Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Review of Angels Passing by Graham Hurley (Orion, 2002)
Hurley is probably the foremost British proponent of gritty, social realist police procedurals. His books vividly capture the methods, personalities and personal relationships, and the politics of policing, as well as the people, places and situations the police deal with on a daily basis. Hurley provides a warts and all portrayal of Portsmouth, its micro-geographies and social divisions, and its bleak underbelly. In Angels Passing, the fourth book in the DI Faraday series, the tale weaves together two main plot lines, one concerning the death of a teenage girl, the other the murder of a low-level criminal. Where the book excels is in charting the police investigations, noting their complexities and their inherent internal tensions and games, in the characterisation of police, victims and criminals, and in the sense of place. Both main plotlines were interesting, coupled with a nice subplot concerning Faraday’s domestic life, though the denouement felt a little too contrived. Nonetheless, Angels Passing is a compelling, gripping and gritty read, though probably not recommended by Portsmouth’s tourist offices.