Synopses & Reviews
In the depths of his Cornish hideaway, retired Detective Inspector Frank Elder's solitary life is disturbed by a call from his estranged wife, telling him his seventeen-year-old daughter, Katherine, is running wild, unbalanced by the abduction and rape he feels he should have prevented. Meanwhile, in the heart of London, the takedown of a violent criminal goes badly, and Detective Sergeant Maddy Birch is uneasy about the reasons why, an uneasiness that is compounded when she starts to believe she is being stalked.
Maddy and Frank have a connection, a brief and clumsy encounter years before that has left a trace of lingering regret. In Ash & Bone their lives connect again when a second phone call persuades the unsettled, unhappy Elder out of retirement, only to find that a cold case has a devastating present-day impact.
"British veteran Harvey's second novel to feature former Nottingham cop Frank Elder is flatly written and clich-driven, falling short of its predecessor, Flesh & Blood (2004), which won a CWA Silver Dagger Award. Retired to a shabby shack in Cornwall, Frank is still recovering from the breakup of his marriage and trying to forget the brutal rape of his teenage daughter a year before. Meanwhile, in London, Det. Sgt. Maddy Birch, a 44-year-old transfer from the northern city of Lincoln, isn't doing so well, either. The killing of a much-wanted villain by her armed superior has come under scrutiny, and Maddy is torn between loyalty to her colleagues and the truth. When Frank agrees (much too quickly) to help out the London police on another case, he and Maddy, with whom he once had a brief fling, are teamed up in an investigation that reopens all kinds of old wounds. Even this routine material might have worked had Harvey used any of the bleak humor and sharp characterizations of his classic Charlie Resnick series (Lonely Hearts, etc.)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Perhaps no other crime writer combines unflinching realism with bedrock humanity as convincingly as Harvey." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Surprises abound, and graceful writing keeps us smiling. Ash & Bone, like everything I've read of Harvey's, is distinguished by seriousness, sophistication and stylistic elegance." Washington Post
"Like Ian Rankin, [Harvey] displays a compassionate view of ordinary people...while ensnaring the reader with tightly woven plots....[T]here is humor and sorrow, rarely simplicity. Highly recommended..." Library Journal
"Harvey writes better crime novels than anyone in the world." The Denver Post
"Harvey is such a good writer that his style carries even when the story falters...and his sense of detail is exquisite." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Ash and Bone
tackles many issues...within an absorbing social narrative and several unrelated tangents which somehow are elegantly resolved in a surprising close. It is typical of the best of British crime novels in its lack of showiness, its gripping story, well-studied range of characters, and nary a plot hole to be found despite its many layers. It is wonderful to have Harvey back and writing again. He had been sorely missed." Georgie Lewis, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
Detective Sergeant Maddy Birch will never see thirty again. Nor forty. And, after a lifetime on the force, all she has to show for it are a couple of hundred pounds in the bank and a mortgaged flat.
In Cornwall, retired Detective Inspector Elder's solitary life is disturbed by a phone call from his estranged wife. Seventeen-year-old Katherine is running wild. Elder's fears for his daughter are underscored by remorse and guilt, for it was his involvement that led directly to the abduction and rape that has so unbalanced Katherine's life.
There's a connection between Maddy and Elder: a brief, clumsy encounter sixteen years earlier. Just a quick grope and a cuddle, leading to nothing, but leaving a trace of lingering regret.
When the takedown of a violent criminal goes badly wrong leaving both the target and a young constable dead, something doesn't feel right to Maddy. In Ash and Bone, the unsettled, unhappy Elder is once again persuaded out of retirement. A cold, cold case has a devastating present day impact with sinister implications for the crime squad itself. Elder's investigation takes place against the backdrop of his increasing concern for his daughter together with demons of his own he must battle before he can uncover the truth.
About the Author
John Harvey is the author of the richly praised sequence of ten Charlie Resnick novels, the first of which, Lonely Hearts, was named by the Times (London) as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century. Flesh & Blood, the first novel featuring Frank Elder, won the British Crime Writers' Association's Silver Dagger Award. Harvey lives in Great Britain.