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Flesh & Blood

(Frank Elder #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  686 ratings  ·  71 reviews
After his wife's betrayal and his own retirement from the force, Detective Inspector Elder has fled as far as possible to go in England without running out of land. But he is haunted by the past and in particular by the unsolved disappearance of sixteen-year-old Susan Blacklock back in 1988. Shane Donald and Alan McKeirnan, convicted just one year later for the brutal rape
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 9th 2004 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 2004)
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3.70  · 
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 ·  686 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Not bad at all. Elder is literally an elder (well, from this young man's perspective at least), which seems a bit crushingly obvious, but this isn't some Hetty Wainthrop cosy-murder candy-floss. He even gets it on a couple of times, which didn't exactly leave the happiest of images in my head but certainly gave the character a little edge.

Yes, there's your fair run of crime cliches, the vulnerable single daughter, the nightmares, the charismatic psycho urging on others from behind bars, but ther
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 320

Publisher - Carroll & Graf Publisher

Source - bought

Blurb from Goodreads

After his wife's betrayal and his own retirement from the force, Detective Inspector Elder has fled as far as possible to go in England without running out of land. But he is haunted by the past and in particular by the unsolved disappearance of sixteen-year-old Susan Blacklock back in 1988. Shane Donald and Alan McKeirnan, convicted just one year later for the brutal rape and murder
Colin Mitchell
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Having been a fan of the Charlie Resnick series, until the final story, my expectations were high for this series. Frank Elder is a retired officer and, divorced and living alone in Cornwall, seemingly licking his wounds. An old case sparks his attention and he makes a return visit to the Nottingham area. All seems set fair for a good mystery but somehow it all fell rather flat as events out run him and he is left chasing around with little plan and it all becomes a bit of a muddle. Some rather ...more
Ian Mapp
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read about this author in the daily mail on crime writers. He has a 10 book series of another dectective and this is the first in a trilogy of retired policeman frank elder.

He was involved in a case where two youths kidnapped, raped and murdered a young girl. One was very much the leader and the other was led astray. Mr Led Astray is released and this re-kindles Elders interest - primarily because one potential victim was never found.

What follows jumps between times and characters. More than in
David Evans
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Enjoyable and extremely well written crime drama following recently retired detective Frank Elder's attempt to resolve the disappearance of a 16 year old girl years ago, a case he had failed to clear up when working. The release of one of a pair of serial killers jailed for torturing and killing young girls - prime suspects for the unsolved disappearance - galvanises Elder into undertaking some further research for his own satisfaction as well as trying to help the girl's mother, whose unresolve ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gripping, taut thriller, the first in the Frank Elder series. Credible and well-crafted, thoroughly enjoyable
Avid Series Reader
Flesh and Blood by John Harvey is the first book of the Frank Elder mystery series, set in contemporary England. Frank is a retired homicide detective, estranged from his wife, now living alone on the coast of Cornwall. He cherishes infrequent visits with his teenage daughter Katherine. Frank is tormented by a violent nightmare due to a past case, in which two young men abducted, raped and killed a young woman. Frank was key to their arrest and prison terms. He believed Alan to be the mastermind ...more
Michael Springer
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Outstanding first outing in the Frank Elder series. John Harvey is an excellent author who gets the world-weary police procedural down cold. Frank Elder is a retired detective who took his pension as soon as possible and now lives in Cornwall for no apparent purpose. He has an ex-wife who jilted him and a teenage daughter he seldom sees. When a brutal murderer is paroled from prison, it stirs up memories of a case Frank was never able to solve. He gets tangled in his old world again, with unexpe ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, 2017-books
Read this whilst in hospital and as feeling ill at the time I initially found it a dark brooding tale, like wind swept Yorkshire moors but also a haunting journey of one mans desire to bash horrendous dreams of an unsolved missing person. Emotions are deep, real and searing in their intensity. It left me melancholic but satisfied. Not for some as the story does contain male to female aggression both sexual and physical. Two more in this series.
Nicola Sivier
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Took me quite a while to get through this book and there were times I wasn’t sure why I was reading it: I wanted to know the outcome and see how it all pieced together but I wasn’t connected to the main characters.
More was written about one of the suspects and I wanted to know more about him than about Frank Elder.
However, once I had finished this book I then downloaded the next one in the series.
Paul Shepherd
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book, last third was riveting and fast and I couldn't put down I liked that it had clear and concise ending, and that there were several interconnecting elements, to mc kiernan, such as keach and Shane Donald, ensuring not knowing who was doing what.
Amy Rhodes
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to get to this series for ages...glad I finally did. As the reviewers say, Harvey belongs in the top ranks of British mystery writers and I will definitely keep on with the other Frank Elder titles.

Liz Howell
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable murder mystery with some false leads.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, cornwall
Enjoyed this one. Frank Elder is a well wrought character and he lives in West Cornwall
TC Correy
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Bit of a slow burner for me. The story was good though
June Jones
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A twisty murder thriller, I did feel some compassion for Shane, he would have probably turned out better if he had not met McKeirnon. A bit slow in parts.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
THis book was solid through the first 4/5ths of its length. Then it just falls flat. The ending is really underwhelming.
Natalie Hunter
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Flesh and Blood by John Harvey is the first book in the Frank Elder mystery series. I have previously read the first book in his Charles Resnick series; Lonely Hearts and enjoyed it. This was so much better. As a matter of continuity, Resnick makes a brief appearance in this story.
Elder is an ex-cop who retired and moved to Cornwall; partly to get away from a broken marriage. The book starts with his daughter Katherine's visit and Elder's attempt to keep a relationship with his teenage daughter.
Carl Brookins
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Frank Elder is a retired Detective Inspector and separated from his wife and sixteen-year-old daughter. He had a successful thirty-year career in the Nottinghamshire police force. Elder is retired and living alone with his nightmares in a small cottage on the Cornish coast. Now he’s waiting for a reunion of sorts with his daughter, Kathrine.
Shortly after their reunion and her return to Nottingham, Elder is notified that the young perpetrator in one of his more lurid cases, Shane Donald, is being
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
FLESH AND BLOOD (Amateur Sleuth – Non-cozy) – VG
John Harvey – Standalone
Retired Detective Inspector Elder is haunted by the unsolved disappearance of sixteen-year-old in 1988. One of the prime suspects, Shane Donald, has been released from prison, and Elder feels compelled to revisit the scene of the crime. When Shane breaks parole and disappears and another young girl is horribly murdered, Elder's involvement becomes crucial. Taunted by postcards from the killer, Elder battles his own demons as
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of British procedurals
Recommended to Jennifer by: Waukegan Public Library
Shelves: read-2012
I picked this book randomly off the library shelf which had quite a collection of John Harvey novels (apparently before this book, Harvey wrote a series of mysteries focusing on Charlie Resnick . . . who actually has a brief, very brief, cameo in this story). On the surface, this starts out to be a typical British police procedural but it soon proves to be more nuanced and character-driven than that. DI Frank Elder has retired to the Cornish coast--divorced and suffering from nightmares. He read ...more
Mitch McCrimmon
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it
My first book by John Harvey. I approached with a positive feeling, given my preference for British authors generally. Nice, engaging writing style and interesting characters. Really liked Elder the main protagonist, came across realistically as an early retired, somewhat disappointed, disillusioned police detective who feels compelled to dig up some of his past. Fair suspense but a bit meandering at times. Didn't like the ending, felt a bit rushed without enough focus on the main villains and t ...more
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've always thoroughly enjoyed John Harvey's writing. I've read all the Charlie Resnick books, so I thought I would try the first in the Frank Elder series.

I certainly wasn't disappointed. Harvey always has such great characterizations about believable characters. In addition to the crime(s) being investigated, there is such good interplay between all the characters. We learn about Elder's ex-wife and 16-year old daughter, Kate. I think Kate is a major character in the next book of this series a
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it
A pretty good police procedural set in working-class contemporary England. Better than average characters, including a caring but tough retired policeman (Frank Elder), and a suspect so pathetic (even though he is a convicted accomplice in a series of brutal murders) that you actually have some sympathy for him. Most of the book is spent with Elder looking for a girl who disappeared 15 years ago and who was probably an undiscovered victim of the suspect and his partner. Then teen-age girls begin ...more
Bill Khaemba
Crime Novel at its best... It was crazy following two mysteries, that happened at different times. It had a somber feel to it and heavy sadistic scenes involving the disappearance of 16 year old teenage girls and the story progresses as we try to find the killer...

I am always a sucker for crime novels and this one didn't disappoint. The main character Frank Elder was cool and a fun person to follow, his backstory was told and we got to know him better and understand him. The author also did a fi
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love John Harvey, not mostly because he is from Nottingham as am I- he writes about the streets I grew up in and the landmarks I've known familiarly for years. I absolutely adored this book- I couldn't put it down. I fell in love with Frank Elder, his character was fantastic. The villains were unpredictable and interesting.. The plot was intense and the ending unexpected! Crime, love, drama, suspense and tension- perfect. I will be reading as many of his books as I can!
Sharon Mensing
I really enjoyed this British mystery, but felt it had some flaws. The main character, Frank Elder, was emotionally remote, and this seemed natural given his generation (thought of Dad). A theme of the book was what happens when people don’t accept responsibility for their roles in events. The flaws included a somewhat contrived intermingling of plots and a reference to dreams that didn’t make sense to me. The book had a very straight line narrative.
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this one, but it was a slower pace than many of the books I have read lately. I enjoyed Frank Elder, like that his relationships felt real, and liked that the author wasn't afraid to have Frank in uncomfortable situations without making him a cliche. I think I'll read the next in the series too.
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aka Jon Barton, William S. Brady (with Angus Wells), L.J. Coburn (with Laurence James), J.B. Dancer (with Angus Wells), John B. Harvey, William M. James (with Terry Harknett and Laurence James), Terry Lennox, John J. McLaglen (with Laurence James), James Mann, Thom Ryder, J.D. Sandon (with Angus Wells), Jon Hart

John Harvey (born 21 December 1938 in London) is a British author of crime fiction most

Other books in the series

Frank Elder (4 books)
  • Ash & Bone (Frank Elder, #2)
  • Darkness & Light (Frank Elder, #3)
  • Body & Soul (Frank Elder, #4)