Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Mark L Fowler

I've worked my way through this author's work over my holidays and it's been a huge pleasure. I love his style and the fact that all his books are different. So many clones about!

The Man Upstairs

My review -

Frank Miller is a private investigator and hero of a successful series of crime novels set in the small town of Chapeltown. He's currently looking into the death of a girl working for Chapeltown Angels, apparently a  group of carers. The Angels are not what they seem, and the mayor of Chapeltown is up to his fat neck in monkey business. Part way through this successful series, Frank becomes aware that he and his whole world are the product of the imagination of The Man Upstairs, the author of the books. He realises that his creator is sick - and this could result in Frank's death.

This is a really unusual premise for a novel. The style is reminiscent of the wise-cracking detective of American literature of the last century. It's a spoof and it's fun but if you let yourself be drawn into the story you share with Frank the worry, at times panic, that the series may suddenly end with his death. He needs to persuade his author that he can change, that the stories aren't stale. To do that, he comes up against the thug of a mayor. This story really makes you think about the meaning of existence, personality, character development and what it means to create. Don’t let that make it sound very serious, though. It’s great fun and a hugely refreshing change from what you might call the standard detective story. I really enjoyed it.

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