"Big time drug money is washing around Pompey. But it's dirty and needs laundering. And how does one do that without being rumbled? Bazza Mackenzie, the main man in town, has a plan. But so do the cops, and when Detective Inspector Joe Faraday inherits the squad on the operation, everything goes pear-shaped. But that's really no surprise as Faraday has other problems. His son, J-J, is in a spot of bother with the drugs squad himself, and his, and Faraday's on/off girlfriend Eadie's involvement in the anti-war movement doesn't help one bit. It's certainly no way for a senior detective's nearest and dearest to behave.
Hurley is one of my favourite Brit crime writers of the last few years, and long may he continue to chronicle Portsmouth's seedier side..."
Mark Timlin Independent on Sunday - 24th October 2004
Pompey's biggest gangster has been getting away with it for years, at the start of Cut to Black, latest in the increasingly admired Portsmouth police series.
Bazza Mackenzie amassed his fortune the old-fashioned way, from cocaine and heroin. But, these days, his laundered lolly has made him one of the city's best-known business figures.
The only way that the cops will ever catch up with him is by employing the techniques of forensic accountancy, as part of an ultra-secret operation to prove that no-one is beyond the law.
But DI Joe Faraday isn't the only officer wondering about a classic ethical and tactical dilemma - whether toppling Bazza wouldn't merely lead to his replacement by even worse criminals from out of town.
When the secret project turns out not to be so secret after all, Joe has never been so alone.
This is another satisfying entry in a series which is currently vying for the top spot among British police procedurals.
Mat Coward - Morning Star, 11 October 2004.
Readers who haven’t already found the brilliant Joe Faraday series of novels by Graham Hurley should pick up the latest superb episode - Cut to Black. Hurley is one of the best of the new crop of realistic cop-shop writers, and British to boot. He’s a very different kind of writer to Ian Rankin but he’s every bit as good.
Margaret Cannon, Toronto Globe and Mail
Cut to Black is one of the best “police” novels I’ve read in a long time and confirms Graham Hurley as one of the leading writers in this type of crime fiction. His depth of knowledge of police operations is remarkable – and his grasp of forensic techniques and pathology cannot be faulted – a rare attribute these days. The plot is beautifully constructed and the dialogue and writing are impeccable.
Bernard Knight (ex Home Office pathologist), Tangled Web UK
Cut to Black is about the seedy underbelly of a port with an enormous history where poverty and crime walk hand in hand. Survival, despair and greed motivate the characters. Graham Hurley writes with authority and makes the reader intensely familiar with Portsmouth – its character, its history, its architecture, and the substrata of its society. However, his portrayal of the city itself as an important character doesn’t detract from the action and the gripping twists and turns of his fiendishly drafted plot. His flesh and blood characters are as finely drawn as the urban landscape against which they do battle. He has an unusual capacity to make one warm to his villains and sometimes doubt his heroes. He addresses important issues within the format of a rivetting crime thriller; the war against drugs, police corruption and personal moral compromise. Cut to Black is an excellent read….a bleak but enthralling book.
Roz Clark, www.chatshow.net
The Joe Faraday series, better than most police procedurals, portrays the multiple conflicts within the CID squad itself. Senior CID management looks externally, responding to the demands of the wealthy, the real estate developers, the press and – above all – the budget. Middlemen cops with no money, no people and no time, struggle to do the actual police work. Amidst a sea of overflowing paperwork, unsavoury deals are struck, questionable priorities rise to the top, and short cuts are taken. The stresses and conflicts of everyday life as a cop are keenly observed and made frustratingly real in Hurley’s writing….
Terry d’Auray, Trashotron.com
Called the best procedural series since John Harvey’s Charlie Reznick novels, Graham Hurley’s books featuring DI Joe Faraday have won praise from both the crime writing community as well as from the police who have praised the series for its careful research. Like most police characters, Faraday has some baggage in his past but Hurley has been quite inventive here as well. Add to this the fact that this tough cop has a fascination with ornithology and you wind up with a great character up against some very grittily real police drama.
Dead End Books (US Crime Website)
Hurley has lived in Portsmouth for nearly 30 years and has done huge amounts of in-depth research into real-life police procedures and cases. The result is stunningly evocative and realistic crime novels dealing with highly contemporary issues – and page-turning plots.
Turn-the-Page, Prime Suspects.
Particular recommendations are Cut to Black from Graham Hurley (Orion), a writer of strong, dark police procedurals..... With this book, Orion has another major crime novelist on its list. It has an almost documentary-like feel, depicting the frustrated efforts of the police to convict Portsmouth drug dealers.
Graham Hurley returns with his fifth novel featuring DI Faraday, based in Portsmouth. This series has attracted phenomenal praise from critics and readers alike.
"The approach of autumn always heralds a new crop of intriguing and gripping crime novels, and this year is no exception, with a mixture of old favourites and new talent.
Graham Hurley is fast becoming a crime writer to reckon with. CUT TO BLACK, his fifth novel to feature Detective Joe Faraday, is a chilling foray into Portsmouth's seedy drug world, with police corruption at its core. Drug baron Bazza Mackenzie is the target of an undercover operation to jail him. Trouble is, Bazza has reinvented himself as a legitimate businessman, and getting proof that he is laundering money is difficult. And Bazza always seems to be one step ahead of the game - almost as if he had inside help ..."
Quote from the autumn edition of Waterstone's Books Quarterly