10: Cold in Hand

Harvey Number ten in this daily series of retrospective book reviews is Cold in Hand by John Harvey. Read the whole review, which was published in March, here.

“As COLD IN HAND opens, Lynn is on her way home for a Valentine’s day celebration with Charlie when she stops to help at a disturbance. Two girls are threatening each other with knives, encouraged by a gang of fellow-teenagers: before police back-up arrives, Lynn successfully deals with the immediate threat, until someone in the crowd fires a gun – Lynn is injured and one of the girls is killed.

Resnick, whose career has not been stellar and who is nearing retirement, is called in from his backroom duties to help with the ensuing investigation. Tact isn’t his strong point, however, and he reacts understandably but badly to the threats of the victim’s father, who unfairly blames Lynn for his daughter’s death. The investigation continues against a background of endemic urban crime, drug dealing, social breakdown and family betrayals. The police are running out of leads, and the media are not shy to add their particular brand of criticism and hyperbole to the incendiary mix.”