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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sound debut...
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...
Published on 31 Mar. 2012 by Raven

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not exceptional
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...
Published 23 months ago by D. Foot


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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sound debut..., 31 Mar. 2012
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dark Winter (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not exceptional, 4 Jun. 2013
By 
D. Foot (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Winter (Kindle Edition)
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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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and gripping, 30 Mar. 2012
By 
M. Mcnally (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dark Winter (Hardcover)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hull good plot bad, 17 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Dark Winter (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so easily pleased., 21 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Dark Winter (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Overwritten back-story and confused plotting, 19 Nov. 2012
By 
Richard Latham (Burton on Trent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dark Winter (Hardcover)
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars promising in parts, 20 July 2012
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This review is from: Dark Winter (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed the plot,story and the characterisation - Kept me turning til the last page,Hence the 3 .
Unfortunately Mark is vague about the setting and seems to only draw on the commonly held negative perceptions of Hull to paint the picture and create the "backdrop" - shame !!
Other crimewriters (who I guess Mark would want to aspire to)manage to include the good ,bad, light and shade in their work when setting the Urban scene ,so to speak
I'm sure he's been there but if his writing is the only reflection of his experience I'm sad
The majority people who live there will give you many reasons why its a good place to be !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and atmospheric, 5 Aug. 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dark Winter (Hardcover)
In an increasingly overcrowded genre, this is a book which stands out for its good writing and chilling vision. Set against the grim background of Hull with its destroyed fishing industry, and in the grip of an icy winter in the run-up to Christmas, DS Aector McAvoy is faced with a number of senseless killings and has to untangle the desolate, even despairing, motive that drives the killer.

I enjoyed this book but think the publisher's blurb gives away far too much of the plot: it takes the police about half the book to understand the connections behind the killings and so it's a real spoiler that we're handing it on a plate on the back cover.

That aside, this feels far more emotionally substantial than many crime-thrillers. Aector does more than nod to the maverick detective that has become such a cliché but he doesn't fall into the alcoholic/divorced/jaded category, and is a kind of moral centre to the book which is briefly lightened by his passionate devotion to his wife and family.

So I really enjoyed this - recommended if you enjoy the slightly more literary end of the crime spectrum.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay but..., 25 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Dark Winter (Paperback)
1. there are too many references to our hero's lovable (or irritating?) qualities
2. far too much time is spent with the detective's family which does get a little boring after a while
3. the police office politics are potentially quite interesting but we never get enough information about why our man is unpopular with some of his colleagues. The author teases it out a little but it's not enough
4. the villain is totally unconvincing as is the ending

There are good points in this book and I think it has a real feel for its setting in Hull, a city I have come to know and like enormously in recent years, but I think more needs to be done to make the lead detective more interesting (background about his home life is not the answer in my opinion) and Mr Mark should work at keeping the story more plausible.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose let down by humdrum plot, 11 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: The Dark Winter (Hardcover)
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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Dark Winter
Dark Winter by David Mark (Paperback - 3 Jan. 2013)
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