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The Dark Winter Hardcover – 29 Mar 2012

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The Dark Winter + Original Skin (DS Aector McAvoy) + Sorrow Bound
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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: 16.4 x 2.8 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,081 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


'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

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Raven TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Mar. 2012
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 By M. Mcnally on 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 By D. Foot on 4 Jun. 2013
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Sussex Scribe on 17 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
There is a lot of detective fiction out there and this will struggle to rise to the top. I liked the setting of Hull and Grimsby and wasnt put off by the bleakness of some of this; in fact the sense of place was for me a real strong point. I also liked the incident on the container ship as a starting point and thought it showed a lot of potential for how the story would unfold.
In the end this felt a lot more like a novel about journalism as the police and many minor characters seemed influenced by this and the descriptions of police procedure and behaviour just didn't seem as convincing as the descriptions about journalism.
Done in the third person the reader only really gets close to the protagonist DS but he is such a jumble of things - tender and loving but anti authority, violent and uncommunicative - it is hard to feel you know him. He also seems indestructible - beaten up, slashed etc but never seems to get even a plaster. His boss is also an enigma - a jumble of high handed behaviour, sympathy and sexual provocation - so it is hard to believe in her much either. The other characters remain undeveloped and there is too much dialogue of a jokey formulaic kind.
I didn't really buy into the premise that someone would go around bumping off lone survivors based on info from a local hack - and the denouement at the end didn't do much to dispel this lack of credulity.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steveatki on 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard Latham on 19 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Mark is clearly an excellent writer and in DS Aector McAvoy he has a character that hopefully will develop into a believable cop around whom a series of books can evolve.
However in this debut novel we have too much back-story and confusion that like his boss Pharoah says "People don't know what to make of you.....They can't read you." He is a complex character but I think more was said than was needed to draw a basic picture of him. Can't get the marital "love" - stinking of a women's perfume yet his wife knows he would cheat on her. Yet through his eyes all the female characters are seen as fanciable in some way. Loved Fin and feel plenty to build on in future books just overloaded in the first one. Perhaps this book was so long in the writing it all gushed out.
Amid all this over-writing of McAvoy's providence overlays a plot that doesn't hold together. The crime team seem clueless and all pulling in different directions. Suspects are arrested on a whim without answering to anyone, to the point where physically he could not have been the perpetrator fighting McAvoy the eyewitness whose statement appears to be ignored. The like a a motive and a link between the crimes takes for ever to drop and once it is seen, a confession is sought rather than seeking information from him as he must know the real killer.
Liked the book but overdrawn character and the complicated, not hanging together plot, spoil the actual enjoyment of the read. The warped thinking of the killer could sustain the novel if it was revealed differently in my opinion so I am a little disappointed as I recognise this could have been a terrific thriller of a crime mystery.
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