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Thursday, 7 April 2016

‘Scream, You Die’ by Michael Fowler

Published by Caffeine Nights Publishing,
17 September 2015.

Motorbike-riding DS Scarlett Macey's sister Rose disappeared eleven years ago.  Since then, finding out where she went has been a low-level but constant niggle for the detective, along with the riddle of the death of her parents at the same time.  Was Rose responsible? 
But life goes on.  Now, she is looking for a serial rapist, going head-to-head with her arrogant Detective Inspector boss, trying to control her drinking and being mugged by two yobs who have fled with her handbag and its contents.

Meanwhile, Grazyna and Kofryna, two naïve Lithuanian girls, have arrived in the UK, lured by their flash new boyfriends and the promise of well-paid work when they get there.  It's a familiar story: rape followed by enforced prostitution, with the added horror of being tortured with a red-hot branding-iron to show who their 'owner' is. 

The story moves along at a good old pace.  The rapist is apprehended, thanks to a sting operation, but impudently gives nothing away.  A friend of DS Scarlett's gets a lead on her missing sister.  And then a body is found in the river, crammed into a suitcase, headless and handless. And similarly branded.  This gruesome discovery becomes the start of police investigations into further murders.  At the same time, Scarlett Macey is following the trail to finding her sister's whereabouts.

Fowler skilfully blends together the different strands of his story, both professional and personal, and I found myself involved with all of them.  As an ex-policeman, he knows whereof he writes, and his unflinching depiction of the brutalities of the illicit sex-trade, as illustrated by the fate of his two innocent young women, has a frightening ring of truth.  Altogether, a very good read.
Reviewer: Susan Moody

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.

Susan Moody was born and brought up in Oxford.  She has published over 30 crime and suspense novels, including the Penny Wanawake series and the Cassandra Swann bridge series.  She is a past Chairman of the British Crime Writers' Association, a member of the Detection Club, a past Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tasmania and a past President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  She divides her time between south-west France and south-east Kent.   Nominated for the CWA short story award.  Nominated for the RNA's award. 

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