Authors: Graham Hurley
|Blood And Honey|
|Faraday & Winter |
|Hachette UK (2010)|
The discovery of a headless corpse on the rocks below cliffs on the Isle
of Wight is only the beginning of a journey for DI Joe Faraday to the
centre of the grim trade in human cargo from the crippled societies of
the Balkans. From cheap labour to prostitution, Portsmouth, like every
other city in the UK is home to untold human misery; a black economy
built on illegal immigration. Joe Faraday is determined to find the real
criminals that lie behind the tabloid hysteria. Detective Constable
Winter on the other hand is determinded only to find a way out of the
disciplinary action that threatens his entire career. A burgeoning
relationship with a young prostitute isn't exactly helping his cause.
Graham Hurley has written another vivid novel of all too human policeman
struggling against an overwhelming tide of crime. This is crime writing
with a vivid edge of documentary realism.
‘Hurley’s decent, persistent cop is cementing his reputation as one of Britain’s most credible official sleuths, crisscrossing the mean streets of a city that is a brilliantly depicted microcosm of contemporary Britain … The unfolding panorama of Blair’s England is both edifying and shameful, and a sterling demonstration of the way crime writing can target society’s woes’
‘There is no doubt that his series of police-procedural novels is one of the best since the genre was invented more than half a century ago’
‘The book has everything required of a first-rate police procedural and Hurley is now firmly at the top, with few rivals in this genre’
‘Hurley is one of my favourite Brit crime writers of the last few years, and long may he continue to chronicle Portsmouth’s seedier side’
‘This series gets stronger and stronger, and there is obviously space for more’
‘I officially declare myself a fan of Graham Hurley. His attention to detail (without slowing the pace of the novel) and realistic display of police work mark him as
a most accomplished purveyor of the British police procedural’
is excellent modern British crime writing. Hurley demonstrates great attention to detail in regard to police procedure, as well as highlighting the conflicts of ideology that exist within the police force’
‘Uncompromisingly realistic and often depressing in its view of the battle against crime, this series grows in stature with each book’
is a complex and skilfully plotted book and Hurley has a rare knack for understated characterisation that is extremely effective in building up people’s lives.
is acutely observed and Hurley is quite simply a superb storyteller’
‘This is a bravura piece of downbeat crime writing; Hurley just seems to get better and better with each Faraday book’
‘An ambitious police procedural epic … The often sordid life of a large British city is caught with pinpoint accuracy, together with a host of realistic characters on both sides of the law … A splendid achievement’
‘Splendidly gritty … most enjoyable’
‘This impressive series … With the grimness of his
concerns and the liveliness of his writing, Hurley is in
some ways a South Coast answer to Ian Rankin – before long, I suspect, he’ll be just as famous’
‘A realistic depiction of modern police work … strong stuff, and it makes gripping and, at times, grim reading’
‘With this, his third novel in the Joe Faraday series, Graham Hurley has taken another step forward and merits comparison with some of the best writers in that branch of the genre … It is the sense of Panda cars going down mean streets in Portsmouth which makes this novel so good’
Graham Hurley is an award-winning TV documentary maker who now writes full time. He lived in Portsmouth for 20 years. He is married and has grown up children. He now lives in Exmouth, Devon.
My thanks to the following for their time and advice: John Ashworth, John Banfield, Glen Barham, Robert Bradley, Steven Burton, John Campbell, Mike Dobson, Roly Dumont, Pat Forsyth, Diana Franklin, Jason Goodwin, Simon Goss, Colin Griffiths, Andy Harrington, Mark Hickson, Richard John, Ken Littlewood, Clare Mason, Dave McKinney, Chris Meadus, Clive Merritt, Lucy Pickering, Nick Pugh, John Roberts, Dave Sackman, Morag Scott, Pete Shand, Sarah Skelton, Colin Smith, Debbie Spurlock, Sean Strevens, Tara Walker, Pat Wedick and Nicola Wragg. Simon Spanton offered the book the softest of editorial landings, while my wife Lin shamed us all by doing something practical for Pompey’s many asylum seekers. Actions, not mere words.
Monday, 16 February 2004
Flat on her belly on the freezing turf, she sucked in a tiny lungful of air and then steadied the binoculars and tried again. Hundreds of feet below, a flooding tide washed over the tumble of chalky boulders at the foot of the cliff, wave after wave curtaining the shape she thought she’d glimpsed. The shape worried at her. It couldn’t be, just couldn’t be. Not the way she’d seen it. Not in that kind of state.
Shifting her weight in the bulky anorak, she tracked slowly left, waiting for the next wave to fold, collapse and die. Sluicing back, it revealed only the pale whites of the broken chalk latticed with the rich greens and browns of half a winter’s growth of seaweed. She swallowed hard, wondering whether she might have imagined it, this split-second image that refused to go away. Maybe it was a mirage, a trick of the light. Maybe getting up at six in the morning and shipping across to the island on the rumour of an abnormally early nesting season did funny things to the inside of your head.
On the point of giving up and finding a new location, she eased the binoculars a little further to the left, trying to go with the grain of the tide. For an instant came the blur of a black-headed gull riding the column of wind blasting up the cliff face, then – all too distinct – she found herself looking at the shape again,
unmistakable this time, momentarily trapped against a sizeable boulder. She watched, fascinated, appalled, then fumbled for her mobile, one hand still locked on the binoculars. For a second, presented by the operator with a brisk list of options, she didn’t quite know what to say.
‘Police,’ she managed at last.
But it was the coastguard who arrived first, bumping over the frosty turf in a new-looking Land Rover. Pausing for a brief account of what had happened, he accompanied the woman to the edge of the cliff, using his own binoculars to confirm the presence of the body beneath. Back at the Land Rover, he leaned into the cab and reached for the radio. The woman caught mention of ‘Bembridge’ and ‘lifeboat’ before the clatter of a big helicopter drowned out the rest of the conversation. The helicopter seemed to appear from nowhere, tracking low over the down, then banking steeply as it left the cliff face behind it. The coastguard motioned the woman away from the edge of the cliff as the rotor wash swirled around them.
‘Cliff rescue team should be here any minute,’ he said. ‘Police, too.’
The policeman was young. He took the woman through what she had seen and asked her if she was prepared to make a statement later. Beyond them, on the clifftop, the rescue team were lowering four men and a stretcher on a skein of ropes while the helicopter hovered offshore, the face of the watching pilot clearly visible. Abruptly, he waved to someone down below; gave him the thumbs up. Then, as if this was something they did every day of their working lives, the team on the clifftop were hauling their cargo in.
The woman edged back to the cliff, absorbed by this
small drama, by the way that the shape in her binoculars had surrendered to this smooth exercise in retrieval. Peering over, she had time to register two of the men steadying a stretcher, halfway up the cliff. Strapped to the stretcher was a plastic body bag, grey, bulky. From this distance it looked like a parcel they’d found on the beach.
The woman shifted, unable to tear herself away. The blast of the wind. The steady
of the helicopter. The angry scream of disturbed gulls. And the deadweight of that strange grey package, bumping against the cliff face. Then came a hand on her shoulder and she turned to find herself eye to eye with the coastguard. He was tall, blue jumpsuit, tightly cropped grey hair.