Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Review of Dark Winter by David Mark (Quercus, 2012)
The undoubted strength of Dark Winter is the gentle giant, DS Aector McAvoy, a man who obsesses about doing the right thing. Mark provides the somewhat hesitant cop with a nice blend of self-doubt, reflexivity and determination that often leaves him conflicted, but wanting to find a non-confrontational and just path forward. And the case that he’s presented with -- a killer with a pattern -- being investigated by a divided team that is united in its suspicion and mistrust of McAvoy, provides a challenging puzzle in which the main character is somewhat isolated and his main raison d’être will not hold. Indeed, the case troubles the simple of mapping of good and bad onto right and wrong -- sometimes rules need to be bent to deliver natural justice. The case itself is somewhat familiar serial killer, police procedural fare that is held together by a set of somewhat unlikely relations, relies a little too much on plot devices, and drifts into melodrama towards the end. It is, however, told in an engaging way and is elevated by McAvoy and his boss, Trish Pharaoh. Overall, an enjoyable crime tale set in and around Hull.