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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Charlie Resnick is a wonderful protagonist--A man who loves jazz [references to Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington and the like abound], he owns four cats named Dizzy, Miles, Bud and Pepper [how could you not love it?], and the title of the book is itself taken from the lyrics of a jazz tune that haunts him. He has not yet gotten over the breakup of his marriage. He speaks of replacing some furniture with other second-hand pieces, "something older, broken in, the shape of other lives already impressed into the upholstery." The book is at its heart a police procedural, but also a character study of Charlie and those who work with him, now and in the past, and whose paths cross his.
This is the fifth Inspector Resnick novel, and Bloody Brits is owed a debt of gratitude by those outside of the UK who have loved his novels but been unable without difficulty to find them - they have or are about to publish the sixth through ninth in the series. [The newest, and the first one in ten years, has recently been published as well.] And a wonderful thing that truly is. The book is highly recommended.
Personally I hope there are many more books to read about the policeman who has become one of my favourites.
It is also interesting to see what Resnick was like in his early years in uniform (1969) and then early on in CID. His relationships with fellow cops at that time, which affected his future also, included one good friend who was discouraged with being a cop in Nottingham and also the self-serving cops that he closed down the bars with despite his dislike of their violent and illegal ways of treating suspects and solving crimes.
The plot starts in the past when Resnick was in uniform and regularly visited jazz clubs. He particularly liked one local singer and knew who the members were in the most popular band, including the drummer who shows up in an investigation in present time. Also in present time a bank robber who threatened Resnick with a shotgun when arrested is being released after years in prison, and he has a connection with the jazz club too. The two cases collide and collude to take Resnick back into his past during his investigations and present Resnick with time for reflection that he doesn't really desire.
Harvey writes very serious mysteries. He gets in the minds and lives of the bad guys, which generally is very unpleasant and unsettling. He portrays their lostness--no job, no future--as part of the problem, but doesn't let them off the hook. In this book it was good to see one loser quit drinking and take responsibility. Still, I would prefer if Harvey spent less time in the mind of the bad guys and told more about what's happening to Resnick's co-workers, who don't get enough space in the book.
As far as the writing of this book is concerned, the technique of going back and forth in time works OK. I do find Harvey's writing style difficult to read at times, however, because he writes sentences that stretch the rules of grammar and clarity. He also tends to use so many British colloquialisms and slang terms. Nonetheless, his writing is very compelling. He also depicts places and characters well. Resnick is a good character with personal issues and also with specific traits that make him who he is, such as his sloppiness in eating. It is mouthwatering to read about the sandwiches he concocts, and it is fun to learn Resnick names his cats after jazz greats, eg, Dizzy for Dizzy Gillespie and Miles for Miles Davis. His concern about proper policing makes him a character one can like also.
For more mystery series that may entertain you, check out my website describing and reviewing many series (see my Amazon profile for the URL).