First line: "John Glass tips his head back, as though draining ale."
Humberside Police Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy returns for David Mark's fourth book in his police procedural series. On sick leave and separated from his wife and infant daughter following a tragedy from the previous novel, Sorrow Bound, McAvoy is asked to fact check a fifty-year-old case that may finally come to trial.
McAvoy's assignment is meant to be a quiet, low-key job, confirming that evidence and witness statements are secure enough for a likely conviction. But when some details give McAvoy an uneasy feeling, he starts digging, pursuing the investigation further than instructed. What the determined officer uncovers drops him smack in the middle of a present day war between two organized crime factions Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaoh is struggling to neutralize.
Taking Pity is a complex storyline that alternates between many different character perspectives, leaving the reader with only partial snapshots of each, enhancing the mysterious effect of unknown connecting tissue holding their various subplots together. Adding to this is Mark's tendency to inform a character without informing the reader, such as with the opposite end of a phone conversation or in written correspondence the character reads but doesn't share. These techniques all work to compound the novel's intense suspense.
There are threads that continue throughout the series, so readers familiar with all the books will likely have a firmer grasp on this novel, but Taking Pity can still be thoroughly enjoyed on its own. Fans of gritty, dark crime who are unfamiliar with this series should dive in immediately and be prepared for an addictive reaction.
Taking Pity is available in hardcover from Blue Rider Press (9780399168215) and as an unabridged audio (9781478956440), narrated by John Curless, from Recorded Books.