Sorrow Bound by David Mark

Sorrow BoundHull and time to visit DS Aector McAvoy again, lead character in (The) Dark Winter and Original Skin. Things are about to get pretty grim(mer) for our hero and his friends and family.

McAvoy is a troubled man, the main light in his life being his wife, Roisin. But he has a secret that he’s been hiding from her since they met – a secret that could destroy their happy life together. Not to be outdone, Roisin is about to make a dreadful mistake, drawing the attention of a very dangerous enemy.

Meanwhile McAvoy and his colleagues are on the trail of a savage murderer. A local mother, without any real enemies in the world, is murdered – her chest being completely caved in. What could she have done to deserve such brutality? As the killings increase, McAvoy begins to see a pattern – it seems that no good deed goes unpunished after all…

I don’t tend to read or review dark crime novels. I don’t particularly want to read about the depravity that some people imagine exists inside serial killers heads and in the past, more often than not, these depraved dribblings tend to dominate such books in lieu of things like characterisation or plot.

I do make exceptions, though, mostly notably Stuart MacBride and David Mark. I was asked to review Dark Winter a while ago and, giving it a fair shot, discovered a compelling narrative voice and a cast of intriguing characters. And on top of that, a decent murder mystery as well. It was a fantastic read which was followed up by Original Skin, a novel that was even better, in my humble opinion.

And so we come to book three. It’s safe to say, there’s not a lot of light in this book. At the heart of the murder mystery, there are some very disturbed individuals, although I’m pleased to say that as ever, David Mark keeps things well away from the voyeuristic. The whole notion behind the central tale is terrifyingly believable – one almost wonders if it’s actually happened before…

There is a second plot running through the narrative as well, concerning a local cartel of villains trying to gain influence over the Serious Crimes division and this is almost as terrifying as the central tale. And this brings up the only thing that irked me a bit about the book. While the main plot is tied up in the pages of this book, the other plot runs into the next book. I’ve no problem with this notion in a series of books but there is a bit too much left unresolved for my liking. Of course, the only result of this is that I’ll be keeping an even closer eye out for the next one – so, David, as I know you read this, write faster!

Needless to say, this is Highly Recommended. And may I say, if you are a bit squeamish, perservere with this book, as it’s well worth the effort. A powerful narrative that grips you from the start and never lets go. The Book Of The Month just got even more difficult to choose – and it’s only the 12th of the month!


  1. […] But Book Of The Month? It comes down to three books, but L C Tyler did win it last month. I can’t separate the other two – the outstanding Taking Pity and Dead Pretty. But I don’t have to as  they’re both by David Mark. Not your standard mystery fare, but this series continues to go from strength to strength. I’d go back to the start – or at least Book Three, Sorrow Bound. […]


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