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Mystery Monday Review – The Dark Winter

The Dark Winter by David Mark


Review by Vicky T. (VickyJo)



Finding a new author is such a treat for me.  If I took a minute and thought about it, I would realize that I “know” too many authors and have far too many books on the mountain of books I want to read (Mt. To Be Read), but still—it’s an addiction.  I love new authors.

David Mark is both new-to-me and just plain new.  His first novel “The Dark Winter” was just published, and based on some early rave reviews, I bought a copy for my library (I’m the director of a public library system) and decided to read it first.

It’s a mystery set in England.  If you categorize your mysteries, it’s a police procedural.  Our hero, Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy is a Scotsman, a big man who can use his size to intimidate when he thinks about it, who loves his wife and young son beyond all reason, and who is a believer in ‘right.’  Justice is supposed to prevail, and he’s not comfortable with any other solution.

A series of seemingly unconnected murders has the department jumping.  A young girl is knifed down by someone with a machete during a church service; a man is severely burned in a house fire and taken to the burn unit, where he is set alight again and dies in his hospital bed.  McAvoy (and the reader) begins to see a pattern where no one else does, especially when he adds in an alleged suicide of a retired trawlerman.  Can he tie these various threads together in time to prevent further deaths?  For this is surely the work of a serial killer, someone who is targeting survivors; and as we know, serial killers always strike again.  The true mystery here is not the pattern to the killings, but the motivation and the identity of the killer.

The author doesn’t always tell us things; he shows us.  He creates a complete character in Aector, someone with a bit of a mysterious background, but with a strong moral compass and the need to see justice served. The secondary characters are also well drawn, and the cold, brutal town of Hull is made real by excellent writing.  The reader is enticed into this story, led along various paths, until the tension is humming and it becomes almost impossible to put the book down.

This is supposed to be the first novel in a series, and I hope that’s true.  I would love to get to know Aector McAvoy better!




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