Lonely Hearts by John Harvey – a review

I have recently read my first novel by John Harvey who is one of the main speakers at the Festival this year. Never having read anything by him before I decided to start with his first novel Lonely Hearts. According to the nice people at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Festival this novel was named by the Times newpaper as one of the hundred greatest crime novels of the century (that’s a list I should look up, it could be an idea for a new blog!)

In Lonely Hearts a woman is found raped and murdered. Her ex-boyfriend is the instant suspect as he was known for violent outbursts against her. However whilst he’s being escourted down from Aberdeen another woman is killed in a similar way. DI Resnick is first to spot the possible link and starts to investigate the case, in-between a bit of flirting with social worker Rachel.

This was one of those books that I started at home, then half way through I went away for a couple of days and so started reading something completely different on my kindle. A few days later I came back to this novel having forgotten a bit of the plot. Sadly I think that slightly ruined it for me. Lonely Hearts started really well, but I have to admit getting a bit bored half way through and it took me a while to finish. That may be because of my disjointed reading though.

I really enjoyed the character of Charlie Resnick (who doesn’t love a man with a cat?) but I found the relationship he had with Rachel a bit unlikely. The story itself was quite interesting, although slightly slow in places. However saying that, this book was written 20 years ago and so things by necessity were slower. It has been a long time since I’ve read a book that wasn’t modern day or purposely set in a historical era so that added to the interest, a page of description of Resnick looking for a phone does give a somewhat slow feel, but that is how it would have been.

Despite my mixed reaction to this book, I will certainly read his other novels. It will be interesting to see how the character of Resnick develops as he moves towards the more modern day style of policing that I have now become used to. I think this is definitely a series of novels I would like continue reading. John Harvey has been writing novels since 1989 so it will be interesting to hear him talk, and find out how he thinks his books have changed over time. 

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Filed under book review, crime fiction

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