- Series: Detective Sergeant McAvoy (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Blue Rider Press; First Edition edition (October 25, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399158642
- ISBN-13: 978-0399158643
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 65 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,486,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dark Winter (Detective Sergeant McAvoy) Hardcover – October 25, 2012
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*Starred Review* Cops in the economically ravaged northern England city of Hull don’t know what to think of the new detective who has joined the force. Aector McAvoy is a veritable giant, and there are vague rumors that he was nearly killed bringing down a rogue cop and a contract killer. But in Hull, he is a shy computer wizard who silently wishes he could spend all his time with his pregnant wife and young son. Then there’s his name; Hull cops don’t know it’s a Scots spelling of Hector. But Aector is on the scene when a teenage girl is savagely murdered in Hull’s most historic church, and it is Aector who discovers that the girl and subsequent victims were all survivors of previous fatal tragedies. And it is Aector who must end the murderous rampage. First-novelist Mark shrewdly makes Aector an enigma for readers, too, slowly building the conflicted hero throughout the book. Equally shrewdly, he gives Aector a tough and insightful female supervisor, who, after puckishly remarking he should have come with an “owner’s manual,” ultimately unpacks her complex charge. Mark’s years as a Hull journalist, his descriptions of a blighted city “on the bones of its arse,” and winter weather that ranges from merely dismal to brutal burnish an impressive debut. John Harvey readers should take note. --Thomas Gaughan
“British crime reporter Mark’s outstanding first novel, a suspenseful whodunit, introduces Det. Sgt. Aector McAvoy…Readers will want to see more of the complicated McAvoy, who well deserves a sophisticated and disturbing plot.”
Top customer reviews
The underlying mystery in the novel is born from a coincidental collection of individuals who had survived an otherwise deadly encounter only to find themselves reliving the past as victims once again. The story unfolds as a seemingly unconnected series of events sewn together by a single elusive thread; with who and the why to be solved by the steadfast resolve of Aector McAvoy.
Mark draws an unusual character in McAvoy, one divergent from the standard stock of detective material. This characterization seems somewhat alien to the general nature of police detectives as measured by the take most writers harbor and while seeming to make a somewhat endearing character, may have gone a bit over the top; you will have to be the judge. Otherwise, the novel is generally well written, though long on many colloquial expressions that is sure to befuddle the western reader some. The story line moves right along and keeps the reader involved through the developments. There are a couple of good twists in the plot, although an astute mystery reader will find them lurking in the background and have guessed them.
All and all the novel is a pleasant read, engaging enough to keep the reader's attention and steeped in enough mystery to pique one's curiosity.
If you are a detective mystery lover, I would rate this novel "pleasurable - though not memorable" and would recommend it for your reading list.
An old man is telling a journalist the story of how he survived the sinking of a trawler thirty years ago. They take a break and he disappears only to be found dead later in a lifeboat off the coast of Finland. Det. Sgt. McAvoy is sitting at an outdoor café with his son when they hear panicked screaming from the church across the way. As he arrives, he barely being struck by a blade carried by a man all in black. What he does find is a young woman, hacked to death.
It’s always a bit sad to be introduced to a character one likes only to have him be the first victim. We then segue to our protagonist is peacefully sitting in the town square only to have total chaos.
McAvoy is an interesting character whose personality belies his physical appearance. He has a past with the force, resulting in some bitterness. He’s a wonderfully complex character. He’s a cop who really cares about his job… “…And he knows that the reason he has to catch the right man…It’s because somebody has to give a damn about the rules. Idealistic? Perhaps; but it makes him an interesting character.
Mark provides some wonderfully evocative descriptions which provide a strong sense of place. “There are still proud homeowners here and there. Amid the black teeth and rotted gums of the burned-out and vandalized houses stands the occasional white-painted molar.”
The story had an excellent plot. As the pieces started fitting together, the pace increased and uncovering the villain and the motive keep the pace moving forward at a fast pace, but not without some introspection.
“The Dark Water” is a very credible debut book and a character interesting enough to what to know more.
THE DARK WINTER (Pol Proc-Det. Sgt. Aector McAvoy-Hull, England-Contemp) – VG+
Mark, David – 1st in series
A Plume Book, 2012