Title: "Cold in Hand"

Author: John Harvey

Publisher: Harcourt

Price: $26

In a nutshell: A decade ago, British author John Harvey ended his popular and critically acclaimed series about police detective Charlie Resnik with the evocative "Last Rites." Except for a couple of supporting appearances in Harvey's other novels and several short stories, the Nottingham detective has been quiet, enjoying his jazz collection and a new life with colleague Lynn Kellogg.

An older, but no less active Resnik makes a most welcomed return in the outstanding "Cold in Hand." On the surface, it is a comprehensive police procedural with several investigations juggled with aplomb. For all its suspense, "Cold in Hand" is equally an emotionally laden novel that delves into life changes, grief and revenge.

Nearing retirement and content in his domestic life, Resnik is pulled into two cases that involve Kellogg, who is poised to be promoted. A father blames Kellogg for the shooting death of his daughter who was killed during a gang argument that the cop was trying to stop. Meanwhile, Kellogg is looking into the death of a prostitute who had been brought in from Eastern Europe by mobsters specializing in the sex trade and gun running.

Both cases are riddled with deceit and the detectives, especially Kellogg, don't know who can be trusted.

Harvey doesn't miss a beat in picking up Resnik's story. In each of his novels, Harvey has strongly shown how his familiar characters continue to change and grow. The Charlie Resnik at the beginning of "Cold in Hand" "Cold in Hand"'s beginning is not the same man at the novel's finale.

For those who associated England's Nottingham with romantic visions of Robin Hood, Maid Marian and a robbing from the rich, giving to the poor mentality, Harvey delivers a different perspective. "Robin Hood had now, it seemed, abandoned (the area) for upmarket sportswear, developed a taste for crack cocaine, and, instead of his trusty bow, had a 9 mm automatic tucked down into the back of his jeans."