In 1970s Boston, two detectives are flummoxed when they investigate the murder of a young man whose brother claims to have known the details of the killing before it ever happened. The subsequent investigation leads the detectives deep into the Fitzsimmons brothers’ past, where they find heartbreaking loss, sordid characters, and metaphysical conspiracies.
It’s all here: murder, corrupt cops, a gritty 70s Boston in turmoil. But then Harvey throws such a huge curveball your head will spin. The interconnectedness of all things is a big theme, and there are some scenes (keep your eye out for the one with Daniel and the dogs—trust me, you’ll know it) that will make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Harvey has a firm grip on time and place, and one-dimensional characters just aren’t in his toolbox. Harvey is a bona fide noir poet ... The whole book, even the very realistic action sequences, has an otherworldly feel, and as bad as things get, behind everything Daniel does is his intense love for his brother. The last quarter had my jaw on the floor and the last page broke my heart. Stunning.
In a vivid narrative, Harvey captures the Boston of the mid-’70s, where racial protests and battles were prevalent as the city struggled to face court-ordered desegregation of its school system through the busing of students between white and black neighborhoods ... [a] supernatural subplot adds an element of fantasy to the novel that makes for an entertaining pairing. Ultimately, though, Pulse is simply a great police procedural ... Pulse is a wonderful crime novel painted on a ’70s canvas. As a Chicago guy, I do hope that Michael Harvey returns his stories to my hometown, but my occasional trip to Boston is still quite enjoyable.
Set in the '70s, Pulse is partly a whodunnit, partly an historical coming-of-age story, partly gritty noir and partly quantum physics sci-fi. As a film, it might look something like a Good Will Hunting/Boondock Saints/Surrogates farrago—only more tightly wound and carefully constructed ... Like a good crime novel, Pulse is driven by a trail of clues and coincidences that paint a picture of cause and effect.