Good Reading : April 2008
28 goodreading ı APRIL 2008 word of mouth crime fiction Cold in Hand John Harvey Harvey is back writing about his long-term character Charlie Resnick, the jazz- and cat-loving Nottingham detective. Resnick is now nearing retire- ment and has been put out to pasture in the robbery squad, but is called back into homicide to investigate the shooting murder of a sixteen-year-old girl in a gang fight. Lynn Kellogg, Resnick’s much younger partner, also a detective, was shot, but not fatally, in the same fight as she tried to ar rest the girl. Kellogg was also investigating the stabbing murder of a massage parlour worker. Sounds like a typical day in the life of an inner-city British cop in the 21st century.There are plenty of references to earlier times, to that ‘Life on Mars’ era when a quick cosh on the head or knee in the groin topped the perp in his tracks. Now it’s fill in three for ms and ffer the crim a cup of tea and biscuit. Cold in Hand – he title is a song sung by Bessie Smith – is an excellent police procedural, nicely balanced between gripping detective work and glimpses into the domestic lives of the well- drawn characters, from a Silver Dagger-winning author. ★★★★ William Heinemann $32.95 Reviewed by Alison Pressley Murder on the Apricot Coast Marion Halligan This is the second crime novel for Halligan, an award- winning Australian author best known for literary novels, essays and short stories. Here she returns to the world of Cassandra and the colonel, the main characters introduced in The Apricot Colonel. In this book the couple, now happily married, learn of the accidental death of a friend’s daughter. But after a bit of investiga- tion it doesn’t seem so accidental and again the reader is taken on a journey into the darker side of Canber ra life. The story is told in Cassandra’s voice and Halligan’s writing is lyrical, filled with beautiful descriptions of food, people and Cassandra’s daily life in Canberra. It’s an easy story to become absorbed in. Not only does the mystery keep the pages tur ning, but the descriptions of the city and coast, the colonel, and Cassandra’s philo- sophical meanderings about life and her relationship with her new husband, are most enjoyable. ★★★ Allen & Unwin $21.95 Reviewed by Germaine Leece Nothing to Lose Lee Child Jack Reacher rides into a small Colorado town, is hassled by the local sheriff ’s deputies, sniffs the air and says ‘Somethin’s not right – I’m gonna get to the bottom of this mystery!’ Well, that’s how the story should start – it’s about as simplistic as that. As with most Jack Reacher novels, we pick up with our hero somewhere in his aimless wanderings around America, staying out of sight of authority. Then he goes out of his way to buck local authorities in the town of Despair, Colorado and get himself noticed; in this case, beaten up and thrown out of town for vagrancy. Naturally he has to turn right around, come back and scout out the town until he identifies the cause of all this unfriendliness. It’s a potpour ri of motives revolving round government shenanigans n Iraq, US Ar my deserters and a eligious clique – a confused plot hat never really gels. I’ve enjoyed ome of the earlier Reacher novels but this one left me feeling empty. I like the Jack Reacher character in an odd kind of way and would be happy to see the author reinvigorate the franchise with some fresh plots and zippier writing. ★ Bantam Press $32.95 Reviewed by Brooke Walker Help Good Reading ‘Throw the book at MS’! YOUR READING GROUP IS INVITED! Help us raise money for research into Multiple Sclerosis. For information on how you can get involved visit our website at www.goodreadingmagazine.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 9360 4128.