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Gone to Ground    by John Harvey order for
Gone to Ground
by John Harvey
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When university professor Stephen Bryan is found naked and brutally murdered in his bathroom, Detective Inspector Will Grayson and Detective Sergeant Helen Walker of Cambridge, England, have very few clues upon which to begin their investigation.

First they interview Bryan's former lover Mark McKusick but can find nothing to link McKusick to the crime. Then they talk to Bryan's sister Leslie Scarman, a BBC broadcast journalist, but she has no suggestions about possible motives or persons of interest in the case. Grayson and Walker are quickly running out of ideas but remain hopeful that their dogged determination and their combined instincts will pay off soon.

Meanwhile, Leslie Scarman wonders about her brother's work on a controversial biography of a former film actress, Stella Leonard, and so she begins looking into whether or not Bryan's death may have somehow been connected to his work on the book.

In parallel investigations that will expose them all to intriguing people, devastating dangers and jaw-dropping revelations - with Grayson and Walker pursuing tenuous leads based on Bryan's personal life, and with Scarman tracking down people who seem to be guarding secrets about Stella Leonard's life - the detectives and the journalist eventually expose sordid mysteries, explosive passions, family nightmares, volatile jealousies, and grotesque prejudices as they solve an extremely difficult case.

Taut, sophisticated, and memorable, the recommended Gone to Ground is a well-crafted police procedural that further confirms John Harvey's much deserved reputation as a master of plotting, pacing, and characterization. Simply stated, Harvey writes some of the best crime novels to be found anywhere, and Gone to Ground is one of his best.

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