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The Dark Winter [Hardcover]

David Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (483 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Mar 2012

Hull, East Yorkshire. Two weeks before Christmas. Three bodies in the morgue.

The victims - each a sole survivor of a past tragedy - killed in the manner they once cheated death.

Somebody is playing God. And it falls to DS Aector McAvoy to stop their deadly game.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; 1st edition (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857389181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857389183
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (483 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David spent more than 15 years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with The Yorkshire Post - walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels.

His writing is heavily influenced by the court cases he covered: the defeatist and jaded police officers; the incompetent investigators; the inertia of the justice system and the sheer raw grief of those touched by savagery and tragedy.

Dark Winter is his first novel, and has been followed by his newly released ORIGINAL SKIN out now in all good book shops.

He lives in Lincolnshire and is now a full-time novelist.

Product Description

Review

'An exceptional debut from an exciting new talent. David Mark is an original and captivating new voice' Val McDermid.

'Fast-moving and tightly plotted ... an extremely promising debut' Guardian.

'Carefully plotted ... an imaginative, colourful supporting cast ... an engaging page-turner' Manchester Evening News.

'An unusual and accomplished debut' Daily Mail.

'One of the most accomplished debut novels I have read recently ... David Mark has the potential to be one of the stars of British crime writing' Shots.

From the Inside Flap

Hull, East Yorkshire. Two weeks before Christmas, an elderly man - the only survivor of a fishing trawler tragedy 40 years before - is found murdered at sea. In a church, a young girl - the last surviving member of a family slaughtered during the conflict in Sierra Leone - is hacked to death with a machete. A junkie, who fled the burning house where he had set his family alight, is found incinerated on a rundown council estate. Someone is killing sole survivors in the manner they had escaped death. And it falls to Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy of Humberside CID to find out whom. McAvoy, despite being a six-foot-five, man mountain of a police officer, is not your typical bullish detective. A shy, gentle giant, he is a family man obsessed with being a good and decent cop; more dab hand with a database than gung-ho with a gun - traits that have seen him become increasingly isolated from his colleagues in the force. Desperate to prove his worth, McAvoy knows he must establish the motive behind the killings if he is to have any chance of pinning the perpetrator. And he must do so quickly, as this twisted yet ingenious killer appears to have an appetite for murder.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sound debut... 31 Mar 2012
By Raven TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed this debut crime novel and think that David Mark could do for Hull what John Harvey does for Nottingham and Chris Simms does for Manchester. I thought the novel painted an incredibly realistic picture of Hull as a city on the slide and you got a real sense of the atmosphere of the city in all its grim reality. I thought that McAvoy was a good grounded character without the cliched baggage that crime writers are so fond of shoe-horning into their books and that alone would encourage me to read the next in the series. I also liked the character of 'Pharaoh' the female boss who whilst slightly lacking the acidity of DI Steel in the Stuart MacBride books was feisty enough to give her character credibility. The central plot was quite clever with a particularly twisted killer targeting those poor unfortunates who had previously escaped death and there was a nicely balanced gore factor. Not a bad read at all...
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and gripping 30 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm not a huge fan of crime fiction generally, because the genre can tend to be a bit one-dimensional and formulaic, so I was really pleasantly surprised by the depth and complexity of this story. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

I can give no higher praise than to say that I woke up at 4 this morning, couldn't get back to sleep so I reached for the nearest book, figuring that a couple of pages would see me back snoring. 20 chapters later the book was done, light peeping round the curtains and my mind still racing from the concluding action.

The use of location and environment to give a huge dose of gritty reality, the refreshingly different main character, and just sheer storytelling ability lead to a really gripping tale. I'm reminded of the non-SF work of Iain Banks in a number of ways - although whether or not the author would be pleased to be dubbed 'Hull's answer to Iain Banks' is another matter!

I look forward to seeing the next instalment in what will hopefully be a long series, and am already hoping for a future TV adaptation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not exceptional 4 Jun 2013
By D. Foot
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a bad read but I felt I'd read so many similar novels before.

The misunderstood detective with a tragic past considered by his colleagues as ready to put out to grass.

A tired plot where the reader can see the connection between events early on, but the clever detectives (and our hero) seem unable to draw obvious conclusions.

A sound enough novel but hardly challenging.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose let down by humdrum plot 11 Jun 2012
By Carmen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really loved the opening of this book and David Mark set the scene very well. His prose is wonderfully evocative and original and he sketches his backdrop with great skill. Unfortunately, because of Mark's skill, Hull becomes the book's outstanding character and the only one that rings true. The plot is both unbelievable and dull at the same time and guessing the perpetrator was ridiculously easy when we met him, even if his motive is not quite as clear until the denouement.

DS McAvoy (I won't use his first name because it became an unnecessary distraction in the novel) is also quite hard to take as a gentle giant. I know men are supposed to be more in touch with their emotions but a Detective Sergeant in a crime unit of any kind wouldn't survive for five minutes if he was as near to tears as McAvoy often is. At one point he almost faints so overcome with emotion is he. I mean, come on.

The other annoyance is the de rigeur padding of police in-fighting which spoils so many procedurals these days. I find it hard to believe a senior detective would arrest the wrong person just to score points of a fellow officer and even if it is realistic, it has been done to death and feels like filler for the thin plot. Overall a promising debut for a great thriller to come but this isn't it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so easily pleased. 21 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback
This is not a bad read but with a bit more imagination could have ticked a couple more boxes.
The angle of the old boy disappearing off the container ship off the coast of Iceland offered massive intrigue.
However as the story progressed the intrigue diminished. I just found myself wishing that there was a bigger mystery at play. I wanted the container ship thing to be the key to the story. To be wowed. I wasn't it played out rather predictably as you waited to see which person within the novel turned out to be the killer.

The descriptive element of a dreary east coast became tiresome.

As a new detective on the block I am not sure DS Aector McAvoy is going to cut it.

We are drip fed aspects of McAvoys previous troubles which leaves him where he is in the popularity stakes within the police. No Doubt this will be revisited in his next outing Original Skin in April 2013.

I have a long list of books I want to read and sadly DS McAvoy is not going to feature on the list anytime soon.

One final point to the author. Elements of the police procedure are factually incorrect. If you are looking to breakthrough as a longterm crime writer you need to address this as it will annoy people.

PACE 1984 is in print and will help.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What am I missing? 22 July 2013
By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to this on the basis of so many strong reviews. On this occasion, I can't go with the flow at all. I was disappointed by both plot and characters. The plot had potential, a mix of past and present. But from the outset, I struggled with the credibility of the main detective. His language, thoughts, emotional response, his introspection...none of it rang true in a plausible way. His idiosyncrasies, background and current situation don't gel.

It got worse when we were introduced to his immediate boss. A dreadful blend of Juliet Bravo and Helen Mirren. A female senior officer trying to be one of the lads, a mother and a flirty siren. No, no, no. This just does not work. There is no way, in the circumstances, that she would be sitting in a car, gripping the thigh of a junior colleague. The relationship is implausible and unnatural and when you lose credibility of the two main characters, it's an uphill struggle.

The dialogue often seemed contrived, with attempts to introduce humour, intended to be sardonic, failing. Hull felt unremittingly bleak and desolate; somewhere between hope and desolation but no half way house. This is possibly one of the most frustrating reviews I've ever written. I wanted to enjoy the book, but I didn't. I love crime fiction, but this one missed the mark.
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