His debut crime novel, Coffin Maker, published in October 2015 must seem like a million years ago for Bloodhound Books author Mark Fowler who's latest title Red Is The Colour, the first in a new series featuring DCI Jim Tyler and DS Danny Mills, has racked up countless five star reviews.
It's been quoted as, "gripping from the start. A completely unputdownable read." And, "an excellent thriller. I absolutely loved it."
What is the book about?
The corpse of a school boy, missing for thirty years, is discovered in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. DCI Tyler has arrived from London, and is teamed up with DS Mills to investigate the case. There is tension between the detectives from the start, and Tyler is battling demons from his own past. The dead boy’s sister comes forward, pointing a finger at the school bullies who made her brother’s life a misery. Bullying, at school and at work, is something that Tyler knows a lot about, Mills too. As the investigation develops it becomes clear that important careers may be at stake.
Then one of the bullies is found brutally murdered.
Bullying is a theme that runs throughout the book. I wanted to know what gave Mark the idea to use it as a basis for his story.
The original spark of the idea resulted from a conversation I had with an old school friend about bullying. It was a chance remark that provoked a ‘what if’ question that I couldn’t leave alone. ‘What if’ is my best friend when I’m looking for ideas to kick off a new book. I knew that I wanted to explore the theme of bullying, and in the context of a crime novel, but it was a while before the shape of the story came into focus.
What began as an idea soon took shape, and resulted in the idea to create a series.
The first draft was written a few years back, and written fairly quickly once I got started. The idea that the book would be a crime mystery story featuring two detectives, both with good reasons to hate bullies, investigating a historic murder really kicked the whole thing off, and everything seemed to come together. Yet I was never entirely satisfied with the book, and I put it to one side. I knew there was something missing but I couldn’t quite figure out what. Other projects came along and the years piled up, and then more recently I dug the book out, dusted it off and saw what it needed. It still took a few drafts to nail it, but I felt that I was on to something. I knew straight off that I wanted to write more books featuring Tyler and Mills, and set in Stoke-on-Trent, a place that I know intimately. There is a lot I can do with these two detectives, and that is an exciting feeling.
How does Mark create believable characters, experiencing extraordinary things and keep the plot authentic?
A friend who works for a local police force helped me with some of the procedural aspects of Red Is The Colour. I wanted to be as certain as possible that I had my detectives working within a believable and realistic context.
What can we look forward to reading from Mark in the future?
I have now completed the second in the series of Tyler and Mills crime mystery books and I'm hoping to have it published later this year.
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