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REVIEWS.

NEW FICTION Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey. Publisher: William Heinemann. Price: PS18.99 hardback, ebook PS6.99.

NOTTINGHAM detective Charlie Resnick's latest case is also his last with the popular police officer bowing out after a dozen novels with a long-buried crime from his past.

The mysterious disappearance of a woman more than 30 years before, at the height of the miners' strike, comes back to haunt him when her body is finally found and the discovery pitches Resnick - and the reader - back into the heart of the conflict that split Nottingham's pit villages and mining families apart forever.

Harvey switches between the 1980s and the present day as he turns over long-hidden secrets in a bid to find the truth.

The end result is a gripping detective story and a subtle picture of the changes the UK has seen since the 1980s.

It's a fitting send-off for one of crime fiction's top cops, but will leave readers wishing he did not have to go.

Rating: The Ties That Bind by Erin Kelly. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton. Price: PS16.99 hardback, ebook PS10.99.

UNEMPLOYED investigative reporter Luke flees Leeds after breaking up with a wealthy boyfriend with stalkerish tendencies.

Starting over in Brighton, he finds himself living in a house owned by the city's notorious Joss Grand, a contemporary of the Krays.

He decides he's hit the jackpot, story-wise, and starts researching a book about a long-unsolved murder that implicates Grand. It looks to be just the career breakthrough he needs until personal and professional lives collide and no one is who they seem.

Rating: Eyrie by Tim Winton. Publisher: Picador. Price: PS16.99 hardback, ebook PS6.59. TOM KEELY has fallen on hard times. His marriage has failed, he's lost his job as an environmental activist and he's been forced to move into a 10-storey block of flats in a rundown part of town.

He has become a self-pitying recluse who self-medicates with alcohol and painkillers. One day he bumps into Gemma, a neighbour and childhood friend, who is caring for her grandson, Kai, because her drug-addict daughter is in prison.

Reluctantly, Tom is drawn into their troubled and frightening world. He develops a bond with Kai and gradually emerges from his eyrie.

Tom struggles to do the right thing, but his relationship with Gemma and Kai reaffirms the importance of family and society and our responsibilities to others. Rating: The Lives Of Others by Neel Mukherjee. Publisher: Chatto & Windus. Price: PS16.99 hardback, ebook PS6.99 FAMILY and politics make for an explosive mix in award-winning author Neel Mukherjee's second novel, The Lives of Others.

Set in India over the tumultuous 1950s and 60s, the novel charts the lives of three generations of the Ghosh family, who all live under one roof in an affluent corner of Calcutta. While on the surface the Ghoshes epitomise the quintessential traditional middle-class Indian family, bitter sibling rivalries, social unrest, and grandson Supratik's deep involvement in radical politics threaten to topple the dynasty.

From shocking prologue to catastrophic finale, Mukherjee's beautifully written no-holds-barred family saga is gritty and twisted. There are small glimmers of hope, but the reader is ultimately left with a gloomy sense of the futility of the human condition.

Rating: NON-FICTION Finding Me: A Decade Of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed: A Memoir Of The Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight. Publisher: Weinstein Books. Price: PS12.99 hardback, ebook PS5.16.

AT 21, Michelle Knight was kidnapped in Cleveland, Ohio. Ariel Castro raped, abused and held her hostage for nearly 11 years.

Just last year, her nightmare finally ended when she and her two fellow hostages, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, managed to escape - to much media attention. The facts of Knight's torment are unthinkable, her retelling is captivating.

Finding Me has the haunting tone of a child's diary. Filled with notes penned during her time trapped in Castro's house, the book focuses on Knight's simple pleasures among the depravity - her dreams of French fries, endless drawing of flowers and teddy bears and joy at being given a puppy.

Knowing how long she was held captive, reading her hopeful account is often heart-breaking. However, Knight's defiance and spirit wins out in making a horrendous account one of enduring hope rather than a destruction of spirit.

Rating: Meadowland: The Private Life Of An English Field by John Lewis-Stempel. Publisher: Doubleday. Price: PS14.99 hardback, ebook PS6.49.

HISTORIAN and farmer John Lewis-Stempel's family have lived in Herefordshire for 700 years and a sense of history pervades this chronicle of wrens and robins, campion and dandelion clocks, moles and badgers, which charts a year in the life of his meadow, simply told month by month.

It's the vignettes that suck us in: how beggars used the juice of the ubiquitous meadow buttercup to blister their skin for sympathy; how flirtatious wrens court in the spring; and how the curlew lands 20 yards from its nest, creeping in on foot so predators don't follow its descent directly to the chicks.

The farming year appears, too: when his mower breaks, Lewis-Stempel dusts off the scythe and mows hay by hand, uprooted voles scuttling indignantly up his trouser-legs.

It's enough to make any reader want their own meadowland. Rating:
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 5, 2014
Words:873
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