Cover image for In a true light : a novel of crime
In a true light : a novel of crime
Harvey, John, 1938-
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2002.

Physical Description:
256 pages ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
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Sloane's past in New York's bohemian 1950s is never far from the slippery surface of his present in this stylish noir tale from John Harvey, the award-winning novelist touted by the London Times as "the King of Crime." Nearing sixty, Sloane has just finished serving two years in an English prison for art forgery, when he's summoned to Pisa by Jane Graham, the celebrated artist with whom he had an affair four decades before, in New York. Now on her deathbed, Jane reveals that Sloane fathered a child with her. Jane's last wish is that he find their missing daughter. Sloane agrees, but his trouble only begins when he locates the confused, edgy Connie. Let alone that she is wasting her bluesy voice singing in New York's smalltime jazz clubs; she is wasting her life big-time on Vincent Delaney, her volatile mob-connected manager. An unfamiliar paternal instinct pulls Sloane into Connie's rescue and a maelstrom of criminal violence, serial murder, police procedures, hard truths, and increasingly dangerous consequences.

Author Notes

John Harvey was born in London, England on December 21, 1938. After studying at Goldsmiths' College, University of London, and at Hatfield Polytechnic, he received a master's degree in American studies at the University of Nottingham, where he briefly taught film and American literature. He taught English and drama in secondary schools for 12 years.

He has been a full-time author since 1975. He has written more than 100 books including The Charlie Resnick Mystery series. He has received several awards including the Grand Prix du Roman Noir Etranger in 2000 for Cold Light, the British Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger and the Barry Award in 2004 for Flesh and Blood, the Prix du Polar European in 2007 for Ash and Bone, the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for Sustained Excellence in Crime Writing in 2007, and the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2014 for Fedora. He has also published several poetry collections including Ghosts of a Chance, Bluer Than This, and New and Selected Poems, Out of Silence. He has written for television and radio. Between 1977 and 1999, he edited Slow Dancer magazine and ran Slow Dancer.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

We've had to wait far too long for a new novel from John Harvey, whose Charlie Resnick series, concluded in 1999 after 10 installments, helped redefine the British procedural. And now we have something completely different. Sloane is a 60-year-old London painter, not a blue-collar copper from the Midlands, but he is also an ex-con, recently released from prison after serving time for art forgery. Summoned to the deathbed of a former lover--a far more successful painter Sloane met in New York during the bohemian fifties--he learns to his amazement that he has a grown daughter. Carrying out his dying lover's wishes, Sloane ventures to New York to establish contact with this phantom from the past. The daughter, Connie, is a struggling jazz singer whose life and career are jeopardized by a self-destructive, abusive relationship with her manager, a mobster with illusions of grandeur. Harvey jumps between Sloane in the present, forced to reengage with life in order to help his daughter, and Sloane in the past, a young painter in the Village, falling in love with Connie's mother, hearing Monk at the Five Spot, letting the full force of bohemian culture at its zenith wash over him. This is not one of those overly intellectualized art mysteries in which Renaissance paintings contain elaborate puzzles; rather, it is a streetwise, savvy thriller that uses the energy of modern art, not its peripheral pretensions, to tell a complex story of emotional rebirth. A surprising and immensely satisfying return to crime fiction for one of the genre's true modern masters. Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

British author Harvey (Lonely Hearts and others in his Charlie Resnick detective series) offers the stuff noirs are made on in this stand-alone: mean streets and shattered dreams; heartfelt jazz and smoke-filled rooms; lonely people in sleazy bars; the harmless, and the harmful who prey on them; a world in which violence is mindless, brutal and inevitable. On his return home to London after serving two years in prison for art forgery, Sloane, a 60-year-old painter and all-around loser, is surprised to receive a letter from an old flame and far more successful artist, Jane Graham, who's dying of cancer in Italy and wants to see him. In Pisa, Sloane learns that he's the father of Jane's daughter, Connie, whom she hasn't seen in years. Sloane agrees to try to find Connie and soon tracks her to New York, where she's a nightclub singer. The problem is she "belongs" to her manager, mob-tainted Vincent Delaney, who has left a trail of maimed or murdered girlfriends behind him. Two NYPD detectives, Catherine Vargas and John Cherry, are doing their best to nail Delaney, a most formidable villain, for the murder of the last woman who told him good-bye. The reader really comes to care about the tragic and compelling Sloane, whose efforts to fill his unexpected father role lead him into all sorts of trouble. While the plot might have been stronger had Sloane acted without the help of Vargas and Cherry, this dark and dazzling tale of crime and redemption can only enhance Harvey's reputation. (Sept. 12) Forecast: Blurbs from such heavyweights as Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman and George P. Pelecanos should reinforce Harvey's bona fides for American hard-boiled fans. The author has won the Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author. This one's a likely candidate for award nominations on both sides of the Atlantic. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Harvey published the tenth and last Charlie Resnick mystery (The Last Rites), fans mourned the end of that finely written Nottingham series. Fortunately, Harvey is back, though with a very different setting and protagonist. Sloane, an American just out of British prison at 59 for art forgery, is called to the deathbed of a long-ago lover, who reveals that he is a father. Sloane returns to Manhattan to discover that his daughter is a jazz singer plagued by alcohol and drugs and trapped in a relationship with a manager who seems mob-connected and may have a murderous past. Caught between memories of the 1950s art and music scene and the present, in which his emotional barriers are threatened, Sloane finds himself a reluctant knight. Harvey excels at portraying world-weary people, raw emotions, and no-win situations. This work ends more easily and is less a mystery than a search for human connections. Still, it offers Harvey's trademark command of dialog, vivid sense of place, and ever-present interest in music. Strongly recommended for most popular fiction collections. - Roland C. Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.