Diamond Dagger Award–winner Harvey’s elegiac 12th Charlie Resnick novel (after 2008’s Cold in Hand) will be the final one, according to his afterword. The destruction of an old apartment terrace in the Nottinghamshire village of Bledwell Vale, in England’s coal-mining country, reveals a human skeleton. Dental records identify the remains as those of Jenny Hardwick, missing since 1984. An outspoken advocate for the miners, Jenny was the wife of a scab, one of the men who crossed the picket lines to keep providing for their families. Det. Insp. Catherine Njoroge takes charge of the investigation, and recruits Resnick, who has been working as civilian investigator on cold cases, since he has first-hand experience of the divisive, violent miner’s strike of the mid-1980s. The hunt for Jenny’s killer runs in parallel to the scenes from the strike in this ambitious narrative, and the reader is also given a shocking glimpse into Catherine’s troubled domestic life. Some readers may find the Thatcher-era politics a slog, but the excellent writing, strong characterizations, and the genial, jazz-loving Resnick make this a suitable conclusion for Harvey’s fictional creation. Agent: Sarah Lutyens, Lutyens & Rubinstein (U.K.). (Sept.)
The architecture of Harvey’s storytelling begs to be admired, with its multiple narratives, shifting time lines and elaborate plot details.
Harvey’s books have hogged the critics’ superlatives, even being compared by Elmore Leonard, no less, with Graham Greene, no less. [His] great gifts for sharp but compassionate characterisation, and flashback chapters set during the miners’ strike remind us that he is often at his best when he is angriest. [H]is books are ultimately cathartic.
There is no end to Charlie Resnick. He lives in the imaginations of all those lucky readers who have picked up a book and travelled with him like an old friend. Darkness, Darkness is yet another superb telling of the character by John Harvey. As distinctly as I remember reading the first Resnick I will always remember this one. Rich in wistful telling, the story holds your heart steady in a tight fist. It doesn't let you go. It doesn't let you let go of the man either.
No one in Britain is writing better crime fiction.
Harvey yet again reveals the elegant prose, fluent touch and emotional grasp of a supreme craftsman.
Harvey’s books are a joy because he excels in every aspect of crime fiction, including adroit plotting, sharp dialogue, subtle characterizations, and an underlying, shimmering intelligence.
Patrick Anderson - The Washington Post
Crime fiction at its best.
A fitting conclusion to one of the best crime series ever to appear. Highly recommended.
The Resnick novels remain one of the high points in the history of crime fiction.
Booklist (starred review)
The final novel in his masterly series featuring Inspector Charlie Resnick. We’d hate to lose this Nottingham policeman whose love of jazz distinguishes him as the mellowest of detectives. The elegiac tone struck in this melancholy story makes it clear that Harvey has no intention of giving Resnick a reprieve.
Marilyn Stasio - The New York Times Book Review
All good things eventually come to an end. And, unfortunately, that time has come for the excellent Charlie Resnick series.
Darkness is a fitting conclusion to one of the best crime series ever to appear, and is highly recommended.
After more than three decades with the Nottingham police, Charlie Resnick has retired, helping out with interviews but increasingly aware of how time has passed. When the body of Jenny Hardwick, killed 30 years earlier, turns up, the young female DI in charge of the case asks Charlie to join her team because of his knowledge of the time and place—the 1984 coal strike during which he led an intelligence unit. Chapters vary between Jenny at the time, a rabid strike supporter and rising union star, and Charlie in the present but looking back in time for answers. VERDICT Harvey's first Resnick novel, 1989's Lonely Hearts, is one of the London Times List of 100 Best Crime Novels of the last century and there has been no diminishment in quality in the 11 books since. This is Resnick's final case, and every reader of contemporary mystery fiction should be acquainted with this outstanding series and its jazz-loving protagonist whose stories limn the changing world around him. Increasingly, Charlie is an observer more than an actor, but he remains an unforgettable creation. —Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
In his last case, former DI Charlie Resnick revisits a mystery from his own past in Harvey's moving and moody 12th series installment. The discovery of a body under concrete at a Nottinghamshire home ignites a long-dormant investigation: the search for answers concerning the disappearance—and now murder—of Jenny Hardwick in 1984. Thirty years ago, Resnick was a newly promoted DI amid the increasingly violent British Miners' Strike and the growing hatred for Margaret Thatcher. He ran undercover operations, sending coppers disguised as union sympathizers into the ranks of the protesters to gather intel. Now, three decades later, he's officially retired but working as a civilian investigator when the skeletonized remains are identified as Jenny Hardwick. DI Catherine Njoroge, a friend of Resnick's in the East Midlands Serious Organised Crime Unit, lands the cold case and asks Resnick for help given his familiarity with the tense months of the strike. While women joining the striking miners was not unusual, Jenny's situation was complicated by the fact that her husband, Barry, still worked in the mines, dividing their household into "scab" and protester. Harvey (Cold in Hand, 2008, etc.) seamlessly weaves together the present-day investigation into Jenny's death—a process complicated by not only the passage of time, but also the lingering distrust stirred up by the strike and its aftermath—and the last weeks of Jenny's life. As Resnick revisits one of Britain's most painful events, he wrestles mightily with his own grief over the death of his girlfriend and struggles with the inevitability of his finite time as a detective.