Gritty, dark crime thriller

2012-07-25 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

The Dark Winter

David Mark

Quercus

TIPPED as one of the rising stars of British crime fiction, this is author David Mark’s second novel, featuring his smart but unconfident (although physically imposing) hero, detective superintendent Aector McAvoy, who now finds himself shunned by many of his former colleagues for having exposed the illegal activities of a corrupt but popular fellow CID officer.

Working on a team that doesn’t really trust him, his reputation takes a further knock when he fails to stop a machete-wielding man, who has just hacked a choir girl to death inside a local church — although, in the ensuing melee, he does notice that the balaclava-clad assailant has tears in his blue eyes.

Temporarily taken off the murder investigation, he finds himself assigned to two less-high profile and seemingly unrelated cases: an apparent accidental drowning at sea and a mysterious death by fire.

First impressions are deceptive, however, as McAvoy comes to ­realise that the three incidents have one factor in common: the victims were all sole survivors of near-death experiences. Someone, it appears, is determined to redress the balance by making sure his victims die in conditions very similar to the ones they earlier survived.

Desperate to find the serial killer before he gets to his next victim, McAvoy sets off in hot pursuit around a grimy, decaying, recession-hit city of Hull, little realising who the man’s ultimate target is.

Gritty, dark and realistic, Mark organises his material with veteran assurance while adroitly producing a denouement that wraps up the whodunit perfectly.

 

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