In New York’s East Village a young girl is brutally raped, tortured and murdered. Detective Callum Doyle has seen the victim’s remains. He has visited the distraught family. Now he wants justice. Doyle is convinced he knows who the killer is. The problem is he can’t prove it. And the more he pushes his prime suspect, the more he learns that the man is capable of pushing back in ways more devious and twisted than Doyle could ever have imagined. Add to that the appearance of an old adversary who has a mission for Doyle and won’t take no for an answer, and soon Doyle finds himself at risk of losing everything he holds dear. Including his life.
Marked represents David Jackson’s third title in the Callum Doyle – Detective Second Grade – series and without a shadow of a doubt this is another impressive read. The book moves on from Doyle’s earlier exploits in Pariah and The Helper and even though we have the odd murder here and there this book is a more powerful and sombre affair concentrating on Doyle’s character and the scrapes he finds himself in. This makes for uncomfortable reading at times and Doyle’s personality doesn’t exactly shine through, more a dark and depressing day to day romp through the streets of New York.
This new approach certainly gives Doyle a multi layered persona, more depth, an edge, and as a result allows Jackson to create a Cimmerian book with only the odd light and shade to add balance and relief. This isn’t all gloom and doom for there are a few tender moments, humour too, which all help lighten the darkness a touch. Perhaps not as much dry humour as I would have liked – and come to expect from Doyle’s character – to be honest but when we do get it it makes it that more special and it still managed to give me the odd chuckle along the way.
Characterisation is once again spot on with a number of cast members adding to the story, Doyle obviously taking centre stage but this time he’s joined with a new partner in LeBlanc. The youngster struggles to find his voice and feet in the beginning but as the two clash – along with other members of the Homicide squad – he grows a set and eventually finds a voice that causes Doyle to take stock and question his actions.
I was enamoured by Doyle’s daughter – Amy – in The Helper and would have loved a few more scenes with her this time around but with Doyle fighting his fair share of demons we only get the odd exchange between father and daughter but yet again Jackson has the vocabulary spot on. It certainly made me smile!
The tender moments come from a family grieving and give the book the depth I was talking about earlier. I really took to Nicole – the mother – and found I could relate to her on another level. Grieving for the loss of her daughter, Jackson captures a family dealing with the loss of a sixteen year old with compassion and intrigue allowing both parents to develop throughout the book.
Make no bones about it, this is a seriously dark book if you hadn’t guessed!, Doyle is in a dark place and it’ll take a miracle to get himself out of the mire he finds himself in. Yet again Jackson’s literary skills shine through with another fast and accomplished narrative together with an impressive dialogue – a real page turner. Marked can be easily taken as a standalone but to get the most out of Doyle and the development of his character you really should read the first two in the series.
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan (3 Jan 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 023076049X
- ISBN-13: 978-0230760493