Wednesday 29 June 2022

Into The Woods by D L Mark #IntoTheWoods @davidmarkwriter @HoZ_Books #BookReview


Thirty years ago, three girls followed a stranger into the woods. Only two returned.

The surviving pair have never been able to remember what happened or what the fate of the third girl was. Local rumours in the Lake District talk of hippies and drugs and mystic rituals, but no one has learned the truth.

This story is just what Rowan Blake needs. He's in debt, his journalistic career is in tatters – as well as his damaged body – and he's retreated to the Lake District to write.

Yet even Rowan isn't prepared for the evil he is about to unearth, for the secrets that have been buried in that wood for far too long...


Into The Woods by D L Mark was published in April 2021 by Head of Zeus / Aries. 

I read this book whilst on holiday and at times, scared the daylights out of myself. The insidious, creepy descriptions of the woods made the hairs on my arms rise, I had to glance up and remind myself that I was actually sitting in the Corfu sun and not in the depths of dark, damp woodland. 

Mark writes evocative and captivating descriptions of landscape, and Into The Woods contains such memorable depictions of Cumbria, not only the environment, but the small community and the people within. 

Rowan Blake is an unusual, intriguing and strangely likeable character. He's a writer who had success with his true-crime book, but has struggled ever since to come up with a new story. His publisher is on his back and the tools of his trade (his hands) are bandaged after a run-in with a reader. Taking refuge in his sister's cottage in the Lakes he discovers a local story that could just be what he needs to resurrect his failing career. 

Rowan is determined to find out what really happened all those years ago, when three girls went into the woods and one didn't return. Ably assisted by his enthusiastic niece Snowdrop, he starts his own investigates. Rowan doesn't always go by the book though and finds himself in some awkward situations. 

This is a crime thriller with a touch of horror, incorporating issues around shamanism and looking at how some events can be brushed under the table if the people involved are important enough. 

Merging the modern, by using social media, and the ancient, with the woodland fables and beliefs and packed with characters who are quirky, both in name and nature, this is a novel of complexity and intelligence that certainly kept me on my toes. 


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.

He has been championed by such industry luminaries as Val McDermid, Peter James, Mick Herron and Martina Cole.

He has written eight novels in the McAvoy series: Dark Winter, Original Skin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity, Dead Pretty, Cruel Mercy, Scorched Earth and Cold Bones as well as two McAvoy novellas, A Bad Death and Fire of Lies, which are available as ebooks. McAvoy will return in 2021 with the prequel Darkness Falls, and new installment PAST LIFE.

His first historical thriller, The Zealot’s Bones, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year. With publishers Severn House, he has written the critically-acclaimed thrillers The Burying Ground, A Rush of Blood, Borrowed Time, Suspicious Minds and Cages.

His first work of non-fiction, a mental health memoir detailing his battle with depression and addiction, was released in September. Piece of Mind has been described as 'lyrical, raw, brutal and very funny'.

Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel (where he was Reader in Residence) and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. Dead Pretty was long-listed for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger in 2016, as was Cold Bones in 2019.

David’s Radio 4 drama, A Marriage of Inconvenience, aired in 2017. His first novel has been adapted for the stage and was a sell-out smash in Hull. He has also written for the theatre and has contributed articles and reviews to several national and international publications. He is a regular performer at literary festivals and is a sought-after public speaker. He also teaches creative writing.

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