Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines's take on Far Cry or here for Sam Sattler's review.
Harvey’s latest hard-bitten thriller ties the disappearance of a teenage girl and a mother pining for her lost daughter with a child molester just released from prison in a serpentine plot that stretches from North London to the bucolic country towns near Cambridge, on to the historic town of Penzance situated on the edge of the wild Cornish coastline.
After five years, child molester Mitchell Roberts has been released from prison under a strict supervision order. Convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under thirteen, Roberts’ release deeply concerns Detective Inspector Will Grayson of the Cambridge Constabulary. Will is convinced
that Roberts is anything but reformed, certain that the pedophile is still “the cat that had just had sight of the cream.”
Along with his number two, the chain-smoking DS Helen Walker, Grayson is confident that Roberts is in some way linked to the disappearance of Heather Piece, the teenage daughter of Ruth and Simon Pierce who disappeared several years ago
while on a camping trip with the family of a school friend. Although Heather’s body was eventually found in an abandoned engine house on the Cornwall bluffs, there was never any evidence of third-party involvement.
After a thorough investigation, the conclusion was reached that perhaps the girl fell, disorientated after a sudden and severe fog came in off the sea.
Ruth Pierce remains haunted by her daughter’s death, especially when she looks at the card Heather sent her
- a green map of Cornwall floating toward the table and the message: “Soon. See you soon.” Eventually divorcing Peter, Ruth marries seemingly dependable Andrew Lawson, who offers her comfort in her time of crisis. After a year, her daughter Beatrice is born, yet Ruth can’t seem to shake the vivid images of Heather, who comes to her “bright and chattery”
as a face reflected in the dark of the window, the wave of a hand from a passing train, little memories so soft that they jolt her heart.
Like Alice down the rabbit hole, Harvey plunges us into Ruth’s bleak world: the week of the camping holiday in Cornwall, the fanatical efforts to find Heather and the litany of guilt and blame that gradually ripple out, along with the enduring effects of loss on the innocent victims. Years later, pictures of Beatrice are emailed to Ruth, the last picture a single line of type
- “Isn’t she lovely" - and suddenly Heather’s long-ago disappearance takes on a new and frightening meaning for Ruth and Andrew, and for the police.
Will and Helen try to tie Heather's death to the unsolved cases of three abducted and abused girls to which Roberts could have had possible links. Harvey’s characters - including his police detectives - seem perpetually overwhelmed and out-of-control. A sudden crime of passion between a husband and wife and the unexpected appearance of Roberts at Will’s house causes the detective to fear the unthinkable: an attack on his two young children and his beloved wife, Lorraine.
In Far Cry more than any of his other works, Harvey revels in the consequences of loss. The novel is
succinct and multi-faceted as the author's complex plot plays out, his tale peppered with fascinating red herrings. When another girl goes missing, the links to Heather seem to blindside Will and Helen. Her disappearance ultimately proves that there’s nothing predictable in this novel where a lewd grin on Mitchell Roberts’ face
is endlessly haunting. In the end, Roberts' indefensible actions spur Will on to solve the case and entrap this most heinous of men as he and Helen work frantically to find a measure of closure for poor, put-upon Ruth.