Oh, Aector

book cover of Sorrow Bound by David Mark

Title: Sorrow Bound
Author: David Mark
Series: Aector McAvoy #3
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: 4 stars (Madeleine) 4.5 stars (Zelda)


The ever-lovable, lumbering police detective Aector McAvoy returns for his third book in Sorrow Bound. When Philippa Longman is found brutally murdered, Aector and Pharaoh are at a bit of a loss to understand why. The woman was well-loved, kind, and dedicated to improving her local neighborhood. Philippa’s death is followed by another murder, and the only connection between the two is that both saved the life of a man years ago. But who would kill someone for being a good samaritan?

Aector’s personal life is also a source of stress. Aector and Roisin are preparing to move into a house that they may or may not be able to afford. After standing up for a friend and confronting a drug dealer (okay, and stealing his money), Roisin becomes the target of the local crime lords. And in other parts of Hull, DC Helen Tremberg finds herself in a sticky situation after attracting the attentions of a man who seems to be too good to be true.


Madeleine: Let’s be honest: what keeps me coming back to this series is Aector. He is such an atypical fictional detective in a world of hardboiled, jaded detectives with destroyed personal lives. Aector is a genuinely good person who constantly worries about being a good person and deeply loves his wife and family. I love reading about a detective who isn’t sure about actions to take, who can’t quite maintain a professional distance and often finds himself bewilderedly comforting grieving family members, and who blushes whenever someone teases him. I especially loved this description of Aector:

“She remembers their first meeting. Remembers that agonizing walk from Queen’s Gardens to Hull Crown Court. It had rained the night before and the damp pavements were patterned with the crushed shells of snails that had not got out of the way as the city’s commuters began their walks to work. McAvoy had kept stopping every five or six steps to pick up any snail he thought was in harm’s way. He filled his pockets with them then ran back to Queen’s Garned to put them safely on the grass.”

The man saved snails!

Zelda: The snail story was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the book!! I love that while Aector struggles with work and his family, he at least has a family to go home to. I love reading about jaded detectives as much as the next owl, but someone has to be happy, right?

Madeleine: The only other detective similar to Aector that I can think of is Maeve Kerrigan from series by Jane Casey. I’ve only read the first book, but Maeve brings a fresh perspective as an early-career detective who is also concerned with doing the right thing and not 100% sure what to do at all times. In fact, now I want a crossover series with Maeve and Aector teaming up and being awesome together. Pharaoh can join too.

Zelda: I simultaneously want to go drinking with Pharaoh, but also find her so intimidating I hope we never meet. She seems so fun and yet terrifying. It’s a thrilling combination, I suppose. Jane Casey is fantastic. I love Maeve and can’t wait to get her next book, which is in cataloging as I type. 🙂

Madeleine: Aector and Pharaoh continued to be great together. They are an unlikely team, but so very great together. In this book, I felt like we saw Aector, Pharaoh, and his family from more point-of-views than previously, specifically through the eyes of Helen Tremberg.

Zelda: I just wanted to usher Helen along and hug her. She just really needs a solid friend and I don’t think she has one.

Madeleine: Also, I really want to know how to pronounce Aector. Everyone acts like it is incredibly challenging in the books, so obviously my “ech-ter” is not quite correct!

Zelda: Since I’ve decided “ech-ter” is clearly not the right way, I have just settled with calling him Hector so I don’t spend a few minutes debating his name every time I read it. Also, Roisin always make me think of hoisin sauce and that just makes me hungry.

Madeleine: Oh, did you want me to talk about the plot and the mystery? Sorry about that. The mystery in the book was engaging. It reminded me a bit of the set-up for the first book (serial killer murdering victims who had near-death experiences in the way they almost died). This time, the victims are killed in connection with whatever way they saved the someone’s life. So, the woman who performed CPR has her chest crushed in by performing CPR.

Zelda: The premise of book one was so fascinating. I was really happy to see book three come back around to that creative serial murder style that made book one so…well…charming seems like the wrong word…

Madeleine: I can see it now: “Sorrow Bound–the charming tale of a serial killer who’s just a bit misunderstood.”

I thought the murder wrapped up a little too nicely and completely. By the end, I wasn’t 100% sold on the murder’s motivations. Had they been introduced or developed earlier, I think it would have made a bit more sense.

Zelda: I can agree that it wrapped up too well. I do like to have all the ends tied sometimes though, so it didn’t matter to me much.

Madeleine: In the second book, I found the side story with the drug wars distracting and unnecessary. However, I was very interested in the secondary stories in Sorrow Bound–both Helen’s story of a romance gone wrong that leads to blackmail and Aector’s family becoming endangered after Roisin confronts a local drug lord threatening her friend. I was especially worried for Aector’s family throughout the book. If anything will destory Aector, it would be something happening to his family.

Zelda: I kept feeling like the drug plot of book two should have been a book of it’s own. It didn’t really fit well with the story for me, so I was pleased at how all of the side plots in this one totally drew me in. In fact, I found myself wondering about Helen more than the mystery killer.

Madeleine: Not everything wraps up nicely at the end, which I was not expecting. I don’t want to say too much here, but this book left me worried and wanting more (like all good cliffhangers do). When does the fourth book come out?!

Zelda: A cliffhanger. David Mark, you have some ‘splaining to do.

Disclaimer: We both received an advanced copy of Sorrow Bound from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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