charlie Resnick in that for the first two thirds of the book very little happens. The story line revolves and evolves around paedophiles and child abduction, we see Will's reaction when a Paedophile he's put away is released early, we're introduced to Ruth whose first daughter disappeared on a family holiday, and we have an insight into the private lives of both Will and Helen. Then, Ruth's second daughter also disappears - Will is convinced it's the paedophile who has just been released, but this is a John Harvey novel, very well written, an easy, enjoyable read where plots intertwine, cross over and sometimes come together, and the final third moves at a much quicker pace. Overall, I thought this was a slighter better book than Cold in Hand with an ending to suggest that this might be the last of Will & Helen as a professional partnership.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Ruth sets down her cup, crosses the room and opens the drawer.

Ruth Pierce's daughter, Heather, and her friend disappeared during a foggy Cornwell night in 1995 while on holiday with her friend's family. The friend was found bruised but alive, while Heather was found dead. The death was ruled "open" as it was impossible to tell whether it was accidental or murder. Now Ruth has a new daughter, Beatrice, by her second marriage. She still finds it hard enough coping with the loss of Heather. Then Beatrice disappears. Mitchell Roberts was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. How he's been released. Will doesn't believe it was a single incident and does believe Roberts will rape again.

Harvey took a very difficult, painful and emotional subject, tuning it into a thoroughly compelling book. His emotions were honest but he managed to avoid going over the top with them.

His characters are diverse and believable. Grayson strays from the normal police protagonist in that he is married with two children. His marriage may not be perfect, but it's working and his wife, Lorraine, is as well-drawn as Grayson. His partner, DS Helen Walker, fills the more traditionally male role of being unable to sustain a relationship. But the partnership of the two characters works.

Harvey is very good at suspense. He knows how to start with small things and ratchet the tension up bit-by-bit. He doesn't use tricks, cliff-hangers or portents; just really good writing.

In spite of that, I found the story predictable and definitely could have benefited with some serious editing. At 500 pages, it was too long. Not because the story dragged, but it lacked the crispness and solid feel of his other books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit on 28 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ruth and Simon Pierce reluctantly allowed their daughter, Heather, to go on a camping trip with her best friend. She soon disappeared, her body later found in a shaft, the girl dead from a fall. The couple was divorced and Ruth remarried, soon giving birth to another daughter, Beatrice. Years later, this girl too disappeared, setting off a manhunt.

DI Will Grayson is obsessed with the case and he suspects a recently released child abuser as having abducted the young girl. He and his partner, DS Helen Walker, conduct deep investigations into all aspects of past and present crimes.

This is a police procedural at its best. John Harvey creates mountains of suspense, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages quickly. His command of language and character is flawless, and the plot impeccably constructed. The novel, 500 pages long, yet written with simplicity and economy, never bogs the reader down, and it is highly recommended.
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