Scarlet Ribbons (Tyler & Mills) 

by | Sep 22, 2023 | Author | 0 comments

Many thanks to Authors’ Lounge for taking an interest in my books, and asking me to write and submit this article. My name is Mark L. Fowler, and to date I have published twelve novels, mainly in the crime and horror genres.

SCARLET RIBBONS is the latest in my popular detective mystery series featuring police officers Jim Tyler and Danny Mills. This is the fifth book in the series, all of which can be read and enjoyed as standalone crime novels. Here’s what the book is about:

When a woman with a past is brutally murdered, the detectives assigned to the investigation discover that there’s no shortage of motives and suspects.

A faceless corpse is found in a local park. DCI Tyler and DS Mills establish that the dead woman was working at two brothels in the city, and operating under the name Scarlet. A wealth of suspects and motives are uncovered, and Scarlet, a complex young woman with an interesting past, appears to have been leading a secret life.

The investigation stalls, and Tyler’s long-suffering boss goes off sick, his ambitious replacement demanding a swift resolution to the case and pointing the finger at a credible if convenient suspect. But Tyler remains unconvinced.

Following his instincts, the detective presses hard, and complaints about his methods start pouring in. The pressure from above reaches breaking point, yet despite warnings from his faithful partner Danny Mills, Tyler remains determined to get to the truth … at all costs.

I started this series a few years ago, with the title RED IS THE COLOUR, which was picked up by a publisher, and which went on to make the short-list of the Arnold Bennett prize for books written or set in North Staffordshire. I enjoyed writing about my local area, and found Tyler and Mills an intriguing combination that I wanted to explore further. So I have continued with the series, and with the colour theme, and so far there is: BLUE MURDER; THE DEVIL WORE BLACK; THE SMELL OF COPPER, and now SCARLET RIBBONS to add to the canon.

The original germ of the first story in the series was the idea of a discovery involving a cold case, and the detectives subsequently uncovering a dark tale of bullying.

Along with this investigation into the death of a schoolboy thirty years earlier, I wanted to explore the bullying theme from the point of view of the detective character. DCI Jim Tyler was bullied as a child, and experienced bullying during his time working in London on the police force. This has left Tyler with a host of demons to deal with, and when he assaulted a senior colleague down in London, he narrowly avoided expulsion from the police force, and was effectively exiled up north to Staffordshire, where he teamed up with local DS Danny Mills.

I liked the idea of a local detective and an ‘outsider’ who appear to have very little in common on the surface, but who come to find common ground through the experiences of their investigations.

This latest book found an unexpected inspiration when last year I was approached to ‘donate’ a character in a charity auction for the Born Free Foundation. Having to include a character’s name in a significant role in my latest book generated some ideas that really excited me, and I’m happy to say that the woman who bid to have her name used in the book thoroughly enjoyed what I created with her name.

Along with my Tyler & Mills series, which I intend to continue with, I have also written three other detective novels, all with different settings and sleuths. THE BATHROOM MURDERS is the first in a new series featuring detectives Reed and Rigsby, and is set in Manchester. A second book in that series is planned for publication early next year. Then there is TWIST, a standalone detective novel which features a private investigator having to return to the city of his darkest fears to investigate the suspicious suicide of a philosophy student. The city in question is where I lived for three years whilst studying philosophy at university. THE MAN UPSTAIRS, the first in a detective fantasy series, features hard boiled Frank Miller who discovers that he is in fact the hero of a long-running mystery series, and that his author now wants him dead.

Aside from my interest in detective crime fiction, I also have a love of gothic tales, and have written a number of horror novels, including COFFIN MAKER, PAINTED FIRE, and SEXTET. I have a few other completed horror novels hiding in my draw, a little frightened to come out, and which I am hoping to find a publisher for in due course.

All of my published books are available on Amazon, and all are on Kindle Unlimited, so I’m easy enough to find. There are also paperback editions of my novels, and I hope that you will find something that you like. I am currently working on the sixth book in the Tyler & Mills series, again with a colour in the title, though I’m not going to reveal the title just yet. That book is also planned for publication in 2024.

Please find below the link for SCARLET RIBBONS, and thank you for reading this short article, and thanks again to Authors’ Lounge for inviting me in. Incidentally, the photograph below shows me at a local lake that I often visit to think out my stories.

Happy reading.

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