Ash and Bone

Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Book Category: Fiction, Mystery & Detective

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Reviewed by Andrea Sisco

Detective Inspector Frank Elder has had a tough time of it lately. He's recently retired from the police force following the abduction, rape and near murder of his daughter Katherine. Guilt is Elder's constant companion and permeates his life because he feels responsible and is unable to help her recover emotionally. The relationship between father and daughter is faltering. His long-time marriage failed some three years earlier--and now there's a new man in his ex-wife's life.

With life caving in on him, Elder retreats to a solitary life in Cornwall where isolation from people and his own emotions is a respite that could go on forever. But real life intrudes when his former wife telephones Elder to inform him Katherine, in response to her horrific experience, is acting out. Elder returns to London in an attempt to help, but success is elusive.

Meanwhile, a former colleague, Detective Maddy Birch, is involved in a police action that involves the death of a dangerous criminal. Following the death, which is under examination by the department, Maddy's instincts tell her that she is being followed.

Then a newspaper story with startling information that affects Elder personally is the catalyst that temporarily brings him out of retirement. In London Elder is drawn into police work once again with Chief Inspector Karen Shields who resents his involvement. One case brings him out of retirement, but others begin to intrigue him and Elder is determined to find the answers and to reconcile with a troubled daughter.

This is my first John Harvey novel, and it won't be the last. I enjoyed the storyline and the full-bodied and flawed characters immensely. Since this is a British novel it contains idioms and terms likely unfamiliar to most Americans. Some might find it distracting while it made it more authentic for me.

Armchair Interviews says: Ash and Bone is an exciting and compelling novel that will keep you turning the pages. It is highly recommended. If you haven't read any of John Harvey's previous novels, you will find yourself searching out the others.

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