Before I share my thoughts, here’s the official blurb:
Best-selling novelist David Mark’s first work of non-fiction is an excruciatingly honest account of living with acute mental illness.
This lyrical, raw and painfully funny memoir explores how it feels to house a monster inside your head: a slavering, seductive beast that whispers ‘kill yourself’ just when you start to think you’re happy. It’s the story of finding love and raising a family in the face of mania, depression, OCD, addiction, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, chronic anxiety and a genuine genius for self-sabotage.
Piece of Mind deals with the reality of waking every day and choosing not to die. It’s about keeping on keeping on. It’s about fighting for your life when death seems so much easier. It’s about becoming a best-selling novelist and fulfilling your dreams and then feeling so utterly empty inside that an ocean of whisky isn’t enough. Sounds bleak? It’s damn funny too.
I’d heard lots of great things about David Marks latest novel, A Piece of Mind, and I was intrigued to read it. I also knew it was not going to be an easy read and so I approached this with a little trepidation, a bubbling sense of anxiety at being invited inside the head of a man who from the outset of this book, is brutally honest in what he’s about to tell you. You see I live with my daughter who has enduring mental health issues and have been to the brink and back with her over the years. I was worried that I’d not be able to handle David’s story.
I was wrong to be anxious, his raw and honest account of his life, and that of his partner, gave me an insight into the turmoil that he has lived with over the years. It is heart-breaking, poignant but most of all it is full to the brim with truth. A truth that has become watered down through the almost glamourisation of mental illness through social media.
This needs to be read by anyone who thinks mental illness is an Insta ready pic of messy bedcovers and carefully discarded coffee cups; by those who look at a photo of someone on a night out and say “well they are smiling, how can they be depressed” and fail to see the masking taking place, the emptiness in eyes that should be sparkling.
You see this book is ugly, it’s raw and it’s truthful. It is ugly, but it is also laced with humour and honesty. Marks shows insight into just how selfish mental illness can be, and I don’t mean deliberately selfish like wanting the last bit of cake for yourself, but selfish in that it’s all consuming and makes it virtually impossible for the person to think beyond their own situation and how it can impact on those around us.
This book is a must read, for those who don’t believe mental ill health is a “thing” and for those living with mental health to show that you are not alone.
Thank you for writing this book David Marks, thank you for telling the world the truth.
A Piece of Mind can be purchased via
About the author
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.