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Come Clean (Vol. Book 5) (Harpur & Iles Mysteries) Hardcover – December 17, 1992

Book 5 of 26 in the Harpur and Iles Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This vibrant, pulsating novel is the latest in a series of crisp procedurals which nominally feature British copper Colin Harpur, but which are often usurped by a colorful array of secondary characters, most especially Harpur's Macchiavellian superior, Desmond Iles. In this fourth work, Iles's wife, Sarah, stumbles into the center of the action while slumming with her slightly criminal lover. A well-known, big-time criminal is poised to take out a rival and his family at an upcoming wedding. Naturally, the plans are top secret; naturally, the other side knows of them. Naturally, the police soon pick up some ominous rumors. Harpur is aware of Sarah's activities and, being no stranger to extramarital dalliances himself, pursues the path of discretion. Once again, James advances the plot almost entirely through dialogue. His trick of slipping gallows humor and threats of shocking violence into idiom-laden, quotidian discourse works wonderfully here, especially when Iles starts to learn the truth and begins to suffer an unhinging emotional slow burn. Previous Harpur novels include Halo Parade and Protection.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Author James, also known as David Craig, adds to his Detective Chief Inspector Colin Harpur series. Harpur becomes involved after a young couple witness a murder at a seedy club catering to underworld types.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Harpur & Iles Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First U.S. edition (December 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088150243X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881502435
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,643,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This fifth entry in James' lengthy (20+ books) "Harpur & Iles" police procedural series is probably my least favorite so far. The fourth ("Protection") book's storyline revolved around a gang war between two protection rackets. This one is built around the exact same premise, only the conflict is between the two gangs that are left following the events of the previous book. In that book, the perspective shifted between DCS Harpur and that of the various colorful gangsters. Here, Harpur is all but absent for the first 100 pages, as events swirl around Sarah Iles and her lover, Ian Aston.

Sarah happens to be the wife of the Assistant Chief Commissioner of the police (ie. Harpur's boss), and while out with Aston, happens to witness what might have been the prelude to a murder. This all ties into a brewing war between two longtime protection racket rivals, each of whom has coated himself with a heavy veneer of social respectability. What ensues is a great deal of toing-and-froing, as the one set of gangsters try to figure out if their top secret plans to kill off the others have been compromised, and Sarah struggles to turn a blind eye to what she saw, while retaining her lover.

Harpur and Iles don't really come into it much until a body is produced, and then they also engage in lots of running around trying to figure out what's up. Meanwhile, Harpur knows of Sarah's infidelity to his boss, and tries to figure out how to keep her from getting caught up in the tangled mess. Thanks to James' snappy dialogue, it's all quite readable and fairly entertaining, but it never achieves a high level of suspense. And to a certain extent, the cops and crims start to sound alike, as they speak in the same stylized doubletalk (as do Harpur's daughters!).
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