Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day / Monday, November 19, 2012 / “The Dark Winter” by David Mark / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is The Dark Winter by David Mark.

"The Dark Winter" by David Mark

You can cheat death once, but not a second time.

Why Clay Stafford chose this book:

A sense of place is set. “This chilly, complicated Yorkshire air, laced with the salt and spray of the coast, the smoke of the oil refineries, the burned cocoa of the chocolate factory, the pungency of the animal feed unloaded from the super-container at the docks this morning, the cigarettes and fried food of a people in decline and a city on its arse.” I get the picture. “Cold as the grave.”

A complicated officer, one who starts complicated and stays that way, at odds with his family, his work, his co-workers, his profession, himself. A man who must remind himself that “if he is hunting evil, he must be on the side of good.” A man betrayed by those he thought were for the truth. A giant of an officer who is comfortable sitting at his desk researching on the computer who, “for the first time in as long as he can remember, decides to act on impulse.”

A strong backstory, the fears of which return. Several deaths – murders and appearing non-murders – all seemingly unrelated. And the guilt of borrowed time. “They’re taking away their second chances at life. People who survived when nobody else did. They’re being umped off in the same way that somebody thinks they should have died. That means something.”

British crime journalist David Mark has done a wonderful job with this exciting debut novel, sure to be the beginning of a very successful new thriller series. It was masterfully well-plotted and I wondered how he was going to bring three such unrelated incidents around. I look forward to the subsequent books. I would like to hear more adventures in Hull, a thriving fishing town until the industry went belly-up, “its drunken occupants, its boarded-up shops and litter-strewn doorways.” And Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy, himself a fish out of water, a man not comfortable in his own massive skin.

From Amazon:

“A series of suspicious deaths has rocked Hull, a port city in England as old and mysterious as its bordering sea. In the middle of a Christmas service, a teenage girl adopted from Sierra Leone is chopped down with a machete in front of the entire congregation. A retired trawlerman is found dead at the scene of a tragedy he escaped, the only survivor, forty years ago. An ugly fire rages in a working-class neighborhood, and when the flames die away, a body is discovered, burned beyond recognition.

Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy is sure there is a connection between these crimes, but his fellow officers are not convinced—they would rather get a quick arrest than bother themselves with finding the true killer. Torn between his police duties and his aching desire to spend more time with his pregnant wife and young son, McAvoy is an unlikely hero: a family man more obsessed with being a decent cop, a physically imposing man far more comfortable exploring databases that being gung-ho with his muscle. Compelled by his keen sense of justice, McAvoy decides to strike out alone—but in the depths of the dark winter, on the hunt for a murderer, it’s difficult to forget what happened the last time he found himself on the wrong side of a killer’s blade…”

If you want to make your own comments on this selection, we would love to hear from you. Join our Facebook Killer Nashville group page or our blog and join in the discussion.

Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville


About Clay Stafford

Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker ( and founder of Killer Nashville ( As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages. Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” ( and the music CD “XO” ( A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13)
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