Cold in Hand (Charlie Resnick Series #11)
  • Alternative view 1 of Cold in Hand (Charlie Resnick Series #11)
  • Alternative view 2 of Cold in Hand (Charlie Resnick Series #11)

Cold in Hand (Charlie Resnick Series #11)

3.5 6
by John Harvey

View All Available Formats & Editions

It's Valentine’s Day, and a dispute between rival gangs leaves a teenage girl dead.

Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick, nearing retirement, is hauled back to the front line to help deal with the fallout. But when the dead girl’s father seeks to lay the blame on Resnick’s partner, DI Lynn Kellogg, Resnick finds the line between the personal and


It's Valentine’s Day, and a dispute between rival gangs leaves a teenage girl dead.

Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick, nearing retirement, is hauled back to the front line to help deal with the fallout. But when the dead girl’s father seeks to lay the blame on Resnick’s partner, DI Lynn Kellogg, Resnick finds the line between the personal and the professional dangerously blurred.

Meanwhile, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency starts to show a keen interest in one of Kellogg’s murder cases--a case the agency is convinced is linked to international gun running and people trafficking. Soon Kellogg is drawn into a web of deceit and betrayal that puts both her and Resnick in mortal danger.

In Cold In Hand, John Harvey brings back "one of the most fully realized characters in modern crime fiction" (Sue Grafton) in another heart-stopping procedural.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher


"Harvey's Resnick novels are far and away the finest British police procedurals yet written."—GQ

"John Harvey['s] Charlie Resnick police procedurals are immortals of the genre."—The Washington Post Book World

Patrick Anderson
The police procedural is a genre that, like the sonnet or the haiku, follows certain rules. You have the cop, the crime and the pursuit. You can be pretty sure that the cop will be skillful enough to ask the questions that will unveil the guilty party, that he will have a bit of romance in his off-hours and that he will be a stubbornly honest fellow who has frequent conflicts with inept or corrupt superiors. Ed McBain was one of the 20th-century masters of the form, just as Harvey is today, along with Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin, whose rumpled, stubborn, romantically challenged Harry Bosch and John Rebus were surely influenced by Resnick. It's a form with limitations: predictability, for one thing. It's hard, within the form's boundaries, to rise to the level of more expansive stories like Dennis Lehane's Mystic River or Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know. But the procedural endures because cops-and-robbers tales are as basic to our popular culture as Westerns once were, and Harvey, who turns 70 this year, writes them as well as anyone alive. If you enjoy police procedurals, this sad, powerful novel will surely give you pleasure.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In 10 novels over 10 years (1989-1998), Charlie Resnick, the jazz-loving police detective, made Nottingham's turf familiar to readers who never came within 1,000 miles of it. Now, after a supporting role in Ash & Bone(2005), an older Charlie on the cusp of retirement makes a welcome and brilliant return. A pair of murder investigations form a knotty tangle, reflecting nasty changes in Nottingham: the first a gang dispute resulting in a fatal shooting, the second the murder of an East European prostitute imported for the sex trade. The latter case collides with a separate inquiry mounted by the SOCA (Serious and Organized Crime Agency). As always, Harvey handles the police procedural aspects with easy competence. But the characterization shines brightest as the thoroughly decent, competent Charlie navigates the treacherous waters of his profession that threaten to swamp his personal life. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A welcome return for Nottingham Inspector Charlie Resnick, who's been absent from novel-length crime-fighting since Last Rites (1999). Stepping in to stop a knife fight between two teenage girls, DI Lynn Kellogg grabs Kelly Brent and pivots with her just as shots are fired, hitting her and killing Kelly, whose father accuses Kellogg of causing his daughter's death by using her as a human shield. A manpower shortage moves Charlie Resnick from low-level paper-shuffling to solving the murder despite his personal involvement with Lynn, who's shared his home the past few years. Among his immediate questions, two stand out: Who was the real target, Kelly or Lynn? And where did the Baikal semi-automatic that spat out the fatal bullets wind up? When Lynn recovers, she has to deal with another murder. A massage worker at a sleazy parlor run by the Zoukas brothers is dead. First one, then the other of two witnesses disappear. And Stuart Daines from the Serious Organized Crime Agency warns Kellogg off with the admonition that she's intruding on a major gun-running bust that stretches from Lithuania to Albania to the back alleys of Nottingham. Both Charlie and Lynn are making incremental inroads when the unthinkable happens, leaving Charlie sodden with grief. Harvey is widely acknowledged as an expert at grit, police politics and the noir rumblings that crisscross Nottingham. But who knew he had such a fine ear for the nuances of grief? If you can read this without crying, you have no heart.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Charlie Resnick Series , #11
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt


It was that curious time, neither day nor night, not even properly dusk, the light beginning to shorten and fade, the headlights of a few overcautious drivers raising a quick, pale reflection from the slick surface of the road, the main route back into the city. Past Ezee-Fit Tyre Change & Exhaust. Quality Decking. Nottingham Building Supplies. Carpet World. The occasional small parade of shops set back to one side: newsagents, florists, Chinese takeaway, bookies, Bargain Booze.

Lynn Kellogg was driving an unmarked car that jolted slightly when she downshifted from fourth to third, the Force radio whispering sweet nothings through a field of static. She was wearing blue jeans and a pair of scuffed Timberlands, her bullet-proof vest still fastened beneath a red and black ski jacket, unzipped.

There were schoolkids all along both sides of the street, spilling over the pavements, pushing, shoving, shirts hanging loose, rucksacks slung over their shoulders, sharing, some of them, the headphones from their MP3s and iPod nanos; a covey of girls, no older than thirteen or fourteen, skirts barely covering their skinny behinds, passing a joint between them. Another day, Lynn might have pulled over, stopped, delivered a lecture. Not today.

February 14th, Valentine’s Day, a little after four P.M. and she wanted nothing as much as to get home at a reasonable time, strip off these clothes and soak in a hot bath. She’d bought a present, nothing fancy, a DVD, Thelonious Monk, Live in ’66, but it still needed to be wrapped. The card she’d left propped up against the toaster where she thought it might get found. When she glanced in the mirror, the tiredness was all too clear in her eyes.

She had been sitting with her second cup of coffee that morning, half-listening to the early news: Another fifteen-year-old had been shot in Peckham, south London, the third in almost as few days. Payback. Bravado. Respect. Some part of her thinking, at least this time it isn’t here. She knew the number of senior detectives currently investigating gun-related incidents in the Nottingham area and environs was such that the Homicide Unit were having to consider bringing in officers from outside.

As the newsreader moved on to the prospect of more job losses in the industrial sector and she reached for the off switch, the phone cut in.

"It’s okay," she called through to the other room. "It’s probably for me."

It was. A man holding his wife and children prisoner in Worksop, north of the county, threatening them harm. Almost certainly armed. Lynn swallowed another mouthful of coffee, poured the remainder down the sink, and grabbed her coat from where it was hanging in the hall.

"Charlie, I’ve got to run."

"I’ll see you later," he said, hurrying to the door.

"You better." Her kiss just missed the side of his mouth.

"The table’s booked for eight."

"I know."

A moment and she was gone.

Nine months earlier, Lynn had finished her training as a Hostage Negotiator, ancillary to her main role as Detective Inspector on the Homicide Unit, and since that time she had been called out twice, both incidents being peacefully resolved. In the first, a fifty-five-year-old man, forcibly retired, had held his previous employer captive for eighteen hours, under the threat of trepanning his skull with a sharpened scythe; Lynn had eventually talked him into setting his weapon aside and releasing his prisoner with promises of a hot meal, a probable maximum of seventy-two hours’ community service and a personal interview at the local Job Centre. Her second call out had been to a twenty-four-hour grocery store, where an attempted robbery had resulted in one youth being arrested as he tried to flee the scene, leaving another inside with a Stanley knife to the throat of the terrified Somali shopkeeper. Against Lynn’s advice, the Incident Commander had allowed the youth’s mother to talk to the boy directly and her pleas for him to surrender had succeeded where Lynn’s had so far failed. Bad practice but a good result, the shopkeeper unharmed, the youth walking out in tears into his mother’s arms.

This particular morning it was a thirty-four-year-old engineer who’d returned from a six-month stint in Bahrain the previous evening to find his wife in bed with his ex-best mate, the three kids all downstairs, clustered round the television watching Scooby Doo. The mate had legged it, leaving his trousers dangling from the bedpost and the wife to face the music. Neighbours had registered a lot of banging and shouting, but not thought too much of it, until, in the early hours, the oldest of the children, barely seven, had shinnied through the bathroom window and gone running to the nearest house. "My dad’s gonna kill my mum. He’s gonna kill us all."

By the time Lynn had arrived, the street had been cordoned off, the house surrounded, anyone with close knowledge of the interior and the family debriefed, both the layout and the names and ages of those inside clear in their minds. Firearms officers were already in position, ambulances ready and waiting. What the boy had told them was halting and confused; some of the time he seemed to be saying that his father had a gun and sometimes not. They weren’t about to take any chances.

The Incident Commander was Phil Chambers, a Detective Superintendent Lynn had worked with once before, a murder-suicide out at Ollerton: a husband and wife who’d been together for forty-seven years and wanted it to end the same way. Ben Fowles was the senior firearms officer at the scene, a good thirty pounds heavier than when Lynn had first known him, the pair of them young CID officers working out of Canning Circus station; Fowles moonlighting most weekends, fronting a band called Splitzoid that somehow never seemed to have made the grade.

There was telephone contact with the house, but after the briefest of conversations— little more than grunts and curses— the connection had been broken and the man had so far refused to pick up again. Lynn was forced to resort to a bullhorn, self-conscious despite herself, knowing that all of the assembled officers would be hearing what she said, how she handled the situation, listening and judging.

The man had stepped into clear sight several times, once with what looked like a kitchen knife held against the side of his wife’s throat— not an easy shot, but possible, nine times, maybe, out of ten. Not a risk they were anxious to run. Not yet, anyway. Lynn had seen Chambers and Ben Fowles several times in close conversation, weighing up the pros and cons, the decision to shoot theirs and not hers. Neither of the remaining children, a girl of five and a three-year-old boy, had been seen for some little time.

"Let the children go." Lynn’s voice echoed across the late-morning air; the sun up there somewhere, trapped behind a bank of cloud. "Let them come outside. Their gran’s here. She can look after them. Let them come to her."

The grandmother was standing off to the left of the cordon with other members of the family, agitated, distraught, chain-smoking Silk Cut; a deal had already been struck with a local reporter who was a stringer for one of the nationals— MY LITTLE ANGELS: A GRANDMOTHER’S ANGUISH. Should the worst happen.

"Let me see them," Lynn said. "The children. I just want to be sure they’re all right."

A short while later, he held them up awkwardly to the window, both crying, the boy squirming in his hands.

"Let them go now," Lynn said. "Let them out and then we can talk this over. Nobody’s hurt yet. Nothing’s happened. You should let them go."

Half an hour later, the front door opened just wide enough for the girl to squeeze through; for a moment, out there on a square of cracked paving, she froze, before running towards a female officer, who scooped her up and carried her off to where her grandmother was waiting. Another minute and the little boy followed, running, falling, scrambling to his feet and then falling again.

The mother’s face showed, anxious, at the upstairs window, before she was pulled away.

"Let your wife out now," Lynn said. "Then you and I can talk."

Suddenly the window was thrown open. "The only way she’s coming out’s in a fuckin’ box!"

And the window slammed shut.

"Could’ve taken him then," Ben Fowles said softly at Lynn’s shoulder. "Back home in time for a spot of lunch."

"Not my call."

"I know."

"What’s the thinking on the gun?" Lynn asked. "He armed or not?"

"No sign."

"Maybe the boy was wrong."

"Seven, isn’t he? Six or seven? Old enough to know what a gun looks like, I should say."

"He must have been frightened out of his wits, poor kid."

"Doesn’t mean he made a mistake."

Lynn shook her head. "I think if he had a gun, we’d have seen it by now. His situation, he’d have made sure we did."

"And if you’re wrong?"

She looked at him squarely. "Either way, unless you and Chambers have got something cooked up between you, we carry on waiting."

Fowles smiled. "Till what? He sees the hopelessness of his position? Walks out with his hands above his head?"

"Something like that."

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chambers checking his watch and wondered what calculations he was making.

Not so many minutes later, the man picked up the phone. Lynn was pliant but firm, letting him have something to hold on to, something that could lead to a way out. Little by little, bit by bit. She shook her head, some old song ringing like tinnitus in her ears. Retro nights at the Lizard Lounge. Some white soul singer, she couldn’t remember the name. Back when she was a young DC. Before she’d met Charlie. Before everything.

It was close to two, and a slow rain was starting to fall.

"Let your wife out through the front door. Once she’s outside, she should turn to the right, where she’ll see a female police officer in uniform. She should walk towards her with her hands well away from her body. Is that understood?"

Come on, come on.

The front door budged open an inch or so, then swung wide and the woman stumbled out, blinking as if emerging from the dark. As she began to walk, less than steadily, towards the waiting officer, the door behind her slammed shut.

Lynn gave the man time to get back to the phone.

"All right," she said. "If you have a weapon, I want you to throw it out now. Then, once that weapon is secured, you can come out yourself. Walk towards the uniformed officer with your hands in the air and follow his instructions. Lie down on the ground when you are told."

Moments later there was the sound of a gunshot, muffled, from inside the house.

Copyright © John Harvey, 2008

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Meet the Author

JOHN HARVEY is the author of ten previous Charlie Resnick novels and the Frank Elder series, and a recipient of the Silver Dagger Award, the Barry Award, and the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement, among other honors. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Cold in Hand (Charlie Resnick Series #11) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
Harvey returns to Charlie Resnick with an 11th in the series. I was worried that having set the series aside for a few years that the book might be stale. Fear not. Crisp dialog, strong characters, a solid plot with plenty of suspense ... Harvey does it again. This is an excellent book, one of the best procedurals I've ever read. Add it to your permanent collection.
RonaJack More than 1 year ago
As always John Harvey writes another great Charlie Resnick novel. Unfortunately it is definitely Charlie's last appearance (of course that's what he said the last time he wrote a Charlie Resnick novel).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All of John Harvey's books are, by far, some of the best mysteries I have ever read. Cold in Hand is one of the best of the best. Certainly better than some current favorite mystery writers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I suppose authors feel that they must gain attention or 'authenticate' themselves by presenting actions like these in their novels. They drive me away by it - I had to stop at about page 200. See for yourself if you must but be sure your stomach is up to it.