Past Life (DS Aector McAvoy #9) by David Mark

‘She wakes with a yell, jerking upright and swinging madly at the air.’

In the Sunk Island area of Hull in East Yorkshire, a middle-aged clairvoyant is found dead, her tongue carved out, a shard of crystal buried deep within her ribcage. The gruesome scene reminds DS Aector McAvoy of a case twelve years earlier, a similarly gruesome case in which Roisin (now his wife) was a witness. DS McAvoy thought the killer involved in that murder was dead, but if he is not then McAvoy’s family is in danger.

Twelve years earlier, because of a feud between two Irish traveller families, Roisin’s aunt was killed. Recently, Roisin has been unsettled and Aector McAvoy is worried about her. But he needs to work with his supervisor DS Trish Pharaoh to try to solve this case and tries to push his family concerns out of his mind.

Brutal murders, blood feuds, bleak landscapes, and complex characters each have a place to play as the story unfolds. The past threatens to overwhelm the McAvoys and their children Fin and Lilah are in danger. Some secrets are dangerous.

 While I have read several Mr Mark’s recent standalone novels, this is the first book I have read in the DS Aector McAvoy series. I enjoyed this novel and I now want to read the earlier novels in the series, to explore the past.

A very dark read, with a few twists and surprises. A couple of aspects left me wondering but I really enjoyed the journey.

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