We first mentioned Mark L Fowler’s quirky and distinctive homage to the golden age detective almost a year ago, and are delighted to hear that The Man Upstairs is getting greater exposure now to introduce it to a wider audience. Mark has written several standalone novels which explore the darker side of life, as well as more than a hundred short stories. You’ll find his fiction lurking in the boundaries between crime and mystery, psychological thrillers and gothic / horror fiction.
Mark’s first published novel, Coffin Maker, is a gothic tale set between our world and the Kingdom of Death. In the Kingdom the Coffin Maker lives a solitary existence, and every coffin he completes signals the end of a life in our world. One day he discovers that he is to be sent two apprentices, amid rumours that the devil is arriving on Earth.
In The Man Upstairs we meet Frank Miller, who is himself the hero of the best-selling mystery novels written by… The Man Upstairs. Frank works the weird streets of Chapeltown as a private detective. During the legendary case of the Black Widow everything changed when Frank became aware of his fictional existence. Proclaimed at the time as a work of genius, Frank wonders if it was the first sign that The Man Upstairs was sick.
A new case, involving the death of a care worker and coinciding with the appointment of Chapeltown’s first elected mayor, has Frank baffled. The Man Upstairs appears to be losing the plot, giving the womanising Frank a steady girlfriend who warns him that to survive he must change from the tired cliché that he has become. As the case darkens Frank recognises the depth of his creator’s sickness. His days are numbered as clearly as the pages in the books in which he features. The looming battle with the Mayor of Chapeltown is nothing less than the battle to save himself, his girl, the series – and the mind of The Man Upstairs. Here’s what we thought of it.
Red Is The Colour is Mark’s latest project, a crime mystery featuring two police detectives based in Staffordshire. The case involves the grim discovery of the corpse of a schoolboy who went missing thirty years earlier. Red Is The Colour is the first in a series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills, and will be published in July. Looking forward to it already!