cover image Cold Light: A Charlie Resnick Mystery

Cold Light: A Charlie Resnick Mystery

John Harvey. Henry Holt & Company, $22 (370pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-2046-5

Harvey's sixth industrial-strength procedural featuring Nottingham copper Charlie Resnick is built of small, delicate images: a young mother warms her hands before touching her sleeping baby in a stone-cold council house; Resnick, foraging in his fridge for the makings of a sandwich, wistfully glances at the face of Billie Holliday on the front of a boxed set of CDs he has just bought himself for Christmas, though he has yet to purchase a CD player. When Nancy Phelan, a social worker, goes missing after a holiday dance, the divorced Resnick meets Dana, her flatmate, and escapes his self-imposed isolation for a brief passionate moment. Nancy's most recent lover is a likely suspect, but the case against him falters and Resnick falls into depression. A number of city cab drivers are robbed and beaten; the cops are looking for someone with a dragon tattoo and very fair hair. The elderly father of a woman cop falls ill; a killer strikes and then takes another victim ; Resnick lets the affair with Dana self-destruct through fear and forgetfulness. Harvey, a poet in thin disguise, constructs his plot masterfully, meting out surprises in subplots that reach their conclusions with sudden, unsynchronous credibility. (Aug.)