LAST RITES by John Harvey


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Unhappy news for the many fans of Harvey’s Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick (Still Waters, etc.). This is the tenth and presumably the last of his appearances. Crime in Nottingham has escalated since the early days—drug dealing and all that goes with it are major plagues now—but at the moment the police forces are absorbed by the escape from custody of Michael Preston. Serving a life sentence for the killing of his father, Preston had been allowed, handcuffed and under heavy guard, to attend the funeral of his mother. Guard or not, though, after the rites he escaped, further agitating his sister Lorraine, her husband Derek, and their two teenaged children. Meanwhile, Resnick’s division, headed by Helen Siddons of Serious Crimes Department, is struggling to find the on-the-take traitor in their midst while a quiet war ensues between big-time drug dealers Drew Valentine and others. There are robberies, stabbings, shootings—all more or less routine while Resnick tries to sort out his feelings for old love Lynn Kellogg (presently in great need of comfort since her father is dying of cancer) and teacher Hannah Campbell, a newer but not stronger attachment. It all becomes background to the last desperate efforts of Michael Preston to make good his escape, gathering a fortune, getting even with old enemies, and, most urgent of all, taking with him the only thing he ever really wanted. Harvey’s characters live; his plotting is many-layered but never impedes a solidly escalating suspense: Charlie Resnick—all too human in the noblest way—will be sorely missed.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8050-4150-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2000


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