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Book Title: Lonely Hearts|
The author of the book: John Harvey
Edition: Viking Books
The size of the: 588 KB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: March 13th 1989
ISBN 13: 9780670818846
Format files: PDF
Loaded: 1451 times
Reader ratings: 5.5
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“Got to be more to life than sex and violence, hasn’t there?”
Lonely Hearts, from British author John Harvey, is the first novel in the long-running Charlie Resnick series. With interesting characters, the book is a good beginning, and the emphasis is on a handful of Nottingham based police detectives who work for Resnick. These detectives have an array of personal problems which become glaringly apparent as Resnick’s team try to solve the vicious murder of a young woman.
PC Patel is making routine inquiries regarding another crime in a neighborhood when a vague suspicion sends him into a house where he discovers the body of Shirley Peters, strangled with her own scarf. At first, the murder seems like a nice, tidy “open and sodding shut” case. Shirley’s ex boyfriend is violent and jealous, and he has a history of stalking Shirley. But then a second murder occurs–even more violent than the first, and a forensic match tells Resnick that the two women were murdered by the same man. A little digging uncovers the clue that both women advertised in the ‘lonely hearts’ column of the local paper, and Resnick suspects that the killer selected his victims from these encounters. The second victim even kept a pile of letters from the men she met–43 letters total. Resnick’s case isn’t easy. One of the women met a man a week. So Resnick’s team painstakingly tracks down the many men who answered ads placed by the two victims.
Against the backdrop of the murders of these two lonely women, John Harvey creates Resnick, a man who understands loneliness; he’s divorced, middle-aged and lives with four cats for company. While he’s a good detective, he neglects himself, so he often turns up in rumpled clothing, and at one point has a food-stained tie. Resnick’s neglect of himself is becoming so obvious that he’s beginning to generate comments. Resnick, deep in middle-age, has neglected his body, and since he eats badly (he eats heavy meals irregularly), he’s beginning to turn to fat. Resnick is every bit as lonely as the dead women who placed the ads.
Another theme of the novel is abusive relationships, and there’s certainly more than one of those here. Resnick is scheduled to appear and testify in a sickening child abuse case, and it’s a situation in which he finds himself considering how the ‘law’ doesn’t equal ‘justice.’ He meets and becomes attracted to Rachel, a social worker, whose relationship with her live-in boyfriend is going south. Lonely Hearts shows how relationships that go wrong can so easily flip into violent abuse when one partner refuses to accept that it’s over. But even the non-abusive relationships in the novel seem to be examples of people ‘settling’ for another person who’s little more than a warm body–anything except be alone. So on one hand, we see characters who are seeking love, companionship and sex, and on the other hand we have characters who have partners who occupy a space in their lives but little more. Many of the couples seem to be together out of habit and are so plagued with inertia, they lack the energy to leave.
The ending of the novel was too Hollywood/sensationalistic (read unrealistic) for my tastes, and Rachel was a rather annoying character. The best part of the novel for this reader, and it certainly promises more for the series, are the interesting characters surrounding Resnick: there’s Divine, an old school sexist detective who harasses his married partner, Kevin Naylor. Kevin Naylor is distracted by the sudden overwhelming requirements of married life and its endless demands. He feels somewhat disoriented by the sudden new path his life has taken as if he took the wrong escalator and can’t get off. In many ways Naylor, who keeps his problems to himself, envies womanizer Divine:
"Why couldn’t he be like Divine? The world divided into three equal parts: you drank it, fly-tackled it, or got your leg over it."
Of course, men like the crass Divine want men like Naylor to envy them. Then there’s Lynn Kellogg, a young policewoman from Norfolk whose instincts indicate that she’s going to have a stellar career. There’s some unspoken antagonism between Lynn and Divine, and there’s a question about who ripped off Divine’s beloved girlie posters off the wall. Resnick is considering reshuffling partners as the story plays out, and that should make for some intriguing sequels. Lynn, in many ways, is a female Resnick; her energy and her passion centre on her career, and she’s just one of the characters who evaluates a tepid relationship.
This has been made into a TV film with the excellent Tom Wilkinson as Resnick.
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Read information about the authoraka Jon Barton, William S. Brady (with Angus Wells), L.J. Coburn (with Laurence James), J.B. Dancer (with Angus Wells), John B. Harvey, William M. James (with Terry Harknett and Laurence James), Terry Lennox, John J. McLaglen (with Laurence James), James Mann, Thom Ryder, J.D. Sandon (with Angus Wells), Jon Hart
John Harvey (born 21 December 1938 in London) is a British author of crime fiction most famous for his series of jazz-influenced Charlie Resnick novels, based in the City of Nottingham. Harvey has also published over 90 books under various names, and has worked on scripts for TV and radio. He also ran Slow Dancer Press from 1977 to 1999 publishing poetry. The first Resnick novel, Lonely Hearts, was published in 1989, and was named by The Times as one of the 100 Greatest Crime Novels of the Century. Harvey brought the series to an end in 1998 with Last Rites, though Resnick has since made peripheral appearances in Harvey's new Frank Elder series. The protagonist Elder is a retired detective who now lives, as Harvey briefly did, in Cornwall. The first novel in this series, Flesh and Blood, won Harvey the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger in 2004, an accolade many crime fiction critics thought long overdue. In 2007 he was awarded the Diamond Dagger for a Lifetime's Contribution to the genre. On 14th July 2009 he received an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Nottingham in recognition of his literary eminence and his associations with both the University and Nottingham (particularly in the Charlie Resnick novels). He is also a big Notts County fan.
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