Darkness & Light
John Harvey
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Buy *Darkness & Light: A Frank Elder Novel* by John Harvey online

Darkness & Light: A Frank Elder Novel
John Harvey
368 pages
July 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Although he has forsaken the career that defined his life, that of a dedicated detective in Nottinghamshire, and moved to the isolation of the Cornish coast to heal form a broken marriage and an emotional trauma, Frank Elder returns to his former haunts at the request of a former colleague in a difficult case that involves a missing woman.

Frank Elder is a tormented man, not yet recovered from the brutal kidnapping and rape of his sixteen-year-old daughter, Katherine, although a few years have passed since then. Still carrying the guilt of his ineffectiveness, Frankís relationship with his daughter remains tentative, Katherine slowly healing and Frank trying to reconnect the fragile threads of their relationship.

Katherineís ordeal has taken a toll on Frankís considerable inner resources, but when his ex-wife, Joanne, asks for his help in locating the missing sister of a friend, Elder welcomes the opportunity to see his daughter and sharpen his detecting skills once more.

The missing woman, Claire Meecham, is an enigma to her neighbors, with virtually no social life and a reserved demeanor. But Frank soon learns that beneath her quiet exterior, Claire is a lonely woman searching for a romance. Accessing the computer at her local library, Claire visits online dating sites, managing a few discreet assignations. Unfortunately, Claire is murdered, her body found in her own bed, clothed but for her shoes.

Frank is immediately reminded of another unsolved case that bears the earmarks of this particular killer but isnít sure if there are enough similarities to qualify as the work of the same man. Yet his instincts tell him this is indeed the case: the key to one unlocks the other.

Elder is an old-school detective, unable to separate work from home in his single-minded passion to bring some relief to the suffering families of the victims, overly conscientious and struggling with the wreckage of his past. Working with Maureen Prior, a former associate, Elder plows through old files, establishing the vaguest of connections between the murders.

The usual nose-to-the-grindstone police work pays off for Elder in this tightly structured police procedural; at the same time, he is vigilant about not settling on only one theory to the exclusion of other possibilities. With Priorís help and attention to his intuition, Frank finally unlocks the secret that ties the two crimes together in a surprising twist.

Combining the sensitivity of a solitary divorced man with the unparalleled skills of a veteran cop, Elder navigates yet another treacherous journey, his obstacles more psychological than physical. Taut and controlled, Darkness & Light showcases a man on a mission who discovers unexpected rewards and an opportunity to heal the sins of the past.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2006

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