Dead Pretty (DS Aector McAvoy, #5) by David Mark
Published by Mulholland on January 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction
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Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.
One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won't let either of them go until justice can be done.
But some people have their own ideas of what justice means...
DEAD PRETTY is the stunning new novel from one of Britain's most original crime writers.
First of all I would like to thank Bookbridgr and Mulholland for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. I know there are plenty of fans of David Mark’s books, and I can see from other reviews on GoodReads that my 1* review is very much the exception, rather than the rule. Perhaps it’s because this is the 5th book in the series, but the first that I’ve read, so I found it hard to get into the characters. Who knows. Either way it wasn’t for me.
I have an issue in general with detectives in murder/mystery/psychological thrillers having silly names, and “Aector McAvoy” is no exception. Aector?!! It’s a gaelic name according to the author, but not one I’ve ever come across. On top of that one of the characters insisted on calling him “Hector” throughout the book. I thought it was a typo at first, but it was so consistent I decided it must be a “character trait” even though it was intensely annoying.
I couldn’t get on board with the writing either. Another issue I have is the overuse of metaphors in writing, and this book is absolutely peppered with them. Open practically any page and you can find some ridiculous metaphor …
“Jez Gavan and his partner have burrowed in at number 17 like ticks in a dog’s back leg” (p68)
“‘I still receive a birthday card from Doug’, says Jackson-Savannah, like a teenage girl showing off a signed photograph from her favourite boy band” (p56)
“… a billion tiny raindrops hovering like flies” (p202)
And so it goes on. There’s even one comparing someone’s eyes to blue cheese, which annoyingly I can’t find in the book as I write this review. I really should keep notes as I go of such annoying turns of phrase.
There are also lot of repeated phrases including lots of “running his/her tongue over his/her teeth”, words “greasy” with regret, and lots of inaccuracies such as “scalped underarms” (you can only scalp a scalp!) and someone who was described as “making a fist with his toes” which almost had me throwing the book across the room in frustration!
All the literary annoyances aside, I couldn’t really get on-board with the storyline either. It starts with “Aector” being unable to leave a cold case behind and telling his wife, in-depth, all about a missing girl. It then gets very confusing with so many characters coming and going, so many (seemingly unrelated) accidents, gangsters, ex-convicts and police politics, it was hard to follow at times. Even when I finally got to the conclusion it was completely underwhelming.
As I say, this is the 5th in the series and there are plenty of fans of Mark’s books. I’m afraid I am just not one of them.