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The Dark Winter [Hardcover]

David Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (468 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 (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 (468 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sound debut... 31 Mar 2012
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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77 of 83 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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21 of 24 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
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written 23 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've made 3 attempts to read this book, and failed, I just can't get in to it. The initial scene-setting involving the old man on a ship off the coast of Iceland is good enough, but the book goes downhill rapidly after that. You don't feel that you know the characters at all. I'm used to quality writers like John Grisham, Stuart MacBride, Peter James etc etc, but this initial novel from David Mark disappoints.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Asa Larsson book
Yes this is a good book, quite macabre in places! Just what I like about crime books!! I highly recommend it.
Published 4 days ago by Ms. S. G. Kerr
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound debut
This is a good first book with an intriguing plot and overall a page turner. Being pedantic and from the city in which it is based some details seem to suggest the author has... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Mr. D. B. Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent debut that, hopefully, will lead into a long and...
A debut crime novel by David Mark whose long experience as crime reporter on ‘The Yorkshire Post’ is evident in this story that introduces the reader to 6ft 5 inch Detective... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr R
5.0 out of 5 stars superb
A worthy companion to any Rebus novel. Well written, kept me guessing. I have purchased the next novel on the strength of this one.
Published 1 month ago by yada yada yada
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting setting but not unique.
Interesting to read a book set in my home town, but this wasn't a unique thriller. The protagonist was likeable but the author's prose was incredibly frustrating, depending on... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kate Harr
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable crime tale set in and around Hull
The undoubted strength of Dark Winter is the gentle giant, DS Aector McAvoy, a man who obsesses about doing the right thing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rob Kitchin
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Having been born and raised in Hull it was easy to relate to the story. I love David Marks style of writing and will certainly read his other novels. Read more
Published 1 month ago by anita chadwick
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read
Aector is one of those characters who touches your heart so that everything he does has you on the edge of your seat. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pamela Ludolf
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not brilliant
I've lived in Hull for the majority of my 46 years, I've served with the Humberside Police in Hull and Grimsby and I'm married to a trawlerman, I found Mark's descriptions of all... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jo67
3.0 out of 5 stars ok read
I always find this author very easy reading, I like a book you can just pick up and follow easily.
Published 2 months ago by John Russell Henderson
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