A Will Grayson and Helen Walker Mystery by John Harvey
Review: Cambridge police officers Helen Walker and Will Grayson investigate the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl in a case eerily similar to one that took place 13 years earlier — and involving the same family — in Far Cry, the second mystery in this series by John Harvey.
Ruth and Simon Pierce tragically lose their only daughter, Heather, after she disappears while on holiday with friend, only to be found dead at the base of an abandoned mine shaft, into which she had apparently fallen during a particularly dense night of fog. Unable to deal with her death, the couple divorce, with Ruth remarrying Andrew Lawson, with whom she has another daughter, Beatrice. In what can only be considered a heartbreaking coincidence, when Beatrice is about the same age as Heather, she, too, vanishes. Helen and Will aren't sure the cases are related, taking place so far apart, and especially since the first was ruled an accident, but are troubled nonetheless by two crimes that have so much in common.
Far Cry may be a novel of suspense, but the emphasis here should be on "novel". At 500 pages, it is lengthy, with the first half (and then some) essentially serving as a backstory to the disappearance of Beatrice … an unsurprising event foretold in the synopsis on the dust jacket. That it takes so long to get to this point is a bit frustrating. Discursive, far-reaching subplots involving the early release from prison of a child rapist and the respective personal lives of Helen and Will, while interesting in and of themselves at first, ultimately become intrusive and contribute little to keeping the center of attention on the primary storyline.
The final third of the book finally focuses on the mystery of Beatrice's disappearance, and, as a whodunit-style police procedural, is really quite riveting. It's unfortunate, however, that many readers, given the circuitous path taken thus far, may have given up well before reaching this point.
Acknowledgment: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided a copy of Far Cry for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Far Cry: Cambridge, England
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Far Cry by John Harvey — A Will Grayson and Helen Walker Mystery
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $26.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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