The Nottingham based, sandwich eating, part-Polish Inspector Charlie Resnick is easily the best detective in modern British literature. Resnick is different to the sharp-suited detectives & the "not playing by the book" rebels normally seen in crime fiction. Most of DI Rebus's arrests would be thrown out of court for procedural irregularities. Even Inspector Morse would be useless in real life.... not so Charlie Rebus. Rather than brilliant logical leaps Resnick solves the crimes by hard work, interviewing suspects & following up leads from informants. At heart the crimes he solves are pointless nasty & brutish & the crimals either nasty & brutish or commited by "normal" people in moment of panic. The cases built against them are watertight. The books are gripping, not because they play a great detective against a master criminal, but because of the superb characterisation & descriptive skill of the author. Much of the strength of the books come from the reality. You can walk the streets of Nottingham and find all the locations described in each story. All the locations described by Harvey exist, from the huge Victorian Villa's of the Park estate (in the shadow of Nottingham castle) to the graffiti & desolation of Hyson Green & the broken pavement outside the Polish Club on Sherwood Rise. The crimes investigated by Resnick really do happen on a day to day basis. In “Still water” several young women are found strangled & dumped in the city's canal. The cases are passed to the newly formed serious crime squad, but Resnick becomes involved when his partner, Hannah reveals that she knew the latest victim....and her abusive husband. Resnick investigates and get nowhere...until he receives a chance bit of information from a taxi driver who knew the victim. It’s a crime that these books aren’t more widely read. Fans of Ian Rankin’s Rebus series would be especially advised to try John Harvey.
I've read all the Resnick novels and have not been disappointed, even on re-reading. The sad, lonely Resnick who wants to see the best in everyone but is forever disappointed - is it to do with his Polish ancestry?
Brilliant plots, great, in depth characters - a cracking good read