Vacuum (Harpur and Iles Series #28)

Vacuum (Harpur and Iles Series #28)

4.6 11
by Bill James
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A Harpur and Iles police procedural from master crime writer Bill James
After the dreadful business when his son and wife were shot, Mansel Shale has turned to God – leaving DCS Colin Harpur with a potential problem. Instead of keeping a grip on his profitable drugs empire, Shale has abandoned that sphere of commerce, leaving his business in the

Overview

A Harpur and Iles police procedural from master crime writer Bill James
After the dreadful business when his son and wife were shot, Mansel Shale has turned to God – leaving DCS Colin Harpur with a potential problem. Instead of keeping a grip on his profitable drugs empire, Shale has abandoned that sphere of commerce, leaving his business in the hands of an inexperienced assistant who is reputed to occasionally hallucinate about the Spanish Civil War. Harpur can see the possibility of protracted, warring viciousness on the horizon, and it is clear that something must be done . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Picking up where I Am Gold left off, James’s 28th Harpur & Iles mystery finds Mansel Shale so affected by the murders of his wife, Naomi, and son, Laurent, that he decides to delegate management of his “recreational firm”—everything from Ecstasy to H—to Michael Redvers Arlington, who’s lacking in command experience and sometimes believes himself to be Gen. Francisco Franco. Meanwhile, the new chief constable, Sir Matthew Upton, sees an opportunity to crush both Shales’s firm and that of Ralph Ember and create a “drugs-free city.” Iles is the first to observe that “Nature abhors a vacuum,” a theme that’s echoed repeatedly by various characters on both sides of the criminal divide. While Harpur struggles to prevent the disorganization of Shales’s group from resulting in more killings, Iles works on educating Upton about the superiority of a balanced détente. James’s clever wordplay and broadly humorous take on Arlington’s Franco persona help distinguish this entry. (Dec.)
Booklist
The qualities that make James' books stand out from the crowd are his masterful ability with words and his howlingly funny, darkly brutal humor. Local drug kingpin Mansel Shale becomes a shadow of his former self after his wife and son are gunned down in what appears to be a hit gone wrong. In his grief, Mansel has turned to religion, leaving his drug business up for grabs. His second in command, a weirdo who believes he is Generalissimo Franco, is the wrong man to head up the organization, especially with rival Ralph Ember eager to gain control of Shale's territory. Neither Assistant Chief Des Iles nor DCS Colin Harpur wants a drug war, both believing in Iles' motto, "No blood on the pavement." But their new chief has a different motto—"Lock 'em up and toss away the key"—and is pushing matters in the wrong direction, forcing Harpur and Iles to head off the danger, keep villains and victims happy, and ensure that their town remains peaceful, if drug-ridden. Despite the seriousness of the plot, it's impossible not to laugh aloud at the fierce ripostes, subtle digs, and overt insults peppered across every page. A true delight from a genre master.
Booklist Starred Review
The qualities that make James’ books stand out from the crowd are his masterful ability with words and his howlingly funny, darkly brutal humor. Despite the seriousness of the plot, it’s impossible not to laugh aloud at the fierce ripostes, subtle digs, and overt insults peppered across every page. A true delight from a genre master
Kirkus Reviews
What happens when the status quo goes belly up? Rival drug barons Mansel Shale and Panicking Ralphy Ember treat each other with benign neglect. No drive-by shootings of couriers. No back-alley dispatching of underlings. No messy attempts to wrest control of the area around Valencia Esplanade from each other. There's a simmering tension, sure, but life is basically quiet for mobsters and civilians alike, which is just how Acting Chief Constable Iles likes it. When Shale abdicates his fiefdom and turns to religion after the shooting death of his wife and son (I Am Gold, 2011, etc.), however, the status is no longer quo. His second in command, who sometimes thinks he's General Franco back in the 1930s, may not be suited for leadership. Hints that the third goon in line may be making plans to elevate himself to Number One cause his girlfriend Karen, who's afraid he'll get himself killed, to ask DCS Harpur to intercede. Margaret Ember, who suspects that her husband is responsible for the Shale killings, is so afraid she and her daughters will be targets of retribution that she calls on Karen in a bid for sympathy. Sir Upton, Iles' new superior, who wants to take advantage of the Shale organization's disarray and rid the area of his rival as well, orders a raid on Ember. So many people stepping into the vacuum left by Shale mean that there'll inevitably be corpses. And sly maneuvering. Until, thankfully, an emotional reversal sets matters right again. A noir farce that's just as wickedly funny as most of the 27 other Harpur and Iles escapades--compelling evidence that James is long overdue for a major award.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780295121
Publisher:
Severn House Publishers, Limited
Publication date:
06/01/2012
Series:
Harpur and Iles Series, #28
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Critically-acclaimed crime writer Bill James is a former journalist, and wrote for The Sunday Times, the Daily Mirror, the Spectator, the New Review and Punch. Married, with four children, he lives in Wales.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Vacuum 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I walk in and flip my blond hair out of my face and sit ona chair soon starting to play my guitar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi tyler
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"If im not too late, i would like to vote...molgera, from my memory. Either that or the ganon from either wind waker or twilight princess."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heller
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great! Hbu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good hbu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi and ... what ever