Cover image for Flesh & blood
Flesh & blood
Harvey, John, 1942-
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2004.
Physical Description:
370 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"An Otto Penzler Book."
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After his wife's betrayal and his own retirement from the force, Detective Inspector Elder has fled as far as possible to go in England without running out of land. But he is haunted by the past and in particular by the unsolved disappearance of sixteen-year-old Susan Blacklock back in 1988. Shane Donald and Alan McKeirnan, convicted just one year later for the brutal rape and murder of a young girl, remain the prime suspects in Elder's mind, and when he hears of Shane's early release from prison, he feels compelled to leave his safe haven and to revisit the scene of the crime. When Shane breaks parole and disappears and yet another young girl is horribly murdered, Elder's involvement becomes crucial. McKiernan seems to still wield a frightening power over his ex-partner even from his prison cell, and the new murder bears all the hallmarks of their earlier crime. Taunted by postcards from the killer, an increasingly desperate Elder battles his own demons as he and his family are inexorably drawn into the very heart of the crime in this breakthrough novel from John Harvey, winner of the first-ever Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author.

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

Frank Elder had been a detective inspector with the Nottinghamshire police when his marriage fell apart. Now retired and relocated to distant Cornwall, he fights nightmares from an unresolved missing-person case 15 years earlier. Did the two men convicted of a similar abduction-murder also kill the still-missing teenager? When the younger of the two perps is granted early release from prison, Elder is prompted to resume his search for the missing girl. Harvey, who retired his acclaimed 10-volume Charlie Resnick series five years ago, returns to the mean streets of Nottinghamshire, focusing on another copper who feels the pain of those he encounters on the job and takes that pain home with him. But Elder is a different character than Resnick (who makes a cameo here), and those differences (Elder's relationship with his daughter, especially) give this novel a life of its own despite sharing a setting with the earlier series. (Like K. C. Constantine, who retired Mario Balzic but continued his Rocksburg series by focusing on other cops, Harvey wisely spurns the too-common strategy of starting a purportedly new series in a different setting that, in fact, recycles the same characters under new names.) What this novel shares with the Resnick series, however, is Harvey's unmatched ability to get inside the minds and hearts of his criminals and the environments that produce them. Evil is a presence in Harvey's world, but it is never an unexplained presence, and those who commit evil acts always wear tragically human faces. Harvey remains a sensitive but never sentimental chronicler of the underclass, and it's great to have him back where he belongs. --Bill Ott Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Acclaimed for his Charlie Resnick series (Lonely Hearts, etc.), British author John Harvey introduces a new detective hero, Frank Elder, in Flesh and Blood, a competent if plodding story of an old unsolved case and a teenage girl's disappearance. While the dogged Elder shares many habits with Resnick, from a prodigious appetite for common food to a difficulty with maintaining relationships, he lacks his predecessor's zest for life. Agent, Kimberly Witherspoon at Witherspoon Associates. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Flesh and Blood is cause for celebration. Many grieved when Harvey "retired" his Charlie Resnick character, but now there is Detective Inspector Frank Elder, who, though different, possesses the most appealing qualities that made Charlie such a favorite. Shane Donald, whom Frank put away for an earlier crime, is out on parole, and now retired Frank must assist in the investigation of a missing 16-year-old girl. Harvey creates realistic, well-developed characters; he is particularly compassionate but never sentimental or "excusing" of his criminals. A final twist completes the wonder of this Harvey mystery. Narrator Gordon Griffin is splendid-his sympathetic understanding permeates the sadness that makes up everyone's life. He brilliantly covers the wide range of characters, instilling personality and emotion consistently appropriate for each. Superior writing that keeps the audience guessing until the last word! Essential for public libraries.-Susan G. Baird, Chicago (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.