Blue Murder by Mark L. Fowler @MFowlerAuthor #review #blogtour

Today it’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Blue Murder, the second book in the Tyler and Mills series by author Mark L Fowler which is released today. Happy publication day Mark. My thanks to Simon Leonard for inviting me to join the tour and to the author for providing a copy of the book for review. I really enjoyed reading the first in the series so it was great to be able to catch up with a relatively local detecting duo again. Here’s what the book is all about.

bmAbout the Book

Fame. Fortune. Murder.

Johnny and the Swamp Seeds are on the cusp of success when singer Johnny Richards goes missing. The body of a young man is found in the local canal. 

But the dead man is not Johnny Richards.

DCI Jim Tyler leads the investigation into the brutal murder of Adam Lane, ex band member and friend of Richards since schooldays. Is the disappearance related? Is Richards alive or dead? Was he responsible for the death of his friend? 

DS Danny Mills has concerns for DCI Tyler. The demons from Tyler’s past have caught up with him, threatening to tip him over the edge. Meanwhile, news of the singer’s disappearance has gone viral, sending the band to the top of the charts and turning a national spotlight on the case. Tyler is under immense pressure and Mills can see the cracks spreading. 

Will Tyler and Mills find out what happened to Johnny Richards, and who killed Adam Lane – or is catastrophe looming for the stricken detective?

What I have liked most about this series is the fact that, for me, it is a relatively locally set piece. North Staffs, or more specifically Stoke, where the lion’s share of the action is set is but a stone’s throw from where I live and I love being able to recognise the places and character types that are described. Throw in a great story and protagonists that you can care about and you have the perfect formula for a really good read.

This is the story of two friends – one is missing the other dead. DCI Tyler and DS Mills are faced with the task of finding out what happened to Adam Lane whilst coming under increasing pressure from the powers that be, the media and an ever growing public fan base to locate the missing Johnny Richards. Undoubtedly the two cases are linked, but how and should the detectives be preparing themselves to find a second body? Faced with a whole host of obstructions, from family members and friends who are not being exactly helpful, and ambiguity over why a man on the verge of his big break would suddenly disappear, Tyler and Mills have their work cut out for them and no mistake.

Now there is a twisting storyline in play here and there are many characters who seem to have something to hide. I didn’t quite trust anyone in the book, all of them holding back and almost revelling in one-upmanship on their so called family and friends. Despite their apparent grief, there seemed no one who was willing to help in solving the case, everyone keeping secrets and manipulating all around them. It led the Detectives, and me as the reader, on a merry dance, going round in circles, never quite knowing the fact from fiction and leaving very limited places to turn. Very slowly, bit by bit, clues are uncovered and possible motives are revealed but as to whether any of them lead us closer to the truth … you’ll have to read to find out.

Blue Murder makes quite an intriguing follow up to Red is the Colour and sees our main character, DCI Tyler, facing somewhat of a crisis in his life. He has always suffered with anger issues and falling foul of his past but in this book it is an ever present entity almost, something which consumes his attention and threatens both his personal relationships and almost his job. I do like Tyler as a character but he was so absorbed in his problems that it almost became a distraction to the story and would be possibly my only criticism that someone, somewhere, just needs to give this guy a right good kick up the backside. Thankfully, to offset Tyler’s pessimism and darkness you have Mills. Altogether a much lighter character his joking, sarcastically dry wit lightens many scenes which bringing a smile to my face.

Author Mark L Fowler has captured the essence of the area perfectly in his writing – the sense of place was strong and you get a real feeling of the pride that locals (Mills) have in a city which they will gladly mock themselves and yet still defend to the hilt to outsiders. Characterisations are also strong with the bickering sisters, a slimy and altogether too slick club owner and the mixture of highly strung and completely laid back band mates. All in all it made for a really entertaining read and for fans of the first book it’s a great follow up. I’m hoping we hear more from Tyler and Mills, assuming Tyler can find his peace and get his game face on.

If you would like a copy of Blue Murder for yourself, it is available from the following links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

About the author

Mark is the writer of the crime series featuring Tyler and Mills. The first book to feature the detectives, RED IS THE COLOUR, was shortlisted for the 2018 Arnold Bennett Book Prize. The second book, BLUE MURDER, can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

He is also the author of THE MAN UPSTAIRS, featuring hard-boiled detective Frank Miller, and SILVER, a psychological thriller. Mark’s first book, COFFIN MAKER, continues to defy any attempts to categorise it.

Follow Mark on Twitter.

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