on 22 May 2014
With 'Darkness, Darkness' John Harvey delivers a supremely bitter-sweet elegy to Resnick's past and a penetrating insight into the miner's strike of 1984. Charlie, now retired from the Police but back working as part-time civilian support, is drawn into a murder investigation when the body of a woman who disappeared during the strike is discovered during the demolition of a row of old miner's cottages. As Charlie revisits the places and people that he'd encountered as a newly promoted D.I. two separate narratives unfold before coming together into a satisfying and surprising conclusion. Harvey has stated that this is the final novel about Charlie Resnick and whilst it's a perfect end to a perfect series I for one am sad that it's ending.
on 13 June 2014
Although I am a great fan of John Harvey I felt that like his hero he was getting ready for retirement.The plot was ok but it didnt have the excitement of his past novels and I found it slightly boring which was very disappointing.
on 26 May 2014
John Harvey has stopped writing Resnick novels before, but then Resnick crept back, first in a cameo in a Frank Elder book, then in an apocalyptic novel of his own. This time, John Harvey means it. It's over, and it's right. Resnick has aged in real time, and it's time for him to sit back and enjoy the gherkins.Investigating the death of a woman presumed missing during the miners' strike Resnick (formally retired) assumes a watching brief, but nonetheless the story is all about him, as we flash backwards and forwards to a past of which he was very much a part. John Harvey has announced that he probably won't write any more novels at all. Much as I appreciate his work, I can't bring myself to get annoyed about this. He is a consistently high-achiever, and has kept his standards up right until this, the very end.
on 2 September 2015
As a PC during the miners strike and being involved in some of the areas of conflict written in this book I was able to put myself there especially as I still live locally. A really good story and one I felt at home with especially as I finished as a statement taker for Derbyshire Police.
This was one of those rare books where the anticipation of reading it was tempered by the knowledge that it is probably going to be the very last Resnick novel, from one of my favourite writers. Disappointing then, to find that Darkness, Darkness is something of a damp squib.
Dealing with a cold case from the miners' strike of 1984, Harvey switches the narrative between the present and those dark, unsettling times, and the atmosphere of the mid-eighties is indeed done well. But as the main theme for Resnick's last case, it does feel a bit pedestrian and underwhelming. Resnick seems a shadow of his former self, almost a secondary character at times, and much of the set piece action - dialogue conducted during police interviews over cups of tea and scones and jam - has been done to death by Harvey in other books, and here felt occasionally like something Peter Robinson would come up with to keep his stories going.
"Cold in Hand" was one of the most gripping - and shocking - novels I have read, and that's down to the sense of caring about Resnick and finding him a really believable and well-drawn character. Here, it just all feels a little tired and jaded, with the sense that Harvey is casting one last look back over the various landscapes and themes that have fuelled his books over the years.
Readable enough, but slightly under-powered as a finale to a generally wonderful series of novels, Darkness, Darkness will prove to be a bitter-sweet read for many fans of Harvey's work I suspect, particularly those who will come to this expecting a bit more than it delivers.
on 25 November 2014
I was horrified to discover that this is to be the last Resnick novel. However the story (excellent as always) also provides scope for further reading about the miner's strike and the actions of the Thatcher Government. I already have taken note of John Harvey's recommendations in the afterword and appropriate orders are already with Amazon.co !
on 20 October 2014
Detective inspector Charlie Resnick has seen fine service over the years, since he first appeared in 'Lonely Hearts' in 1989, solving a succession of murders in Nottingham in between consuming elaborately constructed sandwiches and upmarket coffee, looking after his menage of cat and listening to vintage jazz.
Resnick is not a dynamic man - years of loyal support for Notts County Football Club have worn the spark out of him - but he is awash with humanity, and it has always been clear that he really cared about the victims of the crimes he had to investigate.
This latest volume sees him in retirement but, like Ian Rankin's more bellicose retired inspector, John Rebus, he has returned to the outer reaches of the fold, helping out in a semi-official capacity in a lower rank. Of course, John Harvey has sold us the dummy a couple of times before, leading us to believe that both 'Last Rites' and then, some years later, 'Cold in Hand' would be Resnick's last outing.
Thirty years ago Resnick had been part of a team gathering intelligence on the activities related to the Miners' Strike which was then in full swing, leading to bitter encounters in may Nottinghamshire villages where many of the miners were still working. Back in the present day, a body is uncovered in Bledwell Vale, one of the villages in the north of the county where the divisions of the Miners' Strike had been felt most fiercely. The pathologist's report suggests that the body dates from that period, and Resnick is plunged back into his memories, many of which are less than happy.
As always, Resnick is immensely believable. This time, however, rather than leading the investigation he is almost the hired help, assigned to support Detective Inspector Catherine Njoroge, a rising star of CID who has had to contend with overcoming prejudice within the ranks against her on three counts - as a woman office, as someone of Ghanaian descent and as a graduate on the fast track to inspector. She is, however, a supremely capable detective. She may differ from Resnick in her investigative provenance, but she too has a great sensitivity, and the reader senses that in different circumstances they might have made a very powerful team.
Harvey captures the East Midland dialogue very ably - having grown up nearby I am almost embarrassed to see the local tongue caught on paper! The plot is very well constructed too, and the characterisation is spot on. Harvey, and Resnick, are both in mid-season form here. A sparkling addition to the Resnick canon, and a fine note on which to end.
And so another well-acknowledged stalwart of the northern crime scene finishes his last role. Charlie Resnick has been around a long time and this latest (and last) novel is as vibrant as ever. The memories of the Miners' Strike will take more generations to pass by before just maybe the old wounds will begin to heal.
This take on the scenario at the time, shows a different side to the way the miners conducted themselves. especially with regard to trying to obtain money to keep afloat their hopeless cause.
In the middle remains the anger and the desperation of no work, no job, no prospects so when a body is discovered by chance, underneath some fairly recent renovation work, a cold case becomes rather more important.
It's a good story which flits seemlessly from today's events to those of the Striking years and the final clues do not become apparent until the end of the book.
I'm pleased the author hasn't totally signed off Resnick. Maybe he'll reappear but, meantime, we can enjoy this book knowing that it is a fitting story to match the earlier releases.
on 26 April 2015
If you can't get enough rape and physical violence committed to the women characters from the public you can add in a subplot where your female police investigators get stalked and attacked. This is simple gratuitous nasty and misogynistic - it's also been done so often it's a tired plot device as well as a nasty one.
It felt as if the author didn't believe we'd find the miners strike plot interesting enough he had to up the female body count, sexual assault scenes to keep our interest. It's a sad world where detailed descriptions of violent attacks on women are what seems to sell books, rather than interesting plotting or detective work.
on 28 May 2014
I first came across Charlie Resnick via Tom Wilkinson as his TV persona in the early 90's. Being suitably taken with the character and having lived in Nottingham the books were a great find and I really enjoyed them. I was therefore delighted when I had the opportunity via Netgalley to review this latest offering. As with previous titles I was not disappointed.
As a character Resnick has always been likeable because while he is a realist, he has never succumbed to the worn down cynicism that hangs over many detectives, he always shows his humanity.
In this, sadly, final novel he finds himself seconded to a cold case team searching for the killer of a young woman who went missing during the Miners' Strike. As he had run an information gathering unit at the heart of the dispute, this case brings him into contact with characters from his past. As well as being a well written murder mystery, it is an interesting insight into the Strike and how it was perceived, as well as how it was manipulated by the authorities. A subject that is topical given ongoing reviews of how the South Yorkshire Police in particular handled the situation.
While Resnick confronts the past, he is also very much in the present, as he is still coming to terms with the violent death of his partner.
Despite the long gap between the last book and this, John Harvey has not lost his touch, and if this is the last time we meet Resnick, this novel is a fitting end.