Today I’m more than a little bit pleased to be introducing David Mark to Five on Friday. I first discovered David’s books when I heard that they were set in Hull (my hometown). Having read the first, I was hooked, not only on the storytelling but also on the brilliant characters, especially Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy. Happily for those yet to meet either David or Aector, there’s plenty more to sink your teeth into.
David spent more than fifteen years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with the Yorkshire Post – walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels.
He has written seven novels in the McAvoy series: Dark Winter, Original Skin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity, Dead Pretty, Cruel Mercy, and Scorched Earth as well as two McAvoy ebook short stories, A Bad Death and Fire of Lies. Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. In 2018 it was adapted for the stage at the Hull Truck Theatre and had a sellout debut run. A new McAvoy novel Cold Bones is due in January 2019.
David has also written The Zealot’s Bones, a historical crime novel published under the name D.M. Mark.
He lives in the north of England with his family.
So over to David:-
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
You do realise that a question like that could drive a person to insanity, don’t you?! Five? My life has been almost as much about music as it has been about writing so the idea of whittling it down… Ooh, you’re a terrible person. Righto.
We’ll need a trad-jazz number because my beloved Grandad Billy was a jazz musician who played the saxophone and clarinet and was very well known in the North as a real talent, and most of my childhood seemed to resound to the sound of brushes on a snare, double bass and cool brass. He was a big inspiration to me, and I wish I was half as good at the saxophone as he was. Shall we say Basin Street Blues?
We’ll need something classical, for balance, as I can only really listen to classical or Romantic music while I write, as otherwise I get distracted by the words. The Well Tempered Clavier by J S Bach is musical perfection though I will admit to being considerably more stirred by later composers in general.
We’ll need something by U2, because they’re the greatest band in history and I want to be Bono and I don’t care what that says about me. Maybe The Unforgettable Fire.
We need something indicative of my era as well. I’m 40, so came of age at Britpop time. I’m no stranger to a tracksuit top and a pair of Adidas Gazelles. I was more Oasis than Blur but on balance I liked Pulp best of all. Saying that, my tastes were never very mainstream, so we’ll go with Fun for Me by Moloko, because they were always trying new sounds and experimenting and the lead singer was so damn cool. She was also called Roisin, and I honour her in the McAvoy books. She’s Aector’s delightful partner.
Fifth tune in my life soundtrack would have to be something to play over the montage of rejections and failures that make up the life of the writer. In the move I picture myself sinking deeper into a whisky glass and slowly being devoured by a chesterfield armchair. So for that we need something soulful and bleak and written on the black keys. Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor could persuade a clown to kill themselves and always feels like the beginning of an Inspector More episode. So, that.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
This one is easier. I’m not that sentimental, although if you saw the amount of stuff we brought with us in a recent house move, you’d find that statement hard to swallow.
I’d be devastated to lose my Grandad Joe’s poems. He was a gruff Northerner and worked as a plumber for the council but in his spare time he wrote lovely, gentle, lyrical verse about the family and people he met. He had a great imagination but he was of a generation that kept that stuff to themselves.
I wouldn’t want to lose my Grandad Billy’s old instruments either.
I’d struggle to live without my sturdy old computer because I am a technical Luddite and wouldn’t know how to get the information off this one onto another one, and when people talk about stuff being stored in the clouds I presume they’re just being ridiculous.
I couldn’t live without tea, that’s for certain, though I used to think I couldn’t live without whisky, only to successfully give it up on the advice of doctors, family, friends, publishers, and the lovely Icelandic writer Yrsa Siggursdottir, with whom my fiancée and I spent a drunken New Year. I dropped her elderly pug while in drink and we all took that as a symbol from the cosmos that my drinking days were over.
I’m not sure after that. My spectacles? Medication? Heinz canned goods? It wouldn’t be my mobile phone – I hate the damned things.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
I could, but I know full well that the arrogant prick wouldn’t listen to me. He’d be too busy wallowing in bile and resentment and whingeing on about the cards he has been dealt in life, rather than rolling his sleeves up and getting on with it. Damn him, with his good skin and his lovely hair and his absence of gastro-oesophigal discomfort.
But, deaf ears notwithstanding, I’d tell him not to focus too much on changing the system, but to get better at succeeding within it.
I’d tell him to have a stab at acting and stand-up comedy before he got round and wrinkly.
I’d tell him not to be too deferential to those London types in the silk ties and the skinny chai lattes who act like they know it all but are all just scrabbling about in the dark like the rest of us.
And I’d probably tell him to pop to America and garrote Trump before he can become a problem.
I wouldn’t tell him to relax, or calm down. Fire and brimstone has got us where we are.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
Oh God. Erm,
I play saxophone.
I was a dreadful journalist for a long time and a good one for about three days in total.
I am rarely happier than browsing shelves in charity shops looking for obscure books that might spark off an idea.
I like really random sandwich fillings, like cold sausages and jam.
I once punched a horse.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Travel is a major part of it. I want to see everywhere, but the trouble with holidays is that wherever one goes, one is encumbered by the fact that one’s own personality has come along for the journey. And I find myself very tiresome company.
But, nevertheless, I want to get ridiculously stoned in a cabin in the woods where they filmed On Golden Pond.
I’d like to throw a hatchet into a dart board.
I want to walk naked through a car wash.
I’d like to punch Michael Gove in the face.
And marry my enchanting fiancée, obviously, though I want to do so while wearing a suit of armour with a hinged codpiece. Just the normal stuff, really.
Thanks for taking part David, and for being so open. I suspect under the bluff, self-deprecating Northern exterior, there is a more sensitive soul – you gave us McAvoy after all. I don’t think many others will be competing with you to walk naked through a car wash, but who knows – you might inspire a trend. I doubt the same can be said re Michael Gove, join the queue for that one!
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Detective McAvoy investigates a murder and a missing person case in this dark and compelling thriller, for fans of Stuart MacBride and Peter May.
The police think Crystal Heathers isn’t missing.
The trainee detective assigned to the case isn’t so sure.
McAvoy thinks someone was being held at the derelict building where they just found a body pinned to the wall…and that all the signs point to it being a little girl.
But why would anyone not report a kidnapping?
And how far would someone go to get revenge?
The case will test McAvoy to breaking point – as the crimes of the present lead him to a final violent confrontation with an enemy from his own past.
DS Aector McAvoy’s brother-in-law Valentine is missing.
In New York City, half the world away.
And the two men he travelled with have just been found in an open grave upstate: one dead, one as good as.
McAvoy doesn’t believe Valentine killed them. He does believe he’s in trouble. And so he follows him to New York, determined to find out what happened.
But Valentine is in more danger than McAvoy could have imagined.
And McAvoy’s walking into it right after him: into the darkness of murder, revenge, and a forty-year-old crime…
Dead Pretty (McAvoy 5) – see my review here
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…
DS Aector McAvoy’s family is in hiding. He has lost his way.
His boss Trish Pharaoh gives him a distraction in the form of an old case. The Winn family was killed forty years ago: were the police right about who pulled the trigger?
But McAvoy’s enemies – the ruthless criminal organisation known as the Headhunters – are pitiless. They plan to take everything from those that stand in their way.
And his cold case is strangely linked with the fire that’s about to rain down on Hull…
When McAvoy confronts the worst of killers and sinners, not everyone will escape unscathed.
Sorrow Bound (McAvoy 3) see my review here
Philippa Longman did what we all aim to do. She did the right thing.
She’s about to pay for it with her life…
DS McAvoy has spent his career playing by the rules. He has the scars to show for it.
And his latest case will take him into a world in which good intentions make no difference to those with a thirst for revenge… Where ruthless killers go to any lengths to get their way… And where the most powerful thing anyone can do is stand firm against the darkness.
Suzie Devlin lived for pleasure – until her best friend Simon was murdered. Now Suzie seems to be in the killer’s sights…
Who wants her dead? And why? She’s done nothing wrong… except, perhaps, get involved with the wrong person.
DS Aector McAvoy has been a marked man all his life. He knows how one misstep can put you in harm’s way. He’s determined to protect Suzie, even if it means inviting danger to come to him…
In a dark world of sin and retribution, he will stand against a killer to save a life.
DS Aector McAvoy is a man with a troubled past. His unwavering belief in justice has made him an outsider in the police force he serves, a good man among the lazy and corrupt.
Then on a cold day in December he is the first cop on the scene when a young girl is killed in Hull’s historic church – and the only one to see the murderer. A masked man, with tears in his eyes…
When two more seemingly unconnected people die, the police must work quickly. Only McAvoy can see the connection between the victims. A killer is playing God – and McAvoy must find a way to stop the deadly game.
Writing as D M Mark
Hull, 1849: a city in the grip of a cholera outbreak that sees its poorest citizens cut down by the cartload.
Into this world of flame and grief comes former soldier Meshach Stone. He’s been hired as bodyguard by an academic hunting for the bones of the apostle Simon the Zealot, rumoured to lie somewhere in Lincolnshire.
Stone can’t see why ancient bones are of interest in a world full of them. Then a woman he briefly loved is killed. As he investigates, he realizes that she is one of many… and that some deaths cry out for vengeance.