Reviews for Darker Shade of Blue : Stories

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #2
*Starred Review* This first collection of John Harvey short stories since Now's the Time (1999) will come as a particular treat for the author's many devoted fans. Not only are there two stories starring Harvey's now-shelved but much-loved series hero, Charlie Resnick--stories that, as Harvey notes, serve as a way of letting "dedicated readers know what Resnick was up to in the wilderness years between Last Rites (1991) and Cold in Hand (2008)"--there are also several stories starring a private detective, Jack Kiley, who has never appeared in a Harvey novel. These stories, especially "Trouble in Mind," told in the classic Hammett style but with a modern knack for making quick but precise cuts deep into the emotional core of the characters, may be the collection's highlight, but that is a difficult distinction to make. There are also a series of stories, written in the first person (a rarity for Harvey) about life in the jazz clubs and dive bars of Soho in the late 1950s. Harvey suggests that these stories may one day evolve into a novel--let it be, please--but in the meantime, this collection of first-rate writing by a crime-fiction master in both long and short forms is treasure enough for anyone. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #2
A collection of 18 previously published short stories—and, yes, Charlie Resnick fans, he turns up in five of them. In "Billie's Blues" and "The Sun, the Moon and the Stars," Charlie tries to help out Eileen, a stripper turned whore turned witness to murder, with dour results. "Home" finds him dealing with a teen's death and a brother's revenge. In "Well, You Needn't," Charlie's birthday begins with a break-in and ends with him and his cats listening to Thelonious Monk. Resnick makes a cameo appearance in "Trouble in Mind," which features Harvey's leading short-story protagonist, Jack Kiley, who, reading mystery writer K.C. Constantine, notes that Charlie looks like aging lawman Mario Balzic. Kiley, the former footballer and Met copper now eking out a living as a private eye, faces the usual Harvey suspects—druggies, delinquents and dames—with the gals usually in for a bad day. Frank Elder, who stars in three Harvey novels, loses his wife and begins his retirement in "Due North," while Tom Whitemore, a minor character in one of the Elder books, faces his own marriage troubles in "Sack O' Woe." But perhaps the story to savor most is "Snow, Snow, Snow," which marks the debut of Malkin, a hit man who metes out overdue justice. Is there a better short-story writer around than Harvey? Probably not. His introduction not only provides a fine overview of his work but may send readers in search of James Crumley's output. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2011 November #2

Multiple crime fiction award winner Harvey continues to poke away at the English body politic in this latest collection of stories previously published in various magazines and anthologies. The characters who inhabit these tales are briefly but indelibly captured by Harvey's eye for telling detail; they are apt to feel trapped and helpless, unable to leave but equally unwilling to stay. Charlie Resnick and Frank Elder, familiar from Harvey's earlier novels, do what they can, ably assisted here by Jack Kiley, sometime professional footballer and ex-policeman, now a struggling PI. Their cases cover a wide social range from an over-the-hill performer and those who toil in the manure fields of the tabloid press to newly arrived immigrants seeking the brass ring in London. VERDICT Anyone in search of explanations for recent English events, ranging from the phone-hacking scandal to the London riots, will find much to think about in these dark, masterly stories.--Bob Lunn, formerly with Kansas City P.L., MO

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 December #1

The 18 crime stories in this sterling collection show Harvey, winner of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for sustained excellence, at the top of his game. His best-known character, Nottingham Det. Insp. Charlie Resnick, appears in four selections, but the strongest are the seven featuring PI Jack Kiley, an ex-cop and ex-professional footballer. In "Truth," an exemplar of the short story form, former police officer Dave Marshall, now working as a contractor, asks Kiley to intervene with his wife, who's been posting signs around London accusing Marshall of abandoning his family and warning prospective clients to steer clear. While Kiley accepts the job, he carries it out in a way that's consistent with his moral sense, though the ending makes clear that there are limits to his ability to set the world right. Readers will hope Harvey eventually features Kiley in a novel. Agent: David Forrer at Inkwell Management. (Feb.)

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