Friday, July 11, 2014

Sorrow Bound: David Mark

DS Aector McAvoy and his boss, Detective Superintendant Trish Pharaoh are back for a third adventure. In my review for the previous book in this series, Original Skin, I said: "It appears that David Mark will continue to dig deeper into his characters lives as they work together." And the author does tell us more and more about his characters, their history and their foibles. That is one of the more positive aspects of this book, although some of it is told in more detail than I want.

There are two plot lines going simultaneously in Sorrow Bound. McAvoy and Pharaoh are investigating several deaths which appear to be related. The Serious and Organized Crime Unit that Pharoah heads is in flux; they take on this case although it isn't strictly under their purview. A high profile case related to drug gangs has been shifted to other detectives in the same department, but ends up involving Roisin, McAvoy's wife.

This excerpt gives some idea of the relationship of two of the protagonists. The weather is sweltering in Hull. No one is comfortable. Pharoah teases McAvoy about his clothes...
She looks at her sergeant for a moment too long, then nods. “No suit jacket, Hector?”
McAvoy looks at himself, neat and pressed in designer suit trousers, waistcoat, shirt with top button done up and his tie perfectly tied in a double Windsor. “I can pop home if . . .”
Pharaoh laughs. “Christ, you must be boiling. Undo a button, for God’s sake.”
McAvoy begins to color. Pharaoh can make any man blush but has an ability to transform her sergeant into a lava lamp with nothing more than a sentence or a smile. He has refused to wear a white shirt since she told him she could see the outline of his nipples, and has yet to find a way of looking at her that doesn’t take in at least one of her many curves. He raises his hands to his throat but can’t bring himself to give in to slovenliness. “I’ll be fine.”
I found the second book in the series to contain too much explicit violence for me. I don't avoid all books with violence; I find that my tolerance for violence varies from book to book. In Sorrow Bound, the violence continued to be a problem for me. As the positive review at Publisher's Weekly says: "Readers should be prepared for graphic descriptions of gruesome crimes."

However, I was very impressed with the plot development. David Mark includes more elements of the personal lives of his characters in his novels than I am usually comfortable with. This time the family and personal issues of just about all the policemen was very evident, but I felt the story line allowed for that and that element was handled well. I also felt like this could work very well as a standalone book, until I got to the end.

I was not pleased at all with the end of this book. There is a cliffhanger ending and it is a doozy. I can accept plot lines that continue throughout a series, even though I would prefer closure. But this one was too much for me. I don't plan to read any more books in this series.

This book gets rave reviews; there are very few negative reviews. Several reviewers whose opinion I respect were very positive about this book. I agree that the plotting and the character development are great. I don't like stories told in the present tense, but that is a minor point. So, if you think this story might appeal to you, seek out some other reviews or give it a try. You will probably like it.

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Publisher: Blue Rider Press (July 3, 2014) in the US
Length:    344 pages
Format:    e-book
Series      DS Aector McAvoy
Setting:    Hull, UK
Genre:     Mystery, Police procedural
Source:    from the publisher via NetGalley

8 comments:

  1. Tracy - Hmmm.....it's good to hear that the plot development worked for you. But I think the graphic violence would be too much for my personal taste. And I know what you mean about cliffhangers. Still, your review is, as ever, excellent.

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    1. Thanks, Margot. It was hard to review a book that I mostly liked throughout, but I was very disappointing at the end.

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  2. Excellent review Tracy, very well balanced. Like you I don't mind some violence but sometimes it's over the top. I certainly don't seek out those kinds of books. I have this one on my read shelf too. Might not get to it.

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    1. Thanks, Peggy. I did try to write a balanced review. I admire this author's talent (and I really liked the first book in the series), but I don't think his books are for me.

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  3. I found that review particularly helpful, Tracy, for this reason: I absolutely loved the first book, and wanted so much to like the second too, but the sickening violence put me off. I didn't even review it, which is rare for me. I was wondering whether to give the books another go with this one, but I think you have convinced me not to...

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    1. Moira, I think maybe this one has less gross violence than the 2nd book. Not sure, and it has plenty.

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  4. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. I have yet to read the 2nd and am planning to stop there, unless I'm blown away and feel compelled to continue, which judging by the ending of this will lead me onto further books - which I could well do without!

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    1. Col, I was disappointed, I had hoped I would like this one better than the 2nd one. But he has plenty of fans. I look forward to your evaluation of book 2.

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