My Life In Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've invited authors to share with us a list of the books that are special to them and have made a lasting impression on their life.
Please join me as I welcome David Mark to Random Things today.
David is a crime writer, and the author of the McAvoy series; Dark Winter (2012); Original Skin (2013); Sorrow Bound (2014); Taking Pity (2015) and Dead Pretty (2016).
He has also written a short story, A Bad Death, that also features McAvoy
McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy It's a rare thing for a book to provoke belly laughs but I genuinely can't read this travelogue without bursting out laughing.
The late, great Pete McCarthy is a wonderful travel companion. He's like the drinking-man's Michael Palin. His travels around Ireland (the land of his mother's family) incorporate some amazing characters and tall stories and Pete's gently, lyrical style make for the perfect light read.
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller I was probably about 15 the first time I read this. It was on the shelf behind the bed of my girlfriend of the time and I recall that I carried on with the relationship longer than I should have done just so I could finish reading the book. That's devotion for you. Heller's view on the absurdity of human beings is one of particular brilliance. Yossarian was probably the first cowardly hero that I encountered. Until then it always seemed that heroes in books had to be strong and powerful macho men. Yossarian was anything but. He didn't want to die, which is a difficult position to be in when you're a fighter pilot.
A true classic.
The Night Watch by Terry Pratchett Everything by Pratchett is wonderful but there's something about The Night Watch that I just keep returning to. It sees Archduke Sir Samuel Vimes transported back through time to an age before his City watch had cleaned up the streets of Anky-Morpork. He has only a few days to train his younger self in what it takes to be a good man. It's clever, beautifully written and a real page-turner.
The best Discworld book of the lot.
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel Think that mediums and psychics are all fraudsters? So did I, until Hilary Mantel played around with my perceptions. Imagine, for a moment, that certain people really could contact the dead. Imagine if the dead were nasty, naughty, playful gangsters who nip you in your sleep and won't let you get close to anybody else.
Long before she wrote Wolf Hall, this moving, insightful work of soaring imagination showed me what the English language was capable of.
Death In The Clouds by Agatha Christie If I hadn't read this book when I was ten I might not be a crime writer. I might even have a real job, in which case I would be the most miserable man in the world. At it was, my batty Nana Milly gave me it to read in a desperate bid to wean me off Enid Blyton. It worked. I was hooked by the puzzle element of the plot and fell in love with Poirot in a way that isn't altogether healthy for a young lad on an estate in Carlisle.
It was the start of my relationship with crime fiction and hopefully, that's a good thing.
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. His writing is heavily influenced by the court cases he covered: the defeatist and jaded police officers; the competent and incompetent investigators; the inertia of the justice system and the sheer raw grief of those touched by savagery and tragedy.
He has written five novels in the McAvoy series, Dark Winter, Original Sin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity and Dead Pretty. Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel, a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller.
David lives in Lincolnshire with his partner, two children and an assortment of animals.
For more information about David and his writing, visit his website dark-mark.com
Follow him on Twitter @davidmarkwriter
Find his Author page on Facebook