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Monday, 10 March 2014

‘Secrets of the Dead’ by Michael Fowler




 Published by Caffeine Nights Publishing,
9 Sep 2013.
ISBN: 978-1907565588

When a retired detective phoned one of Barnwall’s crime team to say that he knew who’d killed Lucy Blake-Hall, thirty years ago, there wasn’t any immediate action - until he was found smothered, with a key in his stomach... 

Never mind the readers, all crime writers should rush straight out and get a copy of this book.  You want the correct procedure for an interview ... what actually happens in an autopsy ... how a major incident is really conducted ... it’s all here, and as Fowler is a retired CID officer, it’s straight from the horse’s mouth.  That gives the book an authentic feel – you really are taken into the heart of how an investigation happens.  Someone said, at Bloody Scotland, that most PP authors cut down the number of characters; Fowler didn’t do this, so you got the sense of the huge number of people involved, but you also got to know and like the key characters: D S Hunter Kerr, his sidekick DC Grace Marshall and their team. 

The plot is clever, linking in all the apparently random elements, although I felt it should have been more tense.  All the same, it was a good read, and I enjoyed the Yorkshire background and speech.  The book was divided into ‘days’: First day of the Investigation, etc, and this helped keep track of what was going on.

A stunningly authentic PP, with good characters and a well worked-out plot.
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Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Michael Fowler  has always written stories.  In his teenage years he into horror, and science fiction, and then at the age of fifteen  he discovered the 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain.  This became a turning point in his chosen genre, both to read as well as write. He joined the police and began jotting down his experiences, crafting incidents  in which he had been involved  into storylines.  As his career developed so did his plots, especially when he became a detective. In 1993 Wharnecliffe Press offered him his first contract for a series of nostalgic stories about growing up in his home town of Mexborough. Legacy of our Backings and the follow-up book, No More Kick-Can and Cobbles'were a success. In 2006 he retired from the police following 32 years service.  With no more distractions he began the journey of writing that crime novel he had always promised himself he would do.
http://www.mjfowler.co.uk

 
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.


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