Cruel Mercy by David Mark

The Blurb On The Back:

Three Irishmen went to America.

One’s dead.  One’s as good as.  One is missing … 

The missing man is Valentine Teague.  Petty criminal, bare-knuckle fighter – and DS Aector McAvoy’s brother-in-law.

Back home, Val’s being held responsible for the blood spilt in the snowy woods of upstate New York.  If McAvoy doesn’t find out the truth, all hell will break loose, putting his own family in the crossfire.

Investigating proves harder than he could have imagined.  New York City is a different world, with different rules.  Soon, he finds himself up against squabbling cops, mafias old and new, and the culmination of a crime forty years in the making.

All McAvoy can do is the right thing.  Even if it kills him …

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

DS Aector McAvoy travels to New York in the week before Christmas as a favour to his wife, Roisin.  Her brother, Valentine Teague, has gone missing in New York.  He was on a boxing trip with his trainer, Brishen Ayres and another boxer, Shay Helden who was trying out for famed trainer, Dezzie Estrada to assess if he was ready for the big time.

But then Shay is found murdered in up state New York with Brishen being left in a coma following a bullet wound to the head.  Valentine, Brishen and Shay were all from Traveller families and Shay’s murder and Valentine’s disappearance means that Shay’s family holds the Teagues responsible for what happened.

McAvoy is the only person standing between all-out war in the Traveller community but his job isn’t easy.  Even with the help of New York detective, Ronald Alto, it’s no easy task unpicking what precisely has happened and McAvoy finds himself navigating the FBI, the Mob and the Chechen Mafia all of whom want to shut his investigation down and some of whom are willing to kill him if he won’t go home …

The 6th in David Mark’s DS MCAVOY SERIES is a sophisticated crime mystery with a real sense of love, friendship and family and a well-adjusted, honourable detective main character who – refreshingly – isn’t haunted by personal demons, has a sound marriage and gets on with his (awesome) boss who has his back, all of which makes a thoroughly enjoyable read that makes me want to read the other books in the series.

I hadn’t read any of the earlier books in this series but you really don’t need to in order to read this one.  Mark deftly sets out McAvoy’s relationship with his wife and boss (Trish Pharoah, who I absolutely loved – her Skype sessions with McAvoy crackle with warmth and wit) and it quickly becomes obvious that McAvoy himself is a self-effacing man, good at his job and devoted to his wife and family who finds himself in a difficult, fish-out-of-water situation.  I enjoyed his developing relationship with Alto (although there were elements that were a little strained – notably the way Alto manipulated McAvoy into helping him with one of his own cases, which didn’t quite ring true).

The mystery itself is complicated but Mark juggles the various strands with deft skill and although I guessed who the antagonist was quite early on, he kept me interested in reading on to find out the whys and the hows (something that’s greatly helped by having chapters from the point of view of the Mafia hitman who actually pulled the trigger on Brishen and Shay).

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will be going back to read the earlier books in this series to see what I’ve missed.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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