- Series: Otto Penzler Books
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Carroll & Graf; 1st Carroll & Graf ed edition (July 25, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786710535
- ISBN-13: 978-0786710539
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,905,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In a True Light: A Novel of Crime (Otto Penzler Books) Hardcover – July 25, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
British author Harvey (Lonely Hearts and others in his Charlie Resnick detective series) offers the stuff noirs are made on in this stand-alone: mean streets and shattered dreams; heartfelt jazz and smoke-filled rooms; lonely people in sleazy bars; the harmless, and the harmful who prey on them; a world in which violence is mindless, brutal and inevitable. On his return home to London after serving two years in prison for art forgery, Sloane, a 60-year-old painter and all-around loser, is surprised to receive a letter from an old flame and far more successful artist, Jane Graham, who's dying of cancer in Italy and wants to see him. In Pisa, Sloane learns that he's the father of Jane's daughter, Connie, whom she hasn't seen in years. Sloane agrees to try to find Connie and soon tracks her to New York, where she's a nightclub singer. The problem is she "belongs" to her manager, mob-tainted Vincent Delaney, who has left a trail of maimed or murdered girlfriends behind him. Two NYPD detectives, Catherine Vargas and John Cherry, are doing their best to nail Delaney, a most formidable villain, for the murder of the last woman who told him good-bye. The reader really comes to care about the tragic and compelling Sloane, whose efforts to fill his unexpected father role lead him into all sorts of trouble. While the plot might have been stronger had Sloane acted without the help of Vargas and Cherry, this dark and dazzling tale of crime and redemption can only enhance Harvey's reputation.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When Harvey published the tenth and last Charlie Resnick mystery (The Last Rites), fans mourned the end of that finely written Nottingham series. Fortunately, Harvey is back, though with a very different setting and protagonist. Sloane, an American just out of British prison at 59 for art forgery, is called to the deathbed of a long-ago lover, who reveals that he is a father. Sloane returns to Manhattan to discover that his daughter is a jazz singer plagued by alcohol and drugs and trapped in a relationship with a manager who seems mob-connected and may have a murderous past. Caught between memories of the 1950s art and music scene and the present, in which his emotional barriers are threatened, Sloane finds himself a reluctant knight. Harvey excels at portraying world-weary people, raw emotions, and no-win situations. This work ends more easily and is less a mystery than a search for human connections. Still, it offers Harvey's trademark command of dialog, vivid sense of place, and ever-present interest in music. Strongly recommended for most popular fiction collections. - Roland C. Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Sloane is a 60ish painter, just out of prison after a several year stretch for art forgery. He worked for a slimy art dealer, who he refused to drop the dime on. Now out, he works to rebuild his lonely life and wrecked studio, making friends with the local Malian café owner. He receives a letter from a lover from his youth-back when he was a bright young thing, and she ran with the big names in modern painting (Pollock, de Kooning, etc.). On her deathbed, the former flame (and one suspects his everlasting regret), reveals the existence of their daughter, stunning him.
Sloane ventures to New York to track her down, tasked with delivering her mother's last words. The woman is a jazz singer, under the thumb of a nasty semi-connected mobster type, who is also being investigated by a pair of homicide cops for the brutal murder of another woman. As Sloane searches for his daughter, he runs into old friends and a possible romance starts. The story builds its multiple strands steadily, only to erupt in a terrifying burst of nasty violence in the final chapters.
Unlike some crime writers who try to take on settings other than their native ones, Harvey exhibits total command of Manhattan past and present.Read more ›
Harvey's has once again created a character who at once is extremely likeable and flawed, who after a life of underachieving is given the greatest of gifts, a second chance. In his journey, he finds justice and redemption...and the wisdom to appreciate it.
The themes of unfinished business, unsentimental journeys into the past, and the art worlds of today's London and yesterday's New York moves along to a rich and satisfying conclusion.
The author's gift for characterization and dialogue is dead on. In a few lines we know enough to to embrace wholeheartedly or loathe to death the people who populate his worlds. I don't know if Sloane will star a new Harvey franchise, but I wouldn't mind meeting him again in his midlife adventure.
Sloane, the 60 year old artist (and one time forger), is on the brink of old age. But, after getting out of prison, he is willing to give life a new go. Before doing so however, he receives a message from an old love who is dying in Italy. This old love -- Jane Graham, also an artist, and a somewhat famous one, turns out to have been the mother of a child Sloane was unaware of. Apparently Sloane is the father, and he takes on the search for his missing daughter (Connie, now a 40 year old singer in NY), in an attempt to heal the divide between mother, daughter, and to some extent the hole within Sloane himself.
But this is also a crime novel, and the sexual thug, Delaney, poses a dangerous threat to both Connie and to others. (This guy is a real creep.) Throughout, Harvey's hand is sure, whether painting the nightclub scene in New York, or when actually discussing abstract painting. On surface, this may seem an oil and water mix (painting? crime?), but it works. Harvey integrates seamlessly the art world with the underbelly of the city. Further, Harvey's research, and depiction, of 1950s New York, with its poets and its painters, rings true within the novel's framework. One ding -- Harvey's neatly tying up (nearly) of all the loose ends to provide a happy ending (except for one character). Not quite noir -- which is why I'm giving it 4 stars. (I'll call it grey noir.) Still, perhaps we need those from time to time, especially when the story is so well crafted. Definitely worth a read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story is summarised elsewhere. The plot is well thought out and executed. I like Harvey's skills as a writer. So why not 5? I felt it lacked pace at times. Read morePublished on April 28, 2012 by Harley
This is one of John Harvey's better books. The standalone works for me because I've never been able to get into the Charlie Resnick novels for some reason. Read morePublished on July 10, 2011 by J. Smallridge
English painter Sloane went to prison for faking art works. When released from prison near age 60 after serving several years he tried to restart his life. Read morePublished on April 27, 2008 by Michael L. Slavin