Donovan brought his hands up, pushed back into Mark's twisted face. He forced the heel of his left hand on to his top lip, pushing lip and nose back as far and as hard as he could.
Clearly this reporter is cut from a different cloth than Hughie. The back cover blurb for Martyn Waites' The Mercy Seat, begins:
Once a renowned investigative journalist, Joe Donavan's life fell apart when his six-year-old son disappeared without trace. Now a virtual recluse, Donovan is abruptly thrust back into the limelight when a teenage boy makes contact in desparet need of his help.
Donovan is a tough Geordie who can handle himself in the (several) fights that come his way in a rather violent novel.
It's hard to imagine Hugh, Annika or Constance in this scene, right at the start...
Joe Donovan picked up the revolver from the table, felt the heft of it in his left hand, weighed the options.
Not that Waites can allow Donovan much in the way of social niceties. He is stuck in a Northumberland cottage which 'looked like a building site during lunchbreak.'
He hadn't just let himself go, he'd become abandoned.... Stale booze breath and unwashed skin.