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WASTED YEARS by John Harvey


by John Harvey

Pub Date: June 10th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8050-2044-6
Publisher: Henry Holt

 It's 1992, and the scruffy Midlands city where Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick (Off Minor, etc.) lives and works is plagued by a series of well-planned robberies. They remind Charlie of similar happenings ten years back that ended with the jailing of taciturn, icy John Prior--after an encounter that brought Charlie closer to death than he'd ever been. Prior's blues singer wife Ruth became involved with a detective on the case--the sinister Rains. Charlie's marriage also ended about then, and Rains later left the force for greener fields. Now, Prior is about to be released from prison--supposedly a reformed man. Charlie, a passionate lover of jazz and blues, worries about the fate of Ruth, now vanished, if a vengeful Prior catches up with her. But he finds a way to track her, through pathetic small-time crook Keith Nylands, long under the thumb of his vicious onetime prison pal Darren. Keith's alcoholic father Reg, once a talented drummer, knows Ruth's whereabouts. He and Charlie strike a bargain that activates the unflaggingly tense buildup to a surprising climax. A dizzying but never incoherent panorama of broken dreams, brutal street language, bent cops, as well as those struggling to do their jobs and hold their lives together--all of it permeated by Charlie's unsanctimonious probity and clumsy grace. Harvey is truly master of the police procedural for the 90's.