I just discovered the Charlie Resnick series and I am loving it!
John Harvey has created a believable, compassionate protagonist in Charlie. Charlie's a bit of a schlump--loves his food and isn't too concerned about grooming or fashion. He loves American Jazz and he loves his cats. This British police procedural series introduces us to the detectives in Charlie's crew and we grow to know and like them all.
When two little girls go missing and one is found murdered, Charlie fears he may be dealing with a serial killer. The story jumps quickly back and forth between characters and this method of story telling proves very effective after one becomes accustomed to it. The two little girls are the same age, but from different economic circumstances. Harvey does a fine job in showing us the devastation their disappearances cause their respective families.
Harvey is a fine writer and skilled at picturing the despair, danger and frustration of Nottingham's mean streets, where gangs of unemployed or underemployed youths take out their rage on each other. His Charlie Resnick is a bit of an outsider himself, having been born of Polish immigrants. He never seems to feel quite comfortable embracing either his Polishness or his Englishness. He's something of a loner. His marriage failed and his relationships usually fizzle as well.
He has great sympathy and concern for the victims he meets in his work, and for his crew of detectives, but his most solid relationships are with his four cats. I recommend this series without reservation.