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on 30 January 2013
Like the previous two books featuring this character, Pariah and The Helper, I was gripped from the first scene. The pacing and tone are just right, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing till the end. As we've come to expect, Doyle's wife and daughter carry on quietly in the background, but what seems to be an unrelated thread about their relationship is really a parallel of his relationship with his job, adding an extra layer to Doyle that helps make him who he is.

I'm a big fan of this character. He's one of the most believable fictional detectives I've read; and I'm looking forward to finding out where he goes next. In this book, almost right from the beginning, I wondered just how far it was that he was prepared to go.
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on 16 January 2013
Another edge of your seat, can't put down book from David Jackson and his brilliant flawed character Cal Doyle. I have read the 3 in the series and will now reread them as one piece of work, as Cal is ostracised, tortured and cornered by his fellow cops, his family and some of the nastiest criminals on the block.

The thing about David Jackson's writing is that you get right inside Cal's head. The genius cop who is restrained by the system and hampered by his passion.

The story line is great, keeps you guessing and surprises til the end.

Keep writing Mr. Jackson and everyone who reads these books - would suggest you read them in order, tell your friends, let's get this guy on the bestsellers list!
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on 14 January 2013
I've been a fan of Dave Jackson's writing and his main character Callum Doyle ever since his first book Pariah was published. Now after The Helper in 2012 Cal Doyle is back for the third time in Marked.
In a highly unusual and partially very funny opening scene parts of the dismembered body of a young girl are being recovered.
Megan Hamlyn has been raped and tortured before her violent death and the MO bears a lot of similarities to a case Cal worked on a few years back.
This time it's very personal for Doyle. He is still frustrated that he couldn't bring the killer of the first girl to justice. Doyle's prime suspect for Megan's murder is Stanley Proust, a tattoo artist. And Doyle will stop at nothing to bring down Megan's killer.
Jackson's writing gets better with each book, his writing being tight and straightforward with great characters along the way. How Jackson makes all plot lines come together in the last quarter of Marked in a very violent, bloody and truly unexpected ending left me quite breathless!
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Marked is the third novel in the Detective Callum Doyle series.

Doyle actually feels like a whole different character in this book. He is so angry and going by the rules goes totally out of the window whilst working on his new case. He is determined to get justice for the parents of a murdered sixteen year old girl. That justice seems to come at a price though as the person behind the murder gets deep under Doyle's skin and threatens to lose him everything.

The villain in this novel, I don't think I could have despised even more than I did. Not only did he get under Doyle's skin, he truly got under mine as well. So much so that I was really routing for Doyle to catch him out. Problem is though, he is one devious character and I was as infuriated as Doyle was at the injustice at times.

This authors books are an absolute must read if your a a big crime fan that loves their books to be adrenaline fuelled. Every time I pick one up I am well and truly hooked. The story lines are gritty, dark and full of tension.

Marked is a fast paced read that felt at times that I was going at full throttle and left me totally wind swept by the end. It's very much a story about gut instincts and staying true to what you believe. Another great novel in the series.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 January 2013
As a seasoned and somewhat cynical crime reader I always have a strange feeling of mild peril when approaching an author's third outing in a series that has pretty much knocked my metaphorical socks off with the first two books. So here is the third of Jackson's Detective Callum Doyle's adventures in downtown New York and how did it do? Yeeeeeeeeees! I can push aside those unfounded feelings of doubt, because I am more than happy to report that Jackson has delivered again. With a somewhat darker feel to the previous two books, what we have here is another full-throttle, and at times violent tale, with Doyle as a modern day caped crusader, albeit with a much better reportoire of pithy one-liners and a never ending propensity to facedown the bad guys and seek justice for the wronged. Doyle is up to his little bent nose in trouble, juggling the demands of hunting down a murdering rapist, running errands for gangsters, navigating the annoyance of a new young and earnest police partner and trying not to totally tee off his long suffering wife. Oh yeah, and it looks like his daughter might be a kleptomaniac.

But seriously, this is an absolute page turner throughout, suffused with the twists and turns so firmly recognisable in Jackson's style. Doyle goes about his business with little thought to his own physical safety and finds himself one-on-one with one of the most scheming, duplicitous and odious characters ever to grace the pages of a crime book, in the shape of Stan Proust, the demon tatooist. Doyle is convinced that this snake in the grass is responsible for the abduction, rape and murder of two girls, the latest being Megan Hamlyn, and goes all out to prove Proust guilty, setting him against his new partner Tommy LeBlanc and doing nothing to quell the genuinely held suspicion in the squadroom that Doyle is a loose cannon. This is an incredibly dark but well executed thread to the book, as we see Proust turning the screws on Doyle bit by bit, threatening all corners of Doyle's life. As we observe Doyle's interaction with Megan's bereaved parents, in particular, with her mother Nicole (who has a strong presence in the book and an intriguing part to play in the overall plot), we feel the urgency of Doyle to bring this man to justice. But fate has more in store for Stan Proust than just the attentions of Doyle, and with the reappearance of shadowy figures from Doyle's murky past (in particular the cross-eyed gangster Bartok) this all adds up to Doyle being pulled in all directions in this twisted storyline tightly weaved...

Aside from the tightly controlled plotting in both this and the previous books, Jackson once again demonstrates his gift for characterisation and dialogue, very reminiscent in style to one of his proclaimed writing influences, the late great Ed McBain. Doyle is a wiseass, pure and simple, relying on his own propensity for wit on probably some less than suitable occasions. The violence Doyle encounters is always beautifully counterbalanced with his knack for the ready quip, with more than one of his colleagues being antagonised by his smart mouth, but throughout the book this use of humour enriches the cut and thrust of the precisely drawn dialogue. Doyle's uneasy relationship with new partner LeBlanc reminded me strongly of the Harry Callaghan school of indoctrinating partners, with probably slightly better odds at surviving, and it was nice to see the revival of Doyle's fraught former dealings with his Internal Affairs nemesis Paulson in the course of the tale. The characterisation throughout is perfectly pitched and credible, as we bear witness to Doyle's less than adept social skills and his skill at covering his own back, whilst always admiring his unerring determination to bring the guilty to justice, despite the determination of others to thwart him. The surrounding characters simply work well, as they are as roundly drawn as the central protagonist, and there is a good symbiosis of action and reaction played throughout them, that fleshes out Doyle's character and his differing relationships with them.

So to conclude, fear not if you have not had the pleasure of reading `Pariah' or `The Helper (but quite honestly why haven't you?) as the relevant back story is seamlessly woven in to the tale so you're not aware of playing catch-up. As with other reviewers, I would issue a slight word of caution, for the more sensitive among you that there is a fair amount of violence, but nothing that will keep you awake at night, unless your other half has a less than healthy relationship with their power tools. Joking aside, apart from a v. minor wobble on the closing pages, this is a great read; earthy, compelling and unmissable. Go now out into the world and discover Doyle for yourselves...
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on 13 January 2013
I have to admit to being a little apprehensive about approaching `Marked`, the third in David Jackson's New York set series featuring Detective Callum Doyle. The only reason for my concern was that I loved the first two books `Pariah` and `The Helper` so much I was dreading a fall or, at the least, a stumble on the sidewalk this time round.

When the jacket image was released, expectations were very high indeed - the previous two novels read like great movies and this one looked like one straight away too, with its very cinematic and striking image.

I closed the book just over an hour ago having started it this weekend for an 80 page session, followed by a tea and biscuits fuelled 290 pages marathon today (coffee and donuts were sadly unavailable) and I'm happy to report that Marked has definitely done its job: A top read, a great addition to the series and one that has left me desperate to read the next in the series to see just what Mr Jackson has in store for Doyle next.

The character of Cal Doyle was pretty well drawn in the first novel and the follow up but, in Marked, the combination of his skills of sometimes unorthodox investigation and negotiation work, a killer sense of humour and his unshifting humanity towards victims and their kin, are all taken to the max - this is a crime fiction character who, as long as his creator allows, has a long future ahead of him.

Background for the earlier novels is well woven into the book - new readers will have no real issue jumping in at this point but, if you do, you'll be certain to then rush out and buy the first two anyway - so, go on, treat yourself to all three.

I found the plotting within Marked incredibly well handled and played out, with a reveal sequence that was something Keyser Soze would be proud of. If I felt anything was missing in Marked it would have been that I got so caught up with the story and the characters that one of the other main characters, that of New York itself, seemed to step back from the spotlight a little - but I'm sure that it'll all come to forefront again when we get to see Callum Doyle on the silver screen (come on - make it happen!).

I took the day off from DIY at home today to read Marked but, after closing the book, it may be a while before I can look at my electric drill in the same way again.

It's with no irony that David Jackson has clearly `Marked' his place firmly on the `crime writers to watch' list with this one. Go get yourself in that New York State of Mind and soon.
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on 24 January 2015
Well it just gets better and better with these books. This one is a little different from the previous two books as it concentrates more on a suspect than on a murder. The dismembered body of a young teenager Megan. After Doyle becomes involved in the investigation with his new partner Tommy, Doyle becomes obsessed with pinning the murder on a tattoo artist called Stanley Proust. Doyle had had dealings with him before again involving the murder of a young girl and Proust walked away from that one. There is also Lucas back on the scene pulling Doyle's strings and taking him further down the road to become a bad cop.
In this book we see a darker side of Doyle, he doesn't play well with others. I have already read Cry Baby, so hope book 5 will be out soon. Certainly recommend without a doubt.
Still love the humour in these books, here is a little quote.
"If there's a choice I'd stay alive. I can be a lot more persuasive when I have a pulse" Brilliant!
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on 30 July 2014
Another sleepless night when with eyelids drooping and time marching on, I promise myself just one more chapter. But I have to finish the damn thing to find out if Callum Doyle was actually right about the killer. We know from the outset who he suspects, but is he right. I had to find out and I did and yet again the twist at the end was totally unexpected.
I have read David Jackson books one after the other, and mainly in one sitting as I can't bear to put them down. Only just discovered and I am glad that I did. For fans of Lee Child, Harlan Coban and the ilk, David Jackson, for a Brit, captures all that is American about the crime world. His writing and cop humour is second to none, and I have read a lot of books. Just about to start Cry baby and no doubt another night without sleep. For my sake, David, don't write any more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 9 August 2014
Come on Mr can do better than this! Can you write? Sure. This book...not so well. I thought of giving it two stars bit gave it 3 as it shows potential.

You want us to believe in ...maybe even admire a main character who is sufficiently out of control of himself 1) to assault suspects in front of witnesses and 2) to continue threatening him (on several occasions) in front of police witnesses despite knowing IAD are watching you? Although he has some evidence that might support his suspicion he fails to pass it on to his partner who at least showed some signs of supporting him? Why? This is just plain thick. And annoying. And not very believable.
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on 1 June 2015
David Jackson is an amazing writer, the characters, especially Doyle, are well developed. The protagonist is a brilliant character who Jackson brings to life effortlessly. This is the third book in the series and I cannot wait for the next one.
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