cover image Last Rites: A Crime Novel

Last Rites: A Crime Novel

John Harvey. Henry Holt & Company, $25 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-4150-7

Harvey's series about Charlie Resnick, the jazz-loving, melancholy cop in provincial Nottingham, England, has long been one of the finest police procedural series around (Rough Treatment, Cold Light, Easy Meat, others). ""Has been,"" because with this exceptionally good entry, poet Harvey says he is leaving Nottingham and Resnick behind. At least he has quit on a high note. A building turf war between drug lords, and an escape by a prisoner who had murdered his own father, are at the heart of the new yarn, skillfully interwoven in a way that only Harvey at his best can contrive. Michael Preston had gone willingly to jail for his father's murder, and when he escapes on an escorted visit to his mother's funeral, his sister Lorraine, always close to him, is fiercely divided. Only she has a sense of what may have driven him--but now he is hopelessly lost to a criminal life, and Lorraine has her own husband and children to care for. Harvey's feel for the fearful compulsions of love is as unerring as his ear for the hard-bitten Midlanders whose lives are Resnick's beat. A decent, thoughtful man in a tough job, whose tender instincts are constantly at war with his duty, Resnick is a splendidly conceived character who will be much missed. (May)