Naked at the Window: A Harpur & Iles Mystery

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9780393051988: Naked at the Window: A Harpur & Iles Mystery
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The latest dark suspense from "the Elmore Leonard of Britain's underworld" ―Kirkus Reviews.

Big drug dealer Ralph Ember stumbles on a ghastly surprise when he and sidekick Beau Derek arrive at the house of yachtsman Barney Coss, his bulk supplier: Barney and his two women have been savagely murdered―and the murderers, three drug rivals from London, are still in the house. Beau dies quickly at their hands; they let Ralph go―for the moment―but he's a marked man because of what he's seen. When Melanie, Beau's alluring, ruthless girlfriend, learns what has happened, she is bent on revenge and wants Ralph as her partner―all the way. Bill James's latest Harpur & Iles police procedural ratchets up the tension as the cops (the brilliant Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and his ungovernable, half-cracked superior, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles) fight the drug barons for control of the city. As a body washes up, and one of the London creeps meets a violent end, the wily Ralph finds himself starting a new, very risky career―and Harpur sorts out what's going on just in time.

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About the Author:

Bill James has been called "the Elmore Leonard of Britain's underworld" (Kirkus Reviews) and has been named a "Master of Crime" in a mystery roundup by the London Sunday Times, which said, "There is nothing else quite like this series of police procedurals. James is concerned with the dilemmas and difficulties of policing Britain's inner cities, and he addresses these in hard-edged narratives that leave readers gasping and flinching, praying the people in these stories never come to live in their streets." In addition to the Harpur and Iles series, James is the author of other mystery series and a book on Anthony Powell. He lives in Wales.

From Publishers Weekly:

The 19th entry in James's Harpur and Iles series (Pay Days, etc.) is padded, predictable and even occasionally plodding. What saves it is the author's ability to surprise and delight us with his language-a kind of powerful, deadpan poetry that pricks up our ears. "He looked like a single sick flower in a fine vase. You could see why he would be avid for the plus of occupational glory," is how James describes a London drug lord making a move into the unnamed British Midlands city where Harpur and Iles do their policing. The gorgeous irony of local mobsters living in suburban homes with pretentious names like Low Pastures and Tiderace is another saving grace, as are the author's less frequent but always amusing bursts of humor. "As he sometimes liked to do, Iles was lying on Harpur's desk, his head in the mock wood out-tray" makes up for pages of increasingly heavy-handed dialogue from Harpur's teenaged daughters, or descriptions of the drug dealer known as Panicking Ralph Ember fighting off one of his namesake attacks. Ember, with his dream of turning his sleazy nightclub, the Monty, into an upscale establishment, is a recognizably human if not particularly deep character, and his battle to keep the London heavy mob from destroying that dream is what passes for a plot here. But most of us stopped reading these mysteries for story several books ago; now, we're in it for the verbal brilliance.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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