Auntie M is a huge John Harvey fan, and he doesn’t disappoint in his newest Good Bait, teaming up characters from previous novels in a winning way with overlapping storylines.

DCI Karen Shields heads the Homicide & Serious Crime Team, always working a multitude of cases and hoping for a result. Shields is still grieving over the death of her father and realizing her work commitments have left her with only one good friend. When the body of a teenaged boy is discovered on Hampstead Heath, their investigation leads to a connection with the small Eastern European country of Moldova. At first drugs or illegal trading is suspected as the impetus for the boy’s death.

Miles away on the western coast in Cornwall, DI Trevor Cordon is nearing retirement, which can’t come quickly enough. Passed by for promotions by colleagues with more modern attitudes, he’s part of the old guard and set in his ways. Then the mother of an young woman he’d taken under his wing in the past appears on his doorstep, begging him to look into her daughter’s disappearance. Cordon had tried to put Letitia on a different path from her mother’s life of drug addiction and prostitution. Cordon is soon drawn to London after the mother’s unexpected death, where he enlists the aid of former colleague Jack Kiley, now a private detective.

The working methods, personalities and private lives of Shields and Cordon couldn’t be more different, but the one thing they have in common is that both feel like outsiders. We feel their loneliness in their private lives as we follow the complicated path of Shields’ many cases and the thread of Cordon’s hunt for Letitia.

International money laundering, drug operations, and people trafficking are all involved, along with a heavy dose of Cordon’s music. It is the contrast of Shield’s aggressive and exhausting police work against Cordon’s melancholy and slower investigation that will result in an overlapping link in both cases that will lead to the ultimate resolution.
Harvey manages to weave in socio-economic issues by illustrating how they impact on police work without hitting the reader over the head with these issues. One of Harvey’s greatest strengths is his ability to develop his characters on a rich but subtle level, and this in inherent in all of his works, including the Charlie Resnick and Frank Elder novels.

This is a skilled craftsman writing at the top of his game, and any reader who enjoys a well-crafted police procedural illustrating different detecting methods will enjoy Good Bait.

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