Halloween Takeover: David Mark
David Mark chooses his five favourite books for Halloween
Posted on October 25, 2018 in Author Recommendations
In the lead up to Halloween, we asked some of our favourite authors to recommend the most frightening and unnerving books they’ve read. Take a look and tell us if you’ve dared to read any of these chilling stories.
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 eight novels in the McAvoy series and his first book, Dark Winter, was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. David has also written The Zealot’s Bones, a historical crime novel published under the name D.M. Mark. Cold Bones is the eight DS McAvoy novel and is published in January 2019.
It’s probably better for a freezing Winter’s night than a cosy Autumn evening, but I can’t leave this ghost story out – because it’s brilliant. Think M R James, then transplant it to the bleak, black Arctic tundra, circa 1937. Paver controls the pace perfectly and when the moments of high tension come, anybody who enters your reading space may well find themselves being greeted with a shriek. It’s genuinely scary. Don’t read it in the bath – some of the shocks will cause you to drop your copy.
If you haven’t read it, for goodness’ sake sort your priorities out. Even if you’re reading something by me, put it down and pick this up. If you want to know how it feels to stand on a cliff, staring down into the lamp-jewelled blackness while being torn apart by gales and rain and the faceless terrors that pluck at your hair, this really is the place to find out. Of course, you might want to ask what that says about you …
There’s creepy, there’s spooky, and then there’s outright nerve-shredding. John does all of these genres very well, but it’s in Dark Hollow, one of the early instalments in the Charlie Parker canon, that John really found his stride. There’s an air of real menace and ethereal dread in what seems, at first glance, to be a crime story. It’s very dark, very cold and each page seems to rustle with the sound of dead and dying leaves. It’s a cracker.
This sort-of sequel to The Exorcist is a much more multi-layered work than Blatty’s most famous story. Ruminations on the notion of goodliness and godliness marble the narrative as the reader follows mercurial, shambolic Lt Kinderman (the detective from The Exorcist) on a terrifying journey into darkness, probing the grotesque murders seemingly committed by a dead serial killer.
I didn’t know anything about this author when I first picked up a tatty paperback at a friend’s house and started to read. I also didn’t realise that I wasn’t exactly the target audience. But I will confess that when I think of the perfect book to lose oneself in, wrapped in a blanket, wearing slouch socks and drinking a pumpkin latte by oil lamp, this is the one that leaps into my head. And I’m supposed to be a grizzled ex-hack and crime writer. Part ghost story, part historical thriller, part love story, it’s scarily good.