After the Darkness – let there be Light

Posted: June 24, 2014 in Book Reviews
Miners' Strike of 1984

Miners’ Strike of 1984

I’ve just finished reading Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey. The twelfth and most probably the last in the series about Nottingham police detective, Charlie Resnick. What a delight. I couldn’t put it down.

It’s brilliantly written with the strong characterisation of all the Resnick books. But for me, there was an extra pleasure from the trip it took me down the memory lane of my childhood and teens. Part of the novel is set in the North Nottinghamshire coalfields of the Miners’ Strike in 198. Here, Resnick is forced to confront his past as I was reminded graphically of my own.

I grew up in North Nottinghamshire and although I’d moved on by the time of the Miners’ Strike, I remember following it on the news as images of familiar pit villages filled the screen. I went to the Winifred Portland Technical Grammar School, one of few of its kind in the country. Children were bused in from the surrounding villages; my journey required two buses and took over an hour. Some of the cleverest kids were never to do what I did and get to university; at sixteen their destiny was already mapped out for them down the pit.

Returning to the area as a Home Office Crime Prevention Official, I was given the red carpet treatment and told that my old school had been demolished after consistently coming bottom in the county league tables.
John Harvey’s novels about Resnick have always been amongst my favourite crime reads. I still have a signed copy of Lonley Hearts a gift from my son after attending a school creative writing workshop with John. For that and his wonderful novels I will be forever grateful.

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