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10 Reviews
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5* but one for the fans
The last time I saw John Harvey at a book signing he made a fairly profound comment: he doesn't think of himself as a crime writer but a writer who's books feature a crime. This is quite critical to those who are tempted to try him for the first time. Most crime writers focus on the pathology of the crime and have the hero racing around trying to solve it in a battle of...
Published on 13 July 2010 by Peter Symonds

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shades of black rather than blue
I am a big fan of John Harvey, and he's one of the few writers I like whose short stories are worth bothering with. However, this latest collection is pretty hard going, and seems to mark an even bleaker turn in Harvey's writing and storylines. There is a sameness here that I've not really noticed before; there is very little lightness amongst the shadows and after a...
Published on 17 July 2010 by Jl Adcock


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shades of black rather than blue, 17 July 2010
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Paperback)
I am a big fan of John Harvey, and he's one of the few writers I like whose short stories are worth bothering with. However, this latest collection is pretty hard going, and seems to mark an even bleaker turn in Harvey's writing and storylines. There is a sameness here that I've not really noticed before; there is very little lightness amongst the shadows and after a while it's rather grim stuff.

I completely agree with another reviewer here that this is perhaps one for Harvey completists and fans familiar with this work. The reason for this is that the stories in the collection act as bridges and space fillers to tell us what's happened to some of the characters that Harvey populates his novels with. So, we get an update on the lives of Charlie Resnick and some of the minor characters he encounters in Nottingham; the same for Frank Elder and Will Grayson. For me, the Jack Kiley stories are the best in this volume - a character never yet carrying a full-length novel from Harvey, so perhaps a little fresher for that.

The writing is still good, but Harvey's off the boil a bit in places, and turns of phrase don't trip quite as neatly off the page as they once did. You can still admire the craft and spareness of words in places, but it's becoming harder work to really engage with a constant barrage of doom and gloom, with nothing to lift the mood of these dark places and darker characters.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5* but one for the fans, 13 July 2010
This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Hardcover)
The last time I saw John Harvey at a book signing he made a fairly profound comment: he doesn't think of himself as a crime writer but a writer who's books feature a crime. This is quite critical to those who are tempted to try him for the first time. Most crime writers focus on the pathology of the crime and have the hero racing around trying to solve it in a battle of brains. Harvey doesn't: he writes about loss; whether loss of a career, a loved one, a relationship or a life. As such his books are terribly, terribly sad and often not easy reading. The crime is usually, but not always, the source of the loss and as such as his main characters are cops or those connected to the police, criminals and victims but the emphasis is always on the tragedy that results from the crime, not the crime itself.

He writes in complex sentences (and being slightly critical) can meander a little so his works are for those who can curl up on a sofa and really concentrate on the story. As such I've taken my time reading this collection of short stories and only read one or two at a time.

This compilation comprises just about every short story Harvey has written since Now's the Time: The Complete Resnick Short Stories and includes the novella Trouble in Mind (Crime Express) It features 4 Resnick short stories spanning about 10 years of Resnick's life plus 7 featuring an ex-met policeman Jack Kiley who's claim to fame was 5 mins of fame as an amateur footballer who scored a hat trick in the FA cup (his loss was the injury that ended the career before it started). Kiley is a character who never quite had enough "meat" for a full novel but allows Harvey to write about his new home (North London) in the same way that he wrote about the underbelly of Nottingham with Resnick.

The Resnicks mostly feature his relationship with stripper Eileen who's played a larger part in some of the novels. These are really ones for the fans as they're more ways of adding extra detail to the novels rather than stories in themselves. In the same way one story covers the moment Frank Elder from Flesh and Blood found about his wife's infidelity (the loss there being loss of a wife's love). Finally there are a few stories featuring Harvey's great love: 50's Soho and the Jazz scene. In these the loss suffered by the normally un-named musicians are the loss of promising careers to drugs or gang violence.

I don't know North London well but I live in the middle of Resnicks Nottingham and the detail is beyond perfect. Every house, signpost and street in the Nottingham stories is exactly as described. I have no doubt the stories in North London and Soho are just as accurate.

I'd give this collection 5* because as a real fan of John Harvey these short stories all compliment his portfolio of novels. I'd recommend those tempted to try Harvey for the first time try one of his older novels first as a way of getting to know his characters more fully. I can appreciate how new readers might be disappointed by this collection but regular readers of Harvey will love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie and a little too realistic, 1 Jun. 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Paperback)
If you want some top notch crime thriller short stories then Arrow have just catered to your every wish. Within this offering is a series of tales that fit quite firmly into short journeys or for a brief five minute read that feel a bit more realistic than a lot of the titles out there.

They're dark, gritty and above all set within our world with consequences that are just too realistic to be believed. Whilst some would say that John is concentrating on the darker part of the human mind its these tales that bring the humanity to the fore of many of the cast. Beautifully written and above all with a prose that just ingrains itself within the psyche of the reader it's a title that will definitely embed itself within your imagination and perhaps give you the odd nightmare.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Takes, 5 July 2010
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Hardcover)
Of the 18 short stories in this collection, four feature Charlie Resnick, seven north London detective Jack Kiley, and one in which they both appear. Each, of course, is a well-known protagonist featured in prior John Harvey novels. And their characters come through even more strongly in a short story.

As Mr. Harvey writes in an introduction, the short story form gives an author greater latitude to experiment with an idea or character to learn whether or not use can be made later in the novel format. The extremely well-written, well-constructed short stories are a prime example of that observation.

Not lost in the shuffle is Harvey's fascination with the world of jazz, nor his descriptions of London and outlying areas, especially the more depressing aspects of English life and the world of crime.

Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars John Harvey, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Paperback)
I enjoy John Harvey's stories..The characters are always treated sympathetically, especially the women. I especially
like Resnik. Short stories hold one's attention because so much happens in a shorter time than novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good collection, 26 Oct. 2013
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I'm told some of these stories have been published before but this is a good collection with lots of stories with familiar characters; kept me happy when I ran out of 'proper' books to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction, 11 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Hardcover)
This book of short stories is a great introduction to John Harvey for new readers. If you're a fan already, you need no introduction to a great crime writer
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5.0 out of 5 stars I am a massive John Harvey fan and I love the way he brings all his detectives into each ..., 25 Mar. 2015
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Mrs. J. Hall (Coventry, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Paperback)
I am a massive John Harvey fan and I love the way he brings all his detectives into each others story even if only for a minute
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 Aug. 2014
This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Paperback)
great stories as always from my favourite writer
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars wake me up somebody!, 7 Sept. 2010
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kermit 333 (England UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Darker Shade of Blue (Paperback)
I'm not a big fan of John Harvey's Resnik but I do like the Frank Elder novels. But this volume of short stories bored the pants off me I'm afraid! I try very hard not to put a book down until I have finished it but had to give up on this one. (I read up until the last two stories) I simply didn't find the stories interesting. There was no twist at the end to inject a bit of interest and some of the stories were extremely short, almost as if Mr Harvey had jotted down a few thoughts and then decided to publish them. As one of the other reviewers has said it is for completists only.
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A Darker Shade of Blue
A Darker Shade of Blue by John Harvey (Paperback - 3 Jun. 2010)
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