January 28

Dead Pretty – David Mark

Dead PrettyHannah 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…


My thanks to Mulholland Books for my review copy which I received through Netgalley


DS Aector McAvoy returns for a fifth outing in David Mark’s new novel Dead Pretty. I will ‘fess up from the start, I have not read the first four books so I come to the series with no awareness of what has gone before. In turn this lets me consider Dead Pretty entirely on its own merit (and I like when I can do that).

My initial impression was that Aector McAvoy is nice. Really, really nice – everyone seems to like him, he gets emotionally involved in his cases, blushes easily and wants to do the right thing. An interesting and welcome change from the ‘flawed’ characters I expect to read about in crime stories.

Contrasting McAvoy is his boss Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh. She struck me as much more rough and ready, willing to do whatever was required to get the task in hand completed and more…flawed. I don’t know how the dynamic between the two normally plays out but I did feel that for large parts of Dead Pretty Pharaoh was much more in the limelight than McAvoy.

Pharaoh’s prominence is very much integral to the investigations underway in Dead Pretty.  To explain why would require plot spoilers (and you do not get those here) but suffice to say I enjoyed Pharaoh’s fights, dilemmas and crisis moments as they sprang up through the book.

Central to the story is the investigation into Ava Delaney’s murder and McAvoy’s ongoing obsession with tracking down missing girl Hannah Kelly. Pharaoh has her own problems, a man that was integral in imprisoning has had his conviction overturned and is back on the streets and their paths are going to cross – Pharaoh will make sure of that!

David Mark sets a scene in magnificent detail, he has a very descriptive style and I did feel myself drawn into the story – easily imagining a cottage in the woods, a horse walking down a county lane, a family home under threat from <Spoilers>.  When the surroundings are jumping off the page so vividly I cannot help but love that reading experience.

What I really liked about Dead Pretty is that is very dark in places and this is slightly disconcerting when the author is so good at describing a scene! I always favour a crime thriller that is not afraid to shirk from the gritty details and Dead Pretty ensured McAvoy and Pharaoh faced down the horrors as I hoped they would.

David Mark


Dead Pretty is published by Mulholland Books and is available in Hardback and digital format from 28 January 2016.  You can get a copy here

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Posted January 28, 2016 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf