Flesh and Blood

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Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 05 Jun 2023

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Killer secrets. Killer crimes - the unmissable new DS McAvoy thriller from the Sunday Times best-selling, Kindle chart-topping author

"McAvoy is a true original" Mick Herron

DS Aector McAvoy is on a well-deserved family holiday when the news reaches him that he's been attacked and left for dead on one of Hull's most well-to-do streets.

It comes as something of a shock. But not as much as the discovery of who's really been attacked - and his growing realization it's no coincidence he's far from home, in an isolated, rural campsite, on today of all days.

McAvoy's superior officer - and best friend - DS Trish Pharaoh has been keeping secrets. Secrets that are catching up with her.

Secrets that could kill them all . . .

David Mark brings Hull to dark, brutal life in this gripping novel in the critically acclaimed DS McAvoy series - a perfect pick for fans of Denise Mina, Val McDermid and Peter Robinson.

Killer secrets. Killer crimes - the unmissable new DS McAvoy thriller from the Sunday Times best-selling, Kindle chart-topping author

"McAvoy is a true original" Mick Herron

DS Aector McAvoy is on a...

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ISBN 9781448309375
PRICE $29.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 94 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
DS Aector McAvoy, while on a lovely vacation with his beloved family, finds out he has been mortally wounded in Dundee. Apparently a doppelganger, who was in his boss Trish Pharao's apartment, was attacked. Determined to help her, he regretfully leaves to see if he can figure out what's going on.
Secrets from Trish' past rear their ugly heads as a seriously evil phantom is determined to put that past to rights.
Beautifully written, this edge-of-seat read is another great book by Mr. Mark..definitely recommended!

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This book written by a talented author is intriguing. The mystery is not easily solved. The characters are realistic and have so many secrets. Red herrings kept me guessing. This book was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review. Thanks to the publisher and author. This is a cannot put down story that is captivating at times and scary at others. Enjoy

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Why give five stars to such an absolutely gruesome story, in which not even Trish Pharaoh and Aector MacAvoy seem to be the characters fans of this series could relate to?
Maybe it's me, but underneath all murders, secrets, pain and fear its clear that this story shows us more of the backgrounds of our two main characters.
Who could have thought that Trish kept such secrets all the time she worked so closely with Aector, especially when her biggest secret is something that she's not even aware of?
Needless to say that the police force, faced with finding out who is behind the vicious attacks on Trish and Aector, are not really very useful this time. Luckily, they are useful when it comes to actually help out when armed forces are needed.
I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series, maybe more than ever, because Flesh and Blood marks a turning point in the ongoing story.

Thanks to Netgalley and Severn House for this review copy.

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Well written with a host of believable characters.

Gruesome in parts, but you cannot stop reading this. Characters with red herrings galore.

Not one to read with the light out, unless you like to be scared.

Well done David Mark. A new author to follow.

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I have read every one of the books featuring Aector, Trish and their third, Roisin. I was captivated from the first.
Of all of them I found this book the most scary and horrible. I feared for their lives. Knowing the guy thought responsible was jailed did not help. His acolytes knew Trish's life inside out.
Everyone she had ever been involved with was at risk and her attempts to protect them fell at every turn.
The denouement surprised me. It was extremely well crafted. As always I had been so involved, invested, in the book that I wondered if the loss of lives was worth it.
Then I reminded myself it was 'just' a story. The pull of David Mark's writing and the pictures in my mind of his characters makes it all so real.
I wonder what happens next?

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A thoroughly enjoyable thriller in the style of a police procedural whodunit.
Easy to read from the get go and an excellent, engaging pace, this was a very satisfying use of my time.

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A strong story with some grizzly bit.
At first I was getting a bit disenchanted with this book, not quite sure where it was going, and put off b some exceedingly long paragraphs ( a pet had of mine). Then it all started to come together for me, and I couldn't wait to turn the pages.
The main characters almost all have a dark side and the conflicts they have to deal with are explored by the the author in detail. It's a tale of revenge and retribution, with people being called to account for real and perceived sins of the past. .
The book reaches a thunderous climax.
Sensitive readers should be aware that there is some gratuitous violence and explicit sexual scenes.
Overall, a very good book..

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I loved this book! It has all the twists and turns in it, it’s a good thriller and murder mystery! I’ve never read any books written by the author but after reading this book I’m interested in reading others written by him

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This is book number eleven in the series, so a quick heads-up for new readers.
Time: the present
Place: Humberside
Main characters: Detective Inspector (recently promoted from DS) Aector McAvoy. He is a Scot, huge and bear-like, a gentle soul but a formidable copper. His wife Roisin; she is of Irish Gypsy stock, romantic but fiercely protective of Aector and their children - Fin and Lilah. Detective Superintendent Patricia 'Trish' Pharoah, thirty years in the force, and as tough as nails. Trish and Aector worship each other, but it is a purely platonic relationship. McAvoy is on holiday with his family in the Lake District, living in a traditional Romany Vardo.
In this book: Reuben Hollow, a serial killer, serving several life sentences for murdering people he judged as having escaped justice. He was captured by McAvoy. Detective Chief Superintendent George Earl. Promoted because Trish Pharoah turned down the job. Earl is the very model of a modern media friendly senior police officer:

Trish is not immune to the pleasures of the flesh, and she is in bed with an Icelandic copper she met on a course. Their post coital bliss is disturbed by Trish's car alarm going off, and Thor Ingolfsson runs downstairs to investigate. He is attacked with an adze and left for dead. Thor happens to be a dead ringer for Aector, and when the local police arrive to find the man face down in the road, they put two and two together, and make seventeen. Aector is very much alive and well, however and, despite being told to stay well away by Earl, he is determined to find out what is going on. David Mark's description of Earl will ring horribly true to anyone who has experienced senior management in corporate services in recent years:

"George Earl is a tall, slim, straight-backed careerist who exudes the gentle earnestness and Anglican-priest sincerity of a Tony Blair. He has a habit of clasping his hands together when he talks, and makes a great show of telling his staff that his door is always open, and there's no such thing as a stupid question."

David Mark spent years as a crime reporter for a regional newspaper, and so he is well aware of the depths of villainy which are regularly plumbed by apparently ordinary and innocuous men and women. He also knows that - despite graduate entry - some of the people who are accepted as police officers are not "the brightest and best of the sons of the morning." (Activists - please feel free to substitute the gender of your choice)

"The three uniformed constables milling around at the rear....he's noticed that none of them seem to be able to breathe through their nose. All in their twenties and look as though they would be more comfortable working in a phone shop or flogging gloriously chavtastic trainers in a sports shop."

What follows is pure mayhem. A former police colleague of Trish Pharoah meets an elaborate death by wood-carving chisels, McAvoy narrowly escapes death by hanging, in an execution house probably last used by Albert Pierrepoint, the chaos of Trish Pharoah's previous life is laid bare to the world, and our man emerges - not unscathed - but able to fight another day.

Flesh and Blood veers violently between the darkest noir imaginable and a simple - but affecting - poetry. It is published by Severn House and will be available on 6th June. The final sentence sums up this brilliant series:

"And inside McAvoy's head, another voice joins the chorus of the dead."

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David Mark is a new author to me and I'm sure I'll be reading more of his.
Aector and Trish are in trouble. Two very interesting characters, with intriguing pasts and alternative private lives. Trish is in trouble, both professionally and personally. And Aector leaves his family holiday to help her, putting himself in danger too.
It was a complicated plot, where the character of the perpetrator is never really revealed in full, just a shadowy background figure.
My only disappointment is that it stretches imagination when the characters are stabbed, hung, beaten by a gang and yet can seem to carry on, investigating and performing their duties.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of Flesh and Blood, the eleventh novel to feature DI Aector McAvoy of Humberside Police.

Aector is on holiday with his family when he learns that he has been attacked and left for dead. It’s not him, but he is shocked when he realises who it is and who else is involved. DSupt Trish Pharaoh and her secrets are at the heart of it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Flesh and Blood, which is a well told tale of revenge and manipulation with a few twists to keep it interesting. Seriously, it doesn’t need the twists to be interesting because the plot is suitably complex to keep the reader turning the pages, but it is also extremely violent, more so than usual, and I found myself squirming at times, not just at the physical but at the psychological cruelty that accompanies it.

The novel is told from various points of view and that makes it a choppy read, but it also makes it intriguing. Where do all the characters fit in? Why is Trish Pharaoh being targeted? Who is behind it all? The answers lie in her past and someone’s appropriation of it for their own ends. It’s bewildering at first, not just for the reader, but for Aector as well, stuck as he is away from the action in Derbyshire. It’s well done.

This is not a police procedural like the previous novels. Aector and Trish are more the hunted than the hunters, so it’s not always a pleasant read if you’re like me and identify with the characters. I had to put the book down a few times when the tension and stress got to me, which I take as a sign of good writing that I got so invested. This investment was slightly dented, however, by the end of the novel. Everything is explained, but not everything is resolved. I chuckled at one resolution, gnashed my teeth at another and dropped my jaw at Trish’s perspicacity and many secrets.

Flesh and Blood is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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Book 11/12 in the Aector McAvoy series by the supremely talented David Mark is possibly one of the most macabre and darkest in the series yet, I’m a reader of the full series and this just feels different from the rest. Is David Mark trying something new?

It feels like a book that you really need to have read the rest, to appreciate the significance of Trish Pharoah and her relationship with Aector.

It’s grim, gruesome, somewhat slow moving and as ever, it’s beautifully written. It’s by no means my favourite. I’m not sure how many books are left for poor suffering Aector, it feels like he needs a rest.

David Mark is a unique writer with a similarly unique protagonist, both he’ and Aector are very different from the rest of the crowded crime thriller market which makes me return again and again.

Intense, gritty, darkly powerful writing, it’s not for the feint of heart but it is very good.

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DS Mc Avoy is on holiday in the Lake District with his family when he receives a call that his boss, Trish, is missing. This is a complex, twisted plot in the series and it hooked me in from the start with it's complexity. The characterisation is clever and interesting, it's action packed and has a fantastic ending. What's not to like in this strong story by David Mark? I highly recommend this series to lovers of thrillers and police procedurals, it's one of the best around in the genre. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.

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I had not realised that this book was the latest in a long series and not having read the previous books it took a little while to become acquainted with the various characters.
The title is very apt as there is plenty of blood and gore at times and it was quite a dark read, not for the faint hearted.
This book is well written with a complex plot and plenty of action and suspense. A good example of this genre.

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I loved this! I couldn't read it quick enough as I needed to know what happened next. I haven't read any other DS McAvoy books but didn't feel that I was missing out on anything as the book was amazing on its own. A great storyline that had me gripped.

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This is the first book I have read by David Mark and I really enjoyed it. I am happy I have found a new series to enjoy.
At first I found the book confusing but that's intentional by the author. It made me concentrate and follow the action. I was gripped following the paths of the characters and unraveling the connections.

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Really enjoyed this book, especially because it was set in my city of Hull.
The characters were down to Earth and true to life, Trish and Aector were great, not perfect with many a fault and flaw and I’d love to read more about them and their adventures.
Good solid story that had you guessing whodunnit and a reasonable pace throughout.

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Present day murder mystery with the atmosphere of a gothic horror; a tangled story encompassing domestic abuse by both adults and children; the mental scarring and the far reaching consequences meeting with actual, pure evil. Two detectives, partners but also close friends become unwittingly embroiled in the plan of a narcissistic murderer. Factor in career driven mysogeny within the force and there is a recipe for murder and mayhem.

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Flesh and Blood, a dark, gritty police procedural, begins with a horrific scene. A woman is in bed with her lover when a car alarm disturbs them. He dresses hurriedly, runs out to confront the would-be thief and is tased and hacked to near death with an ax. The woman is DI Trish Pharoah and her lover, an Icelandic policeman, is a double to DI Aector McAvoy. So who was the intended victim? And why? There are many answers here, all involving inner secrets, some hidden pasts and some not so hidden. The mystery is told in different voices, alternating between past and present.

David Mark is a skillful writer, his characters are realistic but the plot is complicated. I did not know that this is the eleventh in a series. That made it difficult for me, a first time reader, to understand background. Thank you to reviewer David P. For providing a helpful heads up for new readers. 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Severn House and David Mark for this ARC.

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So although this is from a series by the same author I didn't find that I needed to know the history of the characters involved as there was sufficient background information provided throughout.
This is a very dark thriller with an unknown perpetrator of violence towards various persons associated with the main character Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh and a prior investigation. There are many threads to this story however they are not in any way confusing and thankfully there are several twists as it reaches the conclusion. A very gripping thriller which is worth reading even if, like me, you're not familiar with past stories.

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DS McAvoy is on holiday in an isolated rural location with his family. Trish has made him take a break, even booked the holiday for him.
Meanwhile back home, his double is attacked leaving Trish's house. So starts a long and complex tale of revenge and petty gripes. Not all is what it seems, but it all appears to come back to the murderer Rueben Hollow.
When Trish disappears after the attack, it appears that the powers that be don't want to look for her too hard.
There are so many agendas at stake, you do wonder how the police force actually investigates crimes at times.
I hadn't read any of this series before, but really enjoyed it and will read more.

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Gritty, gripping and well plotted. Another well plotted, dark and twisty novel in this series.
I enjoyed it and couldn't put it down.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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Regular readers will know that I am a fan of David Mark’s writing and though I was late to his police procedural series with Aector McAvoy and Trish Pharaoh as the crime fighting duo, I honestly think it is one of my favourites.

Flesh and Blood is less of a police procedural and more of a serial killer on a revenge trail. I recently read Lars Kepler’s The Spider and this has the same vibe, but I enjoyed this more. In part that’s the allegiance to these characters and in part due to the wonderful quality of the writing which veers from dark and intense to blissfully poetic with flashes of terrific humour running through the narrative.

Aector is a big, red headed bear of a man (albeit going a little grey now). He adores his wife Roisin and their two kids and he pretty much idolises his boss, Trish Pharaoh. He has the soul of a poet, while Trish is a busty 5’0 and smart as a whip. She’s turned down the top job, preferring to say in charge of her unit. But in doing so, she has left a path free for the corporate mannequin, Detective Chief Superintendent George Earl. He’s the kind of policeman who always looks perfectly groomed and is constantly concerned with managing upwards. Jargon flows from him like a waterfall into a pool and he is a misogynist with a penchant for coercive control. Trish is a thorn on his flesh because he was second choice to a woman and her very presence rubs that in his face every day.

In Flesh and Blood Trish is in bed with her Icelandic policeman lover, Thor – a man who bears rather an uncanny physical appearance to Aector – when her car alarm goes off. Thor gallantly goes to investigate only to be struck down viciously in the street.

Aector is on leave, staying off grid in a Romany Vardo with Roisin and his kids when he’s called to hear about his own death. Thor was at first mistaken for Aector and not only that, but Trish has fled the scene.

Flesh and Blood is a fast paced read that is genuinely edge of the seat. I loved the return of serial killer Reuben Hollow whom we first met in Dead Pretty (#5). He is a clever, deeply charismatic man whom Aector caught. A true crime podcast is currently looking at the life and convictions of Reuben Hollow who still has many women writing to him.

As Trish’s former mentor is also brutally murdered, she is frantically trying to piece together the clues from what she knows – but one thing is clear – her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

With both Trish and inevitably Aector in very real danger, David Mark cleverly brings together the threads of this gruesome spider’s web and in the process some very bad people will be unmasked.

It’s beautifully done and I really enjoyed it. Great characters, fantastic writing and a plot that held me gripped for hours. A five star read for me.

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Humberside detective DS Aector McAvoy is on holiday in a remote location when news reaches him that he has been left for dead. This comes as something of a surprise to him. As more information emerges, it becomes clear that there has been a vicious assault back in Hull, and that the victim is connected to his boss and close friend, Det Supt Trish Pharoah.

Pharoah is a forthright, abrasive character with a difficult history who is much admired by her team (who are constantly raving about how brilliant she is, although I felt there was more telling than showing of this quality in Flesh and Blood). McAvoy is a thoughtful family man who likes poetry. They complement each other brilliantly, although in this instalment, they are mostly working separately.

As a witness, Pharoah is told not to leave the scene, but she slips away from her colleagues and pursues a number of leads that place her further in jeopardy. Meanwhile McAvoy becomes embroiled in adventures of his own at his supposedly isolated hideaway and is inevitably drawn into the investigation. Flesh and Blood also features a charismatic serial killer and a true-crime podcast. The many strands are cleverly woven to make for a satisfying and complex story.

David Mark is a new name to me (in fact it was a NetGalley marketing email that introduced me to his work). However I did read Past Life, another in this series, immediately before reading Flesh and Blood, and it also had a plot which involved the personal lives of the detectives – in that case McAvoy and his wife, Roisin. Perhaps that’s unfortunate because I felt like the two books together turned too far inwards on the protagonists, their backstories, and their relationships. A glance at the blurbs of the other books in the series suggests this isn’t always the case.

However, I did enjoy Flesh and Blood on its own terms. There’s a lot to appreciate in Mark’s writing. The prose and the characterisation are brilliant, and the world he creates is distinctive. There’s a dark theatricality to the storytelling which reminds me of Stuart MacBride – both writers are able to take you beyond realism and immerse you in their unique twisted vision. I will certainly read more in this series, but will perhaps choose a novel that goes beyond the psychodramas of the protagonists.
I received a copy of Flesh and Blood from the publisher via NetGalley.

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It's something of a surprise to find that you're dead, particularly when you're thinking that you're actually on a break with your wife and children, but that's what happened to DS Aector McAvoy. Whilst he was relieved to find that he was still, officially, alive, it was difficult for Detective Superintendent Trish Pharoah. Her protegee - McAvoy - was still alive but the partially clad man who'd dashed from her flat in the early hours of the morning when it was obvious that someone was tampering with her car, was not. Thor Ingolfsson was Aector McAvoy's doppelganger - and not everyone who commented on this was doing so kindly. It had always been suspected that Pharoah was sweet on Aector.

Aector now has to worry about whether or not he was the intended target of the attack. Who goes that heavily armed if you're just going to nick a car? Trish has shown that she doesn't want Aector to return home: is she hiding something - or is she worried for his safety? Trish is obviously going to be suspected of being involved in Ingolfsson's death but she has no intention of handing herself over. She needs to find out what's going on - and why. She turns to Tom Spink, her old mentor. His wife, Gillian, has been in and out of respite care for a while but someone has got to Tom Spink before Pharoah.

It's edge-of-your-seat stuff - and (in places) more than a little bit gory. In fact, for me, it was a bit too gory but then I'm a wuss about such things. The writing's good and the plotting is well done, though and it makes for an exciting, engaging read. I thought the concept was a little far-fetched this time around but if you're deeply involved in Aector and Roisin's world you'll probably love it.

I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

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‘The figure who stands above him is familiar.’

DS Aector McAvoy is on a family holiday in a remote location within the UK. He is contacted when colleagues fear that he was attacked and left for dead in Hull. Was the man who was attacked thought to be McAvoy? They were similar in build. And just to complicate matters, the man was attacked outside DS Trish Pharaoh’s home. There are plenty of questions, and few answers. Detective Chief Superintendent George Earl, promoted after Trish Pharaoh turned down promotion, is very keen to find out what has happened and why.

Reuben Hollow, a serial killer arrested by McAvoy and serving multiple life sentences for murders of those he believed somehow escaped justice, may have some of the answers. Pharaoh has some very deep secrets and both she and McAvoy are in danger.

This is the 11th book in the McAvoy series, and Mr Mark has delivered a complex, twisted story of revenge and retribution. While I struggled at times to believe that Pharaoh had so many secrets and had kept them so well, the story held my attention from beginning to end. And of course, the sharks are circling. There are several people who would like to destroy Pharaoh and who don’t much care of there is any collateral damage. Dark, gruesome and full of twists.

‘But McAvoy can’t help but feel there’s always hell to pay – it’s just a question of which creditor is most to fear.’

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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This is the first of David's books I've had the pleasure of reading. My only regret is that it took me so long to find such a talented author. The writing is really descriptive and., at times quite gory and disturbing. I loved Pharaoh and McAvoy. At times, the references to past events meant I would have benefitted from reading earlier books first but this still works well as a stand-alone novel. I'm now going to go back and read more of David's work. Highly recommended.

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It took me quite a while to get into this book, in the beginning it appeared to jump about , perhaps it would have helped if I had read the previous books in the series to get to know the characters and their stories but this was my first book by David Mark.
It was a little dark and not for the faint hearted but having said that, once I got into the story and the complex characters, I couldn't put it down.
D S Trish Pharaoh was having a night of passion with her Icelandic love interest, was it a coincidence that he was a doppelganger for her happily married partner, D I Aector McAvoy ?
Aector McAvoy was taking a much needed break with his savvy, traveller wife and two young children, they were in a vardos way off the beaten track. The family's peace was shattered when Aector received a frantic phone call from one of his colleagues, checking that he was still alive, someone had been brutally attacked outside his partner Trish's home, someone who looked just like him.
As this complex story unfolds, it covers unrequited love, , a psychotic serial killer serving four life sentences, brutal murders that all had his MO but how ? corruption and greed for power in the police force.
This is a well written story, action packed, suspense filled and with a very convoluted plot.
I received a free copy of this book and my review is voluntary

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Flesh and Blood, David Mark

I struggled to get into this book initially. I wonder if this is because it is the first I have read involving Trish Pharaoh and Aector MacAvoy and I understand that there are quite a number of previous books which will enable you to get a feel for the relationship dynamics.

However, I soon became engrossed and enjoyed the storyline.

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for a copy of this book, I rate it 4 stars.

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The saying '' Everyone has a double out there is certainly true in the case of Aector McAvoy, at home with his wife and children enjoying a well earned rest he is shocked to hear that he has been attacked and left for dead.... The Doppelganger was even staying at his bosses home at the time.. Secrets and lies aplenty and secrets that could actually cause his death are revealed

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'It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near, and their doom rushes upon them.’

 The book "Flesh and Blood" consists of three parts. The first half of the book was boring for me. The second half was more interesting. I had an emotional shock because I did not expect this turn of events. I can say that I liked the atmosphere of this book. I met a serial killer here who preyed on naughty men who hurt women. Would you like to have such an avenging angel by your side? Of course, I wouldn't want anything to do with such a person. He's a very toxic character. If it wasn't for the boring beginning, I'd say it was a fantastic read. But when you add the first half and the second half together, you just get a good novel. Still, I'd love to read other stories by David Mark.

 I met both good and bad characters in this book. I met, among others, Detective Inspector Aector McAvoy, Tom Spink and Trish Pharaoh. I was very afraid for their lives. I enjoyed the dangerous work of our detective. Will his family holiday be successful? What is Trish hiding from Acetor? Pandora's Box will be opened. What will come of it? Hidden secrets can kill everyone. What happened in the past that now our heroes' lives are in danger?

 Knowing the ending of the whole story makes me understand the whole boring beginning better.

 "Flesh and Blood" is a very dark thriller. I was very scared in places. The ending is a veritable Armageddon of emotions.

 If you like thrillers where there are corpses and blood, you've come to the right place. It's a chilling story.

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The latest David Mark book, thanks to NetGalley for an advance readers copy.
I've enjoyed all off the D S McAvoy series set in Hull. They are a little dark, but the stories flow well and the characters and relationships work . This was one of my favourites I think.
In this novel McAvoy is on holiday when need of a death reaches him. There's is confusion at first as to whether he is in fact the victim. His boss Trish is at the centre of the events in this story and her emotions are well described and imagined.
The story unwinds and previous villains appear. There's are lots of twists and turns and I found myself gripped by the story and looking forward to the next. Highly recommended.

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I like this series and this one didn’t disappoint.

Well written and fast thriller, if you like police procedurals you’ll like this one.

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