Thursday, 17 January 2013
"The Dark Winter," by David Mark
Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
I thought that it was time that I had a dutiful dig into my review pile. "The Dark Winter" was the one that I most fancied reading at the moment. It seemed like a serendipitous choice when I read the words "a fortnight until Christmas" in the first chapter, as this was the time of year that I started reading the book.
David mark's hero is Aector McAvoy, a policeman in Hull. At the start of the novel he is out with his young son when he hears screaming from a local church, which he instinctively runs towards and confronts a killer who has stabbed a young girl. A murderer seems to be targeting people who are sole survivors of tragedies, killing them in the manner of the death that they had previously evaded. But who is the mysterious killer with tears in his eyes, and what is his motivation?
This is a good mystery, with a strong sense of place (although, as I've never been to East Yorkshire, I can't attest to its verisimilitude). I did guess a couple of developments along the way, but the denouement was still twisty enough to be satisfying and did have elements that, to me (as a fairly regular reader of crime, but not an expert), seemed pretty original. McAvoy is an interesting central figure, refreshingly free of the alcohol problems or broken marriages that seem to haunt fictional detectives, but he is a man with a mysterious past (being viewed by his colleagues with suspicion, hatred or awe due to his hushed up involvement in bringing down a corrupt policeman). I also enjoyed Trish Pharaoh, his superior officer, who is a particularly strong and memorable character. This book does read as if the start of a series, as both McAvoy and Trish Pharoah are well realised figures and I can imagine that David Mark could certainly develop a series with McAvoy at the centre if he should want to (and a quick Google search suggests that might be the case).
I enjoyed this book, but I think that it might be destined for the book swap shelf at work. It was worth a read, but I'm not sure that it is one that I would be tempted to return to and re-read.
Thank you to Quercus Books for sending me a review copy of this novel.