Five Best Resnicks

Not content with writing a lengthy appreciation of the Charlie Resnick series and my work in general, Michael Carlson has also chosen, for the Good Reads web site, his favourites from the 12 novels. Here they are …

If you’re coming to Darkness, Darkness as your first Resnick, I envy you, because you have the whole series to work through. I’d go beginning to end, without waiting a year at a time for the first ten, then ten years for the next, but if you insist on the highlights, try these five:

1. Lonely Hearts (1989)

The first, and still one of the best. Introduces and establishes his unique character in a novel that the Times called one of the 100 best crime novels of the century. It’s the book where Harvey finally relaxed from his feverish pace of writing, and gave his characters and setting more depth, and the result was stunning.

2. Wasted Years (1993)

In which a series of brutal robberies for Charlie to face events from ten years before: an incident he’d tried to forget, and a marriage he’d lost.

3. Still Water (1997)

Perhaps the best illustration of the way Harvey uses the criminal investigation to mirror the lives of his characters. A woman’s body found floating in a Nottingham canal reminds Resnick of a similar killing that dragged him from a Milt Jackson concert many years before. And the nature of the sex crimes reflects the relationship problems of some of the detectives involved.

4. Last Rites (1998)

In its own way more elegiac than Darkness, Darkness, as Resnick deals with two drug gangs involved in a turf war, and pursues an escaped murderer, and tries to protect his sister. It’s a novel about the things love forces us to do, and about the loss of such love.

5. Darkness, Darkness (2014)

Alone after the death of his partner Lynn, Resnick is presented with a thirty-year old murder which took place in the midst of the violent chaos of the miner’s strike, forcing him to revisit those times while trying to solve the murder today

And if you have already read Darkness, Darkness, then treat yourself to at least one non-Resnick novel: In A True Light (2001), the story of Sloane, an art forger, which encompasses abstract expressionism, jazz, family relations, and a man finding himself all in one perfectly formed novel.




The Downbeat Beauty of John Harvey’s Charlie Resnick

Michael Carlson – writer, critic, sports journalist and cultural commentator – has written a generous piece about the Resnick books and my work more generally. This is his introduction, from his blog, Irresistible Targets. It is, without doubt, one of the most pleasing considerations of my work that I’ve seen and I’m grateful to Michael for it. I’d urge anyone interested in the Resnick books, or the wider aspects of my writing, to give it a little time.

I’ve written a heartfelt appreciation of John Harvey, and his best-known character, Charlie Resnick on the occasion of the publication of the 12th, and apparently last, Resnick novel, Darkness, Darkness. You can find the piece at the Windmill Books website, here, and I’d suggest reading all the way to the end, and following the link to the wonderful John Coltrane version of Tadd Dameron’s ‘Good Bait’, to which I refer in the text (Resnick prefers Eric Dolphy’s version, by the way). Ave et vale, Resnick.

Art Chronicles: George Bellows

I meant to write about the excellent – and surprising – show of American painter George Bellows’ work at the Royal Academy, but the moment came and went and now the show is due to finish this coming weekend.


So this is just to urge anyone within reach of London and interested in art or painting or American culture to go and see the exhibition while you can.


Michael Carlson has written about it insightfully and comprehensively on his blog.


The Royal Academy website has a nice introduction and a link to a good video.