Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Kernick and Harvey--briefly
I've been looking forward to Simon Kernick's new book, A Good Day to Die, because in it he resuscitates his murdurous ex-cap Dennis Milne, his most interesting character so far. I also picked up the newest John Harvey, Darkness and Light, featuring his post-Resnick detective, Frank Elder (as usual, Resnick has a cameo). Both books were disappointments. The Kernick novel has all the elements of a good read, but it somehow drags even through the fast and violent scenes (of which there are many, as usual). The denouement is predictable, a cliche really. And the narrative is very repetitive, between recapping the plot and Dennis's constant soul-searching. The Harvey novel is also pretty dull. The plot itself is interesting enough, but I could never really get interested in any of the characters. Elder seems a pale echo of Resnick, though it seems we're in for more of him, if the preparation for sequels in the last pages is any evidence (preparation that involves finding an excuse for an ex-cop to be constantly brought back into investigations--in spite of his often-stated desire to be left alone in his Cornish retreat). Darkness and Light just plods along, professionally written but slow even for a police procedural. All in all, this has been a disappointing week of reading.