For British crime novel enthusiasts looking for a killer series on home soil – look no further.
Based in the city of Nottingham, England, John Harvey‘s police procedural series centres on Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick, a middle-aged, somewhat unkempt divorcee with four cats, who just so happens to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to solving crime cases.
Navigating a multitude of social and cultural issues, Resnick’s detective skills are put to the test against a backdrop of contemporary Britain across four decades, offering thirteen thrilling instalments that are a love letter to the genre as much as they are a thrilling read.
John Harvey’s Charlie Resnick books in order:
Shirley Peters is dead. Murdered. Her body is found twelve hours later in her own home. Just one of the many sordid domestic crimes hitting the city. Tony Macliesh, her rejected boyfriend, is the obvious prime suspect and he’s just been picked off the Aberdeen train and put straight into custody.
But then another woman is sexually abused and throttled to death. And suddenly there appears to be one too many connections between these seemingly unrelated crimes.
Detective Inspector Resnick is sure that the two murders are the work of one sadistic killer – two lonely hearts broken by one maniac. And it’s up to Resnick to put the record straight – and put the bastard where he belongs.
A kilo of cocaine. Hardly what two small-time crooks were expecting to find when they broke into TV director Harold Roy’s shabby mansion. But nor was Harold’s frustrated wife expecting to fall in love with one of the intruders. Now she’s going to make a deal with him – for both her husband and the drugs.
But the precious powder belongs to someone else. And he wants it back. So if he feels he’s been double-crossed, there’s no telling what might happen.
Detective Inspector Resnick has a hunch that there’s more to this story than meets the eye. And as his investigations lead him down the mean streets of the TV industry and an inner-city drugs ring, it’s obvious that more than one person is dancing on thin ice.
A savage assault with a scalpel leaves Dr Tim Fletcher’s body badly slashed in a deserted walkway – the first victim in a series of brutal assaults on hospital staff.
As panic grips the city, it’s up to Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick to find the killer.
Faced with a mass of clues that lead nowhere and a past he cannot forget, it’s not long before he’s pushed close to breaking point.
Little Gloria Summers’ body has been found, hidden inside two plastic bin bags in a disused warehouse. Somewhere in the city, a child killer is on the loose, free to strike again.
Then Emily Morrison vanishes on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A week later there are still no clues. Inspector Charlie Resnick is as appalled as the media. But years of patient police work have taught him a thing or two – including his conviction that those who jump to easy conclusions are often the last ones to solve a crime.
A series of brutal robberies takes Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick back ten years.
To a time when a rash of very similar incidents left him face to face with a frenzied sociopath who nearly brought his life to a premature end – and to a time when his wife ran off with her lover, putting paid to their marriage and leaving him with a psychic wound that still hasn’t healed.
Now with the look-alike robberies escalating in violence, Resnick fights to track the men down before they kill, just as he fights to stem the poignant memories that threaten to overwhelm him.
A cabbie’s just been beaten up, there’s a drunk-and-disorderly in the interview room and a possible child abuser on the way in. Nothing unusual there, then, just a pretty normal Christmas holiday for DI Resnick and his team. Normal, that is, until Dana Matthieson calls to report her flatmate, Nancy, missing.
Dana’s had a pretty grim Christmas herself: she’s been sexually harassed by her boss, and may even have lost her job as well as her friend. Pretty soon the police have proof that Nancy was kidnapped, and then – as the New Year celebrations wind down – the first tape arrives, and Resnick knows they’re dealing with a dangerous psychopath.
When a man is found in the middle of Alfreton Road in the early hours one Sunday morning, stark naked and bleeding heavily from a chest wound, he is the latest in a series of viscous attacks on men.
Enquiries in the mean-streets of Nottingham’s red-light district have brought the investigations to a dead end.
Charlie Resnick is the man for the job. And as if he hasn’t had enough to deal with, he now has to provide police protection for a celebrity at the annual crime convention – an author with some very unpleasant ‘fan’ mail.
Chronically short-staffed as he is, it’s a guessing game as to when Resnick’s lack of manpower will have fatal consequences.
Why would a fifteen-year-old boy commit suicide? Mind you, who cares when he’s a no-good kid on trial for bludgeoning an elderly couple to death?
But when the senior investigating officer is then found brutally murdered, DI Charlie Resnick is put on the case, and uncovers some sinister and startling revelations.
It also brings Resnick into contact with Hannah Campbell, with whom he finds himself falling unexpectedly and awkwardly in love.
The battered body of a young woman is found floating in the still water of an inner-city canal. Police suspect a serial killer, which makes it a case for the newly formed Serious Crime Squad. Not DI Charlie Resnick’s case, then; not his worry.
But soon another body is found, and this time Charlie has a personal interest. His lover, Hannah, knew the murdered woman, knew too that her husband was fiercely jealous. And very free with his fists. Arguing that her friend was the victim of domestic abuse, not the target of some anonymous killer, Hannah persuades Charlie to take on the case.
Investigating the murder, Resnick runs head-on into deeply disturbing questions about the nature of love, about the relationship of abuser and abused, and about our complicity in our own destruction.
Lorraine Preston’s brother, Michael, was sent down for life for the murder of their father – and now he’s being allowed out for their mother’s funeral. A hardened criminal, Michael Preston is the last person Resnick wants back on his patch, even if it’s only for a matter of hours.
Heartsore and world-weary, Resnick is struggling to contain an explosive situation on the streets, where the spread of guns has led to a frightening escalation in drug-related crime. The local force, meanwhile, is riven by internal rivalries and rumours of corruption.
With his previously stable relationship with Hannah Campbell wavering, Resnick is forced back on his self-belief, his understanding of people. Why – himself included – they do the things they do.
Two teenage girls are victims of a bloody Valentine’s Day shooting; one survives, the other is less fortunate…
It’s one of a rising number of violent incidents in the city, and DI Charlie Resnick, nearing retirement, is hauled back to the front line to help deal with the fallout. But when the dead girl’s father seeks to lay the blame on DI Lynn Kellogg, Resnick’s colleague and lover, the line between personal and professional becomes dangerously blurred.
As Lynn, shaken by this very public accusation, is forced to question her part in the teenager’s death, Resnick struggles against those in the force who disapprove of his maverick ways. But when the unimaginable occurs, an emotional Resnick will need all his strength to see justice done.
Thirty years ago, the Miners’ Strike threatened to tear the country apart, turning neighbour against neighbour, husband against wife, father against son – enmities which smoulder still.
Resnick, recently made inspector, and ambivalent at best about some of the police tactics, had run an information gathering unit at the heart of the dispute.
Now, in virtual retirement, and still grieving over the violent death of his former partner, the discovery of the body of a young woman who disappeared during the Strike brings Resnick back to the front line to assist in the investigation into the woman’s murder – forcing him to confront his past in what will assuredly be his last case.
With his highly-praised sequence of novels featuring Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick, John Harvey created not only an unforgettable character of great depth and complexity, but a realistic and richly-peopled inner-city world of struggling heroes and feckless villains.
Gathered together in Now’s The Time are twelve short stories featuring Resnick. From old foes to upstart pretenders, the city and the jazz-soaked, night-time world of Charlie Resnick come vividly to life.
There you have it – John Harvey’s Charlie Resnick books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…