Brighton by Michael Harvey, review by Todd Robins
In Michael Harvey’s vivid and riveting new standalone crime novel, the prize-winning, middle-aged newspaper reporter Kevin Pearce has long been absent from his old Boston neighborhood of Brighton due to a morally compromising event from adolescence. Pearce escaped from Brighton and, at least on the surface, got on with his life, while friends and family stayed behind to replay the cunning karmic game.
Pearce’s friend Bobby Scales, who was on hand on the fateful night all those years ago, gets by as an operator in the Brighton criminal underbelly, where he employs several of Pearce’s other old friends and, come to find out, even his younger sister Bridget. All of these characters remain connected to a disturbing, unresolved past, a collective unconscious that might be categorized as Brighton. The title of Harvey’s novel, then, is not only a place but a state of mind, an ongoing undercurrent of trouble that pulls Pearce back in when he receives a tip that the ghosts are about. People keep turning up dead and it seems that Pearce’s old companions are implicated. Can the same be said of Pearce?
To tell this story, Harvey makes use of third-person omniscient point-of-view, moving in and out of multiple character’s minds, thereby giving up just enough of the goods to keep the reader guessing. Character and milieu are paramount as Brighton, with all of its treacherous aspects in the fictional sense, comes fully alive in the mind’s eye: A place, and a dream.