by Bruce TierneyAugust, 2006
Back on the force
In Darkness &andamp; Light, British novelist John Harvey, author of the Frank Elder police procedural series, brings the veteran cop out of retirement (yet again, and somewhat reluctantly on Elder's part) to solve the case of a middle-aged woman who has gone missing after a succession of Internet-arranged dates, some with surfers of dubious integrity. Retired from the Nottingham police force, desolate over the breakup of his 20-year marriage and the brutal rape of his teenage daughter, Elder seeks out a quiet country life in Cornwall, but it is not in the cards. Darkness &andamp; Light (number three in the &andamp; series, after 2004's Flesh &andamp; Blood and 2005's Ash &andamp; Bone) finds our hero a little more world-weary, perhaps, but undiminished in skill and intuition despite his bucolic furlough. Quickly he realizes that this case bears marked similarities to an unsolved murder from some years before. Of course, many of the witnesses have dispersed in the interim, and the ones who are still around can't be trusted to remember things accurately. Elder will partner with Detective Inspector Maureen Prior, with whom he shares a strangely intimate relationship, both on personal and professional fronts. There is exquisite tension at every turn, and the resolution is both unexpected and clever. My prediction: Fans of Ian Rankin and/or Val McDermid will find a new best friend in John Harvey.