Dead Pretty by David Mark – 4*s

Dead Pretty


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…



The 5th outing for Hull based, DS Aector McAvoy and this series just keeps getting better and better. If you haven’t read any before, this could be read as a stand alone, but I strongly recommend you go back and savour the series from the beginning. There are some spoilers in this one, but essentially it’s watching McAvoy and his relationships develop that are a joy, as well as the definitely dark and gritty plots that don’t fail to get the adrenalin flowing.

McAvoy is a gentle giant, with an empathy that is often lacking in the hardened, seen it all world of policing. Moreover his wife Roisin, a feature character in her own right, is not what you’d expect either. Both Roisin and his boss, the harder, wisecracking, Trish Pharoah are perfect foils for McAvoy, and both bring out his protective side.

In this outing we find McAvoy haunted by the unsolved case of a missing teenager, a case which is brought back into focus with the discovery of another young girl. While this thread runs throughout the book, as ever there are complications that impinge on what he thinks he is investigating.

We also get to see more of Trish Pharoah and her personal life which helps to explain the “face” she normally presents to the world. Although the face she is presenting for much of the plotline here is one that brings into question whether she is the woman McAvoy, and for that matter the readers thought she was.

Much of McAvoy’s motivation comes from seeking justice for his victims and their families, so it is interesting that one of the plot lines involves a vigilante doing just that. This blurs the lines as to whether the end justifies the means as their ‘hero’ becomes linked with other aspects of their case. With murder, psychopathic debt collectors and sexual deviancy, this is not a book for the faint hearted, as it can get a little graphic.

If you like police procedurals that have a dark, gritty realism, with engaging characters and unexpected plot lines then this book is for you.

I received a review copy from the publisher via Bookbloggr in return for an honest review.


  1. I saw the author at an event a few years ago and liked the sound of his first book so bought it and got it signed. Still haven’t read it……..!


    • His books are great Nicola and McAvoy is a great character. I read the first one because it was set in Hull (my hometown) and I’ve been hooked since. Bump it up you’re tbr pile.


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