Red is the Colour - Mark L. Fowler - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

Red is the Colour – Mark L. Fowler

What an awesome start to a new detective series! DCI Jim Tyler has been transferred to Stoke-on-Trent, home city of DS Danny Mills when a 30-year-old corpse is found.. 


Tyler & Mills #1

DCI Jim Tyler has blown it again and, this time, he has to accept “his own exile” from the London Metropolitan to work for the Staffordshire Police. In Stoke-on-Trent, they are a bit anxious as they have heard that Tyler is a ‘good one,’ but a city type? To work in their town? DS Danny Mills has more than enough on his plate as he hates his recent move from Stoke-on-Trent’s inner city to the suburbs. When a lifelong football fan with a passion for food and beer pairs up with a city man whose face does not easily betray whether he is serious or sarcastic, how will this partnership work out? As Tyler and Mills learn to know each other, we also find out about Stoke-on-Trent thanks to Mills showing Tyler around and taking us with them. The way Mills describes his city, where the countryside is never far away …


As DCI Tyler prepares himself for Stoke-on-Trent by learning the tourist guide by heart, DS Mills’s colleagues are not too pleased to receive a new DCI coming from the country’s capital because of the “urge to denounce the stranger…. the redneck impulse that ran deep through the city.” Soon, Tyler will learn the difference between the two football teams of the town – of which Stoke City with its red and white stripes is the preferred club according to Mills. The city is desperate to change, at least the project developers are and when a body of an adolescent boy is found on a building site, the pressure is full on to bring the investigation to a speedy and satisfactory ending. But DCI Tyler is more concerned about Alan Dale, the victim, and his sister, Sheila Dale, the only living relative. The discovery of Alan’s body has brought it all back to Sheila, her brother’s sad life story of a quiet and bit naive boy in constant fear of being bullied.

Sheila also provides the police with a document relating to Alan’s school days, about his friends and teachers at the time. “They never stopped,” is what she has written down and something about Alan being unable or unwilling to “give them what they want.” Time to go back to school – River Trent High where Miss Hayburn rules. Fortunately for DCI Tyler, she is determined to help out where she can. To find out more about the circumstances, leading to Alan’s tragic death, they have to contact his former teachers, his friends, as well as the bullies. Why was Alan bullied and, more importantly, why did no one stop it? DCI Tyler and DS Mills set out to get to the bottom of it but are not prepared for the indifference and the web of intrigue unravelling in a fog of innuendo and pointing fingers from those diverting attention and responsibility from their own actions. Will they discover the dark secrets from the past and bring the bullies to justice?

My Thoughts

Red is the Colour is a terrific detective novel that has all the ingredients I love with the perfect combination of  a couple of likeable protagonists, scarred by life, beautiful surroundings and a story that not only has a murder to be solved but also does not shy away from topics our society should handle so much better. In this book, Mark Fowler addresses bullying and its devastating impact on people’s lives. We all know it is wrong and yet, while we do not all commit such atrocities, only a few of us have the courage to stand up to bullies regardless of the consequences. I love the author’s writing style which immediately draws you and warms you to the protagonists, the story and the lovely city of Stoke-on-Trent.

Speaking of which, I feel it is a stroke of genius to have DCI Tyler leave the capital and go to this Northern city to pair up with DS Mills because it creates a chance to naturally provide us with a beautiful description of the city and its surroundings. I love this awesome start to a brand new detective series featuring the grumpy but straightforward DCI Jim Tyler and his DS Danny Mills, who grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and cannot bear to hear anything negative about it from Tyler. At first, Mills has no idea how to handle his new boss and this causes some great dialogues that were enlightening but also humorous and sometimes touching to witness. They make a great duo and I loved their interaction. I already look forward to reading more about both of them. Needless to say, I highly recommend Red is the Colour.

About the Author

Mark L. Fowler Author Image

Mark Fowler is a graduate in philosophy from Leicester University, who lives in Staffordshire, and is currently writing a follow-up to Red Is The Colour. When he isn’t writing he enjoys time with family and friends, watching TV and films, playing guitar/piano and going for long walks.  ‘Coffin Maker’ is the author’s 2014 début novel (my review), in which his interest for psychological thrillers, crime fiction and horror is combined. His other works are the 2015 detective fantasy ‘The Man Upstairs‘ (my review) and the 2016 crime thriller Silver (my review).

Book Info 

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Paperback  266 pages
 Publisher  Bloodhound Books (19 July 2017)
 ISBN  978-1912175420
 eBook  1340 KB (25 July 2017)

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