Sunday, 22 April 2018

#BlogTour Body and Soul by John Harvey

Today it is my pleasure to host the BlogTour for Body and Soul by John Harvey. Body and Soul is the shocking conclusion to the Elder series. It can be read as a standalone novel, although I would recommend the rest of the series to readers.
About the Author
John Harvey was born in London, where he now lives, while considering Nottingham his spiritual home. Initially a teacher of English & Drama, he has been a full-time writer for more than forty years. The first of his 12 volume Charlie Resnick series, Lonely Hearts was selected by The Times as one of the '100 Best Crime Novels of the Century' and the first Frank Elder novel, Flesh and Blood, won the CWA Silver Dagger in 2004. He was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in the crime genre in 2007, and his story, 'Fedora' won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2014.

In addition to writing fiction, he has written and published poetry, running Slow Dancer Press for over twenty years; his Out of Silence: New & Selected Poems was published in 2014. He has adapted the work of Arnold Bennett, A. S. Byatt, Graham Greene and others for radio and television, and in 2017, his dramatisation of the final Resnick novel, Darkness, was produced at Nottingham Playhouse. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Hertfordshire and Nottingham.

Follow @John_BHarvey @WHeinemann
Buy Body and Soul

About the book
When his estranged daughter Katherine suddenly appears on his doorstep, Elder knows that something is badly wrong. The breakdown of her relationship with a controversial artist has sent her into a self-destructive tailspin which culminates in murder.

As Elder struggles to protect Katherine and prove her innocence, the terrors of the past threaten them both once more.

For me, the controversial topic of shock art, which is woven into this disturbing crime story, was one of the most interesting elements of the read, especially in combination with Katherine's trauma.

Shock art is described as being a way to disturb "smug, complacent and hypocritical" people. Of course that is just a pathetic way of justifying and rationalising shock art and performance art. The bourgeoisie being shocked and appalled by so-called artists in their attempt to force awakening or confront them with their own self-inflated image and shatter any sense of security they might have.

The artist abuses and uses the pain, fear and trauma Katherine has been through. I can understand Frank's reaction to the exploitation of his daughter. Her kidnapping and rape, as a young teenager, is something she will never fully recover from. Her fragile emotional state is teetering on the brink of self-harm, and her suicidal tendencies are the biggest concern for her friends and family.

Has she been driven to murder, was this final betrayal the last nail in the coffin? Is the trauma of the rape too much of a burden to live with.

The sub-plot that comes into play a little later on offers a different view and a possible solution, but personally I think the story would have been fine without it. The art, the artist, the daughter, the enraged father and ultimately the kidnapping were sufficient and captivating enough.

Harvey combines trauma with emotional conflict, unresolved anger and crime. He delivers an unexpected ending, one I had to re-read, because I thought I had misread the last few pages. What a way to end a series.

Buy Body and Soul at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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