In the economically depressed port city of Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy enjoys some chocolate cake in a coffee shop with his four-year-old son. Despite the December cold, they sit outside, on the old square, to get a bit of the sun that is in such short supply so far north at this time of year. Aector's moment of domestic pleasure is cut short by screams from the church across the square. He runs to the church and is himself attacked by a hooded man rushing away. Inside, there is a horrific scene of carnage; Daphne Cotton, just 15 years old, has been hacked to death with a machete.
Aector, a member of the police department's serious crimes unit, is put on the team investigating Daphne's murder. Aector has a special status, since he was face-to-face with the killer, but it soon becomes obvious to the reader that's not all that sets him apart. In the past, he exposed an important cop's corruption, and now he's paying the price. He's looked at with suspicion by many, respect by a few, but given a wide berth by almost everyone. Though not by his boss, Trish Pharaoh. Pharaoh, a tough-talking, hard-drinking woman, calls Aector "natural police" and gives him free reign in the investigation.
Author David Mark, a crime reporter, delivers a page-turner of a plot and a refreshing new protagonist in his debut novel. In retrospect, I suppose the story is pretty far-fetched, but that didn't prevent me from shutting myself away from all distractions and staying up way later than I'd intended so that I could finish the book.
|UK book jacket says it's as good as|
Peter Robinson––or your money back!
According to Wikipedia, the city of Hull "is sunnier than most areas this far north in the British Isles, and also considerably drier, due to the rain shadowing effect of the Pennines." You'd never know from reading The Dark Winter that Hull enjoys such a congenial climate. I had to crank up the thermostat and turn on all the lights to combat the cold, wet gloom that rose off every page. This book can rival any Nordic mystery for chill and clouded atmosphere.
|The Humber Bridge, opened in 1981, was the longest|
single-span suspension bridge in the world for 16 years
The Dark Winter was published in the US on October 25, 2012 by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).
Note: I received a free review copy of The Dark Winter from the publisher. A version of this review may also appear on Amazon and other sites under my user names there.