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Harpur & Iles Books In Order

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Publication Order of Harpur & Iles Books

You'd Better Believe It (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lolita Man (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Halo Parade (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Protection (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Come Clean (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Take (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Club (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Astride a Grave (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gospel (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Roses, Roses (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Good Hands (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Detective Is Dead (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Top Banana (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Panicking Ralph (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lovely Mover (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Eton Crop (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kill Me (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pay Days (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Naked at the Window (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Girl with the Long Back (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Easy Streets (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wolves of Memory (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sixth Man and Other Stories (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Girls (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pix (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Absence of Iles (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hotbed (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
I Am Gold (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vacuum (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Undercover (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Play Dead (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Disclosures (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blaze Away (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
First Fix Your Alibi (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Close (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hitmen I Have Known (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Low Pastures (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Harpur & Iles Series

Harpur & Iles is a series of book written by bestselling Welsh author James Tucker under the pseudonym Bill James. Bill also writes under his names and the pennames Judith Jones and David Craig.

He served as a reporter for the Daily Mirror and some other newspapers after his service with the Royal Air Force. Most of the James Tucker bulk output under the pen name Bill James is the Harpur & Iles series. The series features Colin Harpur and Desmond Iles as the main characters and the two work in an unnamed city in Southwest England. The two main characters are supplemented by a progressing cast of recurring characters on either side of the law. Harpur & Iles series is characterized by the bleak view and dark humor and cold view of the relationship between the cops, public and the criminal element.

The first few books in the series are dubbed A Detective Colin Harpur novel, but later books are designated A Harpur & Iles Mystery.

You’d Better Believe It

You’d Better Believe It the first book in a series of police procedural series introduces the reader to DCI Colin Harpur. His area of operation is a small city located south of London, and it is not unusual for the most wanted criminals to consider such a small town as an easy target.

At times a cop must heavily rely on his colleagues and also upon tipsters and this time around it is Lloyd’s Bank that’s become a target for a major heist. However, then the heist is postponed, and a cop is murdered, one tipster and another is murdered Harpur is driven to his limit and forced to bypass all the regulations set forth to settle everything once and for all.

The first book in the lengthy Harpur and Iles series is a beautiful introduction to the dark world of Colin Harpur, a DCS and a rising star in the police department in his mid-30. Colin spends most of his time hunting down criminal elements in the small southern town.

Set in a fictional town located south of England, the novel kicks off with Harpur and his team looking out Lloyd’s bank that they have been tipped off is going to be hit by some criminal elements from London. However, when the gang doesn’t show, Harpur exerts pressure on all his tipsters including a Jamaican hospital porter and Jack lamb to find out why the heist had been rescheduled.

What Colin doesn’t expect is that one of his juniors is going to go missing- the same cop who wife Colin is having some bit of adultery. Everything else gets complicated for Colin when tipsters get murders as it appears that the gang is getting rid of the loose ends before they can finally stage their major heist.
When the heist is finally pulled off, halfway through the novel, Colin ambush doesn’t work out as expected. Driven by anger, guilt, and fear, hunting down the killer becomes a personal affair for Colin.

What makes You’d Better Believe It an exciting story is that it does not take the path of the usual police procedural which involves a detective tracking down criminal elements and pursuing leads. Instead, Harpur is a detective who’s lost entirely, and the case is even written off by his bosses until the events all come back on him. Some other exciting aspect of the story is that- while Harpur is demanding for more information from tipsters, it becomes clear that the relationship is a two way and he is entangled in his informer’s dark dealings.

The Lolita Man

The second book in Harpur & Iles series takes place shortly after the series debut novel, and we find Colin Harpur and his team in the small fictional town of England collecting leads after the 5th rape and the killing of a 14-year-old girl in the last couple of months.

In his first book, Bill James applied the same technique of dropping the reader in the midst of an investigation, and it’s a great change of pace for many authors who love to build up everything right from the beginning.

Harpur and his team have been on the hunt for the serial killer for quite some time now and its evident that they are not getting anywhere. It is also clear that the two murders occurred in an adjacent county where Catholics head the police department. This puts the toxic careerist Iles in lather as he cannot stand the idea of “Papist” and “Micks” taking over the place.

The narration of the story at times switches to the killer himself- and it’s through his storytelling that the reader gets to know the innermost thought of the faceless monster, his delusional motivations. As a reader, you will also get a glimpse of the killer’s next victim, a young girl who writes romantics lines in her diary.

In both cases, the author nails the voice of the cast and makes the whole situation believable. On the other hand, Harpur is left to wander around the city guessing where the serial killer might strike next. Eventually, Harpur’s investigation leads him somewhere and this results to more rivalry subplot, and soon Iles begins suspecting Harpur’s involvement with the Catholic cop with results to some bad exchanges.

In the first book in the series, Iles always lurked in the background, but in the second book, he blossoms into a full character.

Halo Parade

The second book in Harpur & Iles series ended with Harpur and Iles almost at each other’s throats. Like in the first two books, Halo Parade picks up with the author dropping the reader in the midst of murder case. Harpur is working with an undercover cop who has managed to infiltrate the town’s most wanted drug wholesalers, but Iles is getting nervous about this setup. As expected, something goes terribly bad, and Harpur and his assistant Iles are left to pick up the broken pieces.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Harpur & Iles

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