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by John Harvey
Heineman, May 2009
512 pages
14.99 GBP
ISBN: 0434016926

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I once heard John Harvey give a talk where he admitted he'd written an eye-popping number of books a fair number of them westerns and pulp-style novels (and I don't use that term in a derogatory sense!) FAR CRY sees him officially hitting his century.

He's found his niche in the crime fiction field with three meaty series the Resnick novels (possibility his finest achievement), the Frank Elder books and now his newest hero, DI Will Grayson, who gets his second outing in FAR CRY.

Grayson is a pretty normal bloke with a wife, sprogs and a nice home out in the countryside near Cambridge. He's got a good relationship with his DS, Helen Walker, although she has very unfortunate taste in men something that Grayson is perfectly willing to point out to her.

The pair become embroiled in the case of a missing child. Ruth Pierce's daughter Heather disappeared years ago during a holiday in Cornwall. Fast forward to the present day and Ruth has re-married and her second daughter Beatrice also disappears.

Grayson becomes fixated on the very creepy Mitchell Roberts, a child abuser who's recently been released with prison. Walker, meanwhile, is in the midst of a turbulent affair with a married colleague. Both obsessions affect the two cops' work.

Harvey is one of those writers who appears incapable of turning out a bad novel. But I think it's fair to say that the Grayson series isn't the strongest. For a start, the characters don't worm their way into your consciousness like Resnick and Frank Elder did.

And in FAR CRY, it's a fairly workmanlike plot with no big surprises. The book also weighs in at a rather bloated 500+ pages, and could easily have been trimmed by a fifth.

As usual, though, Harvey tells a fluent tale and even when he's not on the top of his game, he's still better than a good many writers. If he's new to you, you might want to come back to this series after you've become acquainted with Messrs Resnick and Elder.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, September 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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