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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Sorrow Bound by David Mark

Published by Quercus,
April 2014.
ISBN: 9781782063131 (HB)
12 March 2015 (PB)

Hull detective Aector McAvoy has a new case: a woman whose torso has been mangled. A nice woman, who oughtn’t to have had an enemy in the world ...

I loved the characters in this book. Aector McAvoy is originally from the Highlands, and has retained his simplicity of outlook and his belief in justice. His wife, Rosin, is a quirky traveller lass who’s quick-witted enough to nick a drug dealer’s money after she’s hit him where it hurts. They have two children, and are busy moving house. Aector’s boss, Trish Pharoah, is streetwise and acerbic, and the exchanges between them are a delight. I had a lot of sympathy for Helen Tremberg, whose loneliness manoeuvres her into an unbearable situation, and the back cast of station and Hull folk involved in the investigation were vividly drawn cameos. The story was told in the third person, taking us from one head to another. The style was very readable, although the present-tense narration occasionally got tangled in past memories, and the story zipped along, with a high body count and intriguing hints of the link between the victims. There was also a chillingly ruthless ‘drug gang’ sub-plot. The Hull background was atmospheric, taking in the sweep of the city from the centre to the seaside outskirts and neighbouring towns. The ending was startling, with a neat final twist. While the murders were nasty, the description was done briefly enough for the cosy feel of the characters to remain, but on the whole I’d recommend this for the noir fans.

A fast-moving novel with an original mix of cosy characters and noir situations in a well-evoked background. This one has spoilers for the previous novels, Dark Winter and Original Skin, so I’d recommend starting at the beginning – and don’t get too fond of even the good characters...
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

David Mark was a journalist for over fifteen years, including seven years as a crime reporter with the Yorkshire Post in its Hull office. He lives in Lincolnshire with his family.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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