Today it is my great pleasure to be helping to close out the blog tour for Red is the Colour by Mark L. Fowler. My thanks go to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound for inviting me to be a part of the tour. More than a simple tale of childhood bullying this book brings us an interesting new Detective pairing, DCI Jim Tyler and DS Danny Mills. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book in just a moment, but first here are all the booky bits.
The Official Book Blurb
A GRIPPING NEW POLICE THRILLER
Bullying. Corruption. Murder.
It is the summer of 2002. The corpse of a 15 year old boy, who has been missing for thirty years, is discovered in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is on the cusp of change and Chief Superintendent Berkins wants the case solved quickly.
DCI Jim Tyler has arrived from London under a cloud, moving to Staffordshire to escape his past. He is teamed up with DS Danny Mills to investigate the case, but there is tension between the detectives.
When the dead boy’s sister comes forward, describing a bright, solitary child, she points a finger at the school bullies, which puts important careers at stake.
Then one of the bullies is found brutally murdered and when Tyler and Mills dig deeper they start to suspect a cover-up.
What is the connection between the death of a schoolboy in 1972 and this latest killing?
With the pressure building, and the past catching up with DCI Tyler, will he and DS Mills be able to put aside their differences in order to catch a cold-blooded killer?
Brand new in town after an ‘encouraged’ transfer from London, DCI Jim Tyler doesn’t have time to settle in the job or the city of Stoke before he is called to a building site where the long buried bones of an as yet unidentified victim are found. It doesn’t take long to figure out who the victim could be, a young boy who went missing way back in 1972, but what they have yet to determine is whether the boy died a natural or unnatural death. When another body is found, this one fresh and clearly murdered, Tyler is put under pressure to close out the ‘cold case’, but he is not so convinced that the full story has yet been told.
Red if the Colour is not what you would call a fast paced or high tension read. As first cases go, the one facing Detectives Tyler and Mills is a relatively strange and moderately sedate one, at least not up until the point the second victim is found, his death far more undeniably fresh and brutal. The pair manage to work out the victim fairly quickly, the list of likely candidates seemingly very small. As they dig into the case it becomes clear that the young man was subjected to a series of vicious bullying attacks when in school, many of which when unnoticed or at the very least ignored by his own teachers. The more they dig the more the list if suspects grows including some very prominent figures, hence the pressure on Tyler to close it out as swiftly as possible.
I really liked the characters of Tyler and Mills. Tyler is almost like a fish out of water in Stoke amongst a team who are as loyal to their city as they are their football teams, a fact which even lends itself to the books title – red and white being the colours of Stoke City. Tyler has his demons, an apparently fierce temper for one, and a series of regrets, some of which surround his personal life. In stark contrast to bachelor Tyler, Mills is a family man, loving wife, two children and a crippling mortgage on a house which has taken him away from his beloved city. In truth, it is a match that shouldn’t work – they are too different – and yet in some strange way they do. It is a pairing I would definitely want to read more about and although their partnership was tense and controlled to start with, they seem to reach an understanding and some kind of friendship as the investigation progresses.
As I said before, this isn’t a particularly fast paced read, in fact I took a leisurely read of this over a couple of days. This isn’t a criticism, far from it as the more sedate nature of the investigation matched the age of the case perfectly. If you are looking for a high octane thriller, then this isn’t the book for you. If you are more interested in the investigation, in solving a puzzle, then absolutely give this a whirl. I was glad of a change of pace to be fair and the book was no less engaging because of it. There is still an element of organised crime or at the very least corruption in the story which adds a different dimension to the investigation, but the relative simplicity of the case did provide more appeal to me than the side story which may have been a step too close toward being predictable or unbelievable.
The dialogue, especially between the two Detectives, felt natural, not contrived, despite their difficulty in understanding each other initially. And the slow unravelling of secrets kept for thirty years is as emotional as it is compelling. There are so many secrets, so many lies, so many people trying to save their own reputations, that you will not know who to trust and may well be blindsided by the eventual truth. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.
A great start to an interesting new series and, more importantly, set relatively locally to me which always makes me smile.
My thanks to publisher Bloodhound Books for providing an advance copy of Red is the Colour for review. It is available now from the following retailers
About the Author
Mark L. Fowler is the author of the novels Coffin Maker, The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour, and more than a hundred short stories. His particular interests are in crime and mystery, psychological thrillers and gothic/horror fiction.
His first published novel, Coffin Maker, is a gothic tale set between our world and the Kingdom of Death. In the Kingdom the Coffin Maker lives a solitary existence, and every coffin he completes signals the end of a life in our world. One day he discovers that he is to be sent two apprentices, amid rumours that the devil is arriving on Earth.
Mark’s second novel, The Man Upstairs, features the hard-boiled detective, Frank Miller, who works the weird streets of Chapeltown. Having discovered that he is in fact the hero of twenty successful mystery novels, authored by The Man Upstairs, Frank has reasons to fear that this latest case might be his last.
In 2016, Silver, a dark and disturbing psychological thriller was published by Bloodhound Books. When a famous romance novelist dies in mysterious circumstances, she leaves behind an unfinished manuscript, Silver. This dark and uncharacteristic work has become the Holy Grail of the publishing world, but the dead writer’s family have their reasons for refusing to allow publication.
Red Is The Colour is Mark’s latest book, a crime mystery featuring two police detectives based in Staffordshire. The case involves the grim discovery of the corpse of a schoolboy who went missing thirty years earlier. Red Is The Colour is the first in a series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills, and will be published in July 2017 by Bloodhound Books.
The author contributed a short story, Out of Retirement, to the best-selling crime and horror collection, Dark Minds. Featuring many well known writers, all proceeds from the sales of Dark Minds will go to charity.
A graduate in philosophy from Leicester University, Mark lives in Staffordshire, and is currently writing a follow up to Red Is The Colour. When he isn’t writing he enjoys time with family and friends, watching TV and films, playing guitar/piano and going for long walks.
Do make sure to check out some of the other blogs taking part in the tour for more reviews and features.