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Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of over thirty novels and twelve short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes. His latest books are the sinister comedy-thriller ‘Plastic’, the memoir ‘Film Freak’ and the haunted-house novel ‘Nyctophobia’. Other work includes the ‘War of the Worlds’ videogame, a graphic novel and a Hammer horror radio play. He has a weekly column in The Independent On Sunday. He spends his time between London and Barcelona..
Christopher Fowler was the winner of the CWA Dagger in the Library 2015.
One year later, in an exclusive London crescent, a woman walks her dog - but she's being watched. When she's found dead, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. Why? Because the method of death is odd, the gardens are locked, the killer had no way in - or out - and the dog has disappeared. So a typical case for Bryant & May. But the hows and whys of the murder are not the only mysteries surrounding the dead woman - there's a missing husband and a lost nanny to puzzle over too. And it seems very like that the killer is preparing to strike again. As Arthur Bryant delves in to the history of London's 'wild chambers' - its extraordinary parks and gardens, John May and the rest of the team seem to have caused a national scandal. If no-one is safe then all of London's open spaces must be closed...With the PCU placed under house arrest, only Arthur Bryant remains at liberty - but can a hallucinating old codger catch the criminal and save the unit before it's too late?
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Fowler is one of the hidden treasures of popular fiction, equally at ease writing horror, idiosyncratic cop investigations with his increasingly popular Bryant and May series , SF or even affectionate memoirs about the bookish life that brought him to writing. His new novel is a sheer delight, a sly nod to J.G. Ballard's magical Vermilion Sands series, a surrealistic resort where everything and anything could happen. Fowler's equally exotic locale is actually Dubai, but not as we know it, as a set of children begin to disappear from a luxury hotel, against a background of migrant worker abuse. With subtle elements of horror borrowed from THE STEPFORD WIVES , THE WIZARD OF OZ and ROSEMARY'S BABY , his left of field thriller flatters to deceive in the way Fowler succeeds in dragging a harsh reality into a tale of artifices in an artificial land. Rewarding. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
It's a fresh start for the Met's oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that's not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt...Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls...Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere - it's even discovered hidden in the PCU's offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial. Rich in strange characters and steeped in London's true history, this is Bryant & May's most peculiar and disturbing case of all.
It's a fresh start for the Met's oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that's not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt...Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls. Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere - it's even discovered hidden in the PCU's offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial. Rich in strange characters and steeped in London's true history, this is Bryant & May's most peculiar and disturbing case of all.
It's the late 1970s and 20-something. Christopher Fowler is a film freak, obsessively watching lousy films in run-down fleapit cinemas. He longs to be a famous screenwriter and put his dreams on the big screen. And so he heads for Wardour Street, Britain's equivalent of Hollywood. But he's made a spectacular mistake, arriving just as the nation's filmmakers are falling to their knees, brought low by the arrival of video and the destruction of the old movie palaces. The only films being made are smutty low budget farces and TV spinoffs and instead of being asked to write another 'Bullitt', he's churning out short films advertising boilers and nylon sheets. Somehow, against the odds, he finds success - although in a very different guise to the one he expected. From the sticky Axminster of the local cinema to the red carpet at Cannes, Film Freak is a grimly hilarious and acutely observed trawl through the arse-end of the British film industry that turns into an ultimately affecting search for friendship and happiness.
When Robert Kramer's new young wife goes to check on their baby boy, she finds the nursery door locked from the inside. Breaking in, the Kramers are faced with an open window, an empty cot, and a grotesque antique puppet of Mr Punch lying on the floor. It seems that young Noah Kramer was thrown from the building, but the child was strangled, and the marks of the puppet's hands are clearly on his throat ...what's more, there was a witness. It's a perfect case for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. As John May and his team interrogate the guests, Arthur Bryant heads into the secret world of automata and stagecraft, illusions and effects. His suspicions fall on the staff of Kramer's company, who have been employed to stage a gruesome new thriller in the West End. As a second impossible death occurs, the detectives uncover forgotten museums and London eccentrics, and take a trip to a seaside Punch & Judy show. Then Bryant's biographer suddenly dies. Was it a tragic accident, or could the circumstances of her death be related to the case? There's just one hour left to solve the crime, but Bryant has buried himself away with his esoteric books. The stage is set for a race against time with a surprising twist...
July 2011 Book of the Month. Once again Christopher Fowler has dished up a terrifically riveting story that fans of Bryant and May can't fail to love both for the well wrought characters but also the clever plot line. For those considering dipping into this series then to appreciate the brilliance of this author you should go back to one of the earlier titles. Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit have been given just one week to find a killer they'd caught once before. he's a young man called Mr Fox and somewhat of an enigma. British fiction's most enigmatic detectives since Holmes & Watson return in their eighth wickedly entertaining and intriguing investigation...
The seventh novel to feature the eccentric London detectives Bryant and May, and this is just as strange and compelling as the others. These books are a joy to read, clever, humorous, sensitive, informative and exciting. They also make you look at England’s capital city in a whole new way …. This plot contains the twists and red herrings we’ve come to expect and the characters we’ve come to love. The writing is a wonderful mix of pace and intelligence which appeals on many levels. I can’t recommend it enough. Comparison: Tim Davys (Amberville), Jasper Fforde (Nursery Crimes series), Malcolm Pryce (Aberystwyth series).
A charming memoir of this wonderful writer’s childhood. It has much in common with Bill Bryson’s Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Fowler is English, Bryson American, but both seem to have evolved from similar roots, discovering the fantastic escapism of comic books and eventually graduating to writing for themselves. This is a beautiful, nostalgic look at what makes a writer and an easy, enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
Bryant and May, like Holmes and Watson, Morse and Lewis or Poirot and Hastings are a detailed and engaging pair. This time they investigate a murder in connection with a pub that does not exist. Part fascinating London history, part social commentary, wholly enjoyable, this, like all Fowler’s mysteries, keeps you guessing and leaves you longing for the next one. If you don’t know this cantankerous pair it is time you were introduced. Comparison: Reginald Hill, Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently series), Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes).
Bryant and May, like Holmes and Watson or Poirot and Hastings, are both compelling characters in their own right, but together they form one of fiction’s most pleasing duos. All Fowler’s books are intelligent and well-written but in Bryant and May he gives us more than that. I look forward to each one eagerly and greet it as an old friend. This is the fifth in the series, each of which can be read alone or out of order, but which are most satisfying when followed chronologically. Spiritualism and police work collide in this enthralling and entertaining tale from one of our best writers. A real gem. Comparison: Malcolm Pryce, Jeff Lindsay, Christopher Brookmyre
If you want something a little different, beautifully written and full of surprises, then this crime series is for you. We featured the paperback of The Water Room earlier this month. They feature a couple of wonderfully cantankerous old school detectives, Bryant and May, stumbling around in a fast-moving, modern world, they are the Metâ€™s Peculiar Crime Unit which really says it all. I think he is great.Comparison: Colin Dexter, Robert Goddard, John Harvey
If you want something a little different, beautifully written and full of surprises, then this new crime series (this is the second) is for you. Starring a couple of wonderfully cantankerous old school detectives, Bryant and May, stumbling around in a fast-moving, modern world, they are the Met’s Peculiar Crime Unit which really says it all. I think he is great.Comparison: Colin Dexter, Robert Goddard, John Harvey.Similar this month: None but try Kate Ellis.
RED GLOVES 1: DEVILRY - THE LONDON HORRORSThe first collection contains stories set in London, where deceptively ordinary events like an evening in a pub or a night on the town have terrifying consequences. Here you'll find hauntings, revenges, murders, monstrosities, redemptions, and the dark hands of the urban night reaching out to seize the unwary. And to top it off, there's a short story featuring disreputable detectives Bryant & May.RED GLOVES 2: INFERNAL - THE WORLD HORRORSThe second collections comprises stories set in exotic locations around the world. Once more, deceptively ordinary events and occasions - a holiday in the Far East or a trip to the French Riviera, for example - cause terrifying fates to unfold. Here, innocent travellers find themselves confronting accidents, tragedies, murders, nightmares and epiphanies as they wander far from home. And again, there's a short story featuring those misfits from the Peculiar Crimes Unit, detectives Bryant & May.
Christopher Fowler s latest collection contains fourteen stories in new formats that have never been published in print collections, including a play, two SF tales, a historical-supernatural story, some that began life inside other novels, only to be cut or rewritten, and morphed into tales like The Scent Of Roses , together with several that have not seen the light of day in any form. Now they all have finally found their place in Frightening
Strange things don't only happen when you are asleep. They happen in daylight, in crowded cities, even in the countryside. Things that seem innocent one minute are demonized the next, and here are seventeen stories to prove it.A journalist spends a nerve-wracking weekend in the company of Hitler and his Nazi supremos. A tropical holiday takes a nasty turn thanks to a troupe of monkeys; and a waitress challenges a sinister customer in an all-night diner. A tailor plots to escape his execution; London is overrun with rats; serial killers fall in love; and revenge backfires on the unfaithful. As our lives and deaths grow ever stranger, housewives, students and executives all find themselves in situations that become increasingly disturbing. Fowler's powerful narratives are subtly affecting and make you think twice about the way you look at the world around you.
A hotel offers a taboo service for its troubled clients.A young man must wind a thousand clocks before sunset.A vampire library attacks its readers.A shy young man loses a dog and discovers the cutlery of the Marquis de Sade.A lottery winner soon wishes he hadn't won.Deranged office workers take over a building
A teacher loses one of her pupils somewhere in the London Underground.A catwalk model reveals the grisly secret of looking good.Slacker friends are forced into action over an accidental murder.A bomb's aftershock is felt fifty years later.Sex toys become instruments of fate.The suburbs are besieged, star scandals are revealed, epic tragedy turns to triumph and a cry for help flares briefly in the night...Black comedy, high farce, dark revelations...they all go to make up Christopher Fowler's mind-blowing collection of immoral tales.
A geologist trapped int a town without water is lured into a desperate escape plan. A boy plans a murder in an eerie funfair. A cop witnesses an inexplicable plague of madness. A teenager learns a deadly trick with his mobile phone. A woman unlocks a childhood secret with the aid of old comic books. A secret museum opens only at night...OLD DEVIL MOON is Christopher Fowler's tenth collection of uniquely disturbing short stories, and contains the blackest humour and the darkest fears, set in worlds we walk through each day but rarely see.
In every detective's life there are cases that can't be discussed, and throughout the Bryant & May novels there have been mentions of some of these such as the Deptford Demon or the Little Italy Whelk Smuggling Scandal. Now Arthur Bryant has decided to open the files on eleven of these previously unseen investigations that required the collective genius and unique modus operandi of Arthur Bryant and John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit - investigations that range from different times (London during the Great Smog) and a variety of places: a circus freak show, on board a London Tour Bus and even a yacht off the coast of Turkey. And in addition to these eleven classic cases, readers are also given a privileged look inside the Peculiar Crimes Unit (literally, with a cut away drawing of their offices), a guide to the characters of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, and access to the contents of Arthur Bryant's highly individual library.
Kay Goodwin is a sixteen-year-old boy with a smart mouth and too much imagination. Marooned in the rundown seaside resort of Cole Bay, his life is a horrible comedy of errors that has trapped him in the country's most dismal place at the worst possible time - the early seventies. He dreams of escaping the crumbling pier and the grumbling pensioners, of finding where he is appreciated, but it's the one thing he can't do. Until he discovers a faraway land with characters who are impossibly exotic, but strangely familiar. In the kingdom of Calabash he can have everything he's ever wanted from life. There's only one small problem. Calabash doesn't actually exist.In an England that's still hungover from the sixties, Kay finds it all too easy to retreat from reality. Everyone in Cole Bay expects him to conform, but Kay is prepared to risk everything to find out what makes him different, what his life really holds, and what will happen if he believes in the impossible...Christopher Fowler's warm-hearted, dryly comic novel takes place at the most painful point of growing up, when childhood dreams are abandoned for hard truths, and everyone gets one last chance to be free.
'Something had been released into the night streets. It moved unnoticed and sucked the life from people. It caused slow painful death, but even those who could sense its presence were too scared to admit it was there. And now, with quiet deliberation, it was heading for the street where I lived.'Red Hellion lives opposite the creepy, tightly locked Torrington Park, or 'Viper's Green'. Walking home from school one day he meets Max, who is trying to break in. Before he knows it, Red finds himself sucked into Max's plans to discover the whereabouts of his father, who disappeared weeks before under sinister circumstances connected with the park. But neither Max nor Red realize just how much their lives are at risk. Their investigations into the park are linked to the terrible the legend of Medusa, and are about to lead them into horrific danger...
Across London people are dying in apparently unconnected freak accidents. Further investigation reveals that secreted on some of the bodies are strips of paper carrying angular, indecipherable hieroglyphics: their meaning unknown.To his horror, advertising executive Harry Buckingham is linked with several of the victims. He is soon avoiding the police and following his own investigation. He discovers a multinational company combining sophisticated technology with ancient mythology. They call it confrontational marketing. Harry calls it pure evil.It seems that the Devil may be at large in the nation's capital . . . and only a handful of people can stop the most hostile takeover bid of all time.
Welcome to Soho, London's creative square mile, a bedlam of business and backstabbing, where dreams are manufactured and office workers get off their faces. A place where being a celebrity means treating every day as your last.Movie executive, Richard Tyler, is strung out, stressed up and sinking fast. He owes money to film-freak thugs, thanks to debts stacked up by his card-charging girlfriend, who has been shagging his belligerent boss, who has just fired him.Could things get any worse?During one particularly hypertense evening Richard drops dead in the middle of a fashionable Soho bar. What happens next mortifies his friends and horrifies his enemies, as Richard's lifestyle of power-lunches and parties changes overnight into a fast-track trip into career hell...
John Chapel is a statistician's dream: he's twenty-nine, has a loving wife and son, a comfortable home, and a promising career. Then he meets the stunningly beautiful, mysterious Ixora, and his life starts to change disturbingly.He first sees her running across the rainswept steps of Waterloo Station. When they meet again, Ixora denies having been there. Odder still, John discovers her in a film containing exactly the same sequence. So begins a dreamlike relationship that escalates into a nightmare.Despite his good intentions, John finds himself embarking on a passionate affair. But violence and death track the ill-fated couple as John risks his home, his career and his life to save Ixora from a horrific destiny. Now the subject of a police investigation, he finds himself trapped in a vortex of spreading evil which may claim his very soul...First published in the early 90s, Red Bride confirmed Fowler's place at the vanguard of modern horror fiction.
After this city hits midnight, everyone becomes equal. That's when anything can happen.It's 2 am and Vincent Reynolds is running for his life through the stormswept London streets. He's discovered a secret and wants to tell the world - if he can stay alive until dawn.His adversary - an English gentleman obsessed with puzzles, playing his deadliest game. His allies - a motley crew of insomniacs, misfits and street people. His only hope - to discover the solutions to ten lethal challenges that will lead him, from dusk till daybreak, through the nightlife of a secret city hidden even to its inhabitants.
The cruel and heartless hand of the urban planner forced fourteen-year-old Billy March and his family to leave their home in the city and settle in the suburban new town of Invicta Cross. Initial prospects for a fresh start soon dashed, Billy watched as his family was destroyed by petty-minded and hostile neighbours. Though he managed to befriend a young girl as damaged as himself, he experienced pain that changed his life forever.Ten years later, as Invicta Cross is voted Britain's Favourite New Town, a smart young married couple move into the area. Glamorous and wealthy, they're instantly popular with the neighbours. Then the vicious pranks begin... As one neighbour after another goes missing, no one suspects that the perfect couple in Balmoral Close might know something more than they're telling. Then a suspicious reporter sets out to discover the truth.Psychoville is a suburban nightmare that delves behind the net curtains to reveal the truth about housewives, bloodstains and the damage you can inflict with a Morphy Richards iron.
You won't see them unless you know where to look...High above London's teeming streets exists a timeless universe with laws and codes known only to itself. Suspended in the skies by a complex system of cables and wires, two rival factions prepare to do battle for control of their world and the eventual manipulation of the city below...Welcome to Roofworld. Rose, a beautiful, feisty, amateur photographer - and Robert, a shy but cynical scriptwriter, witness a rooftop kidnapping by chance. And then they hear of strange rooftop murders that are being discovered almost daily - and they want to know more. But in their clumsy efforts to understand, they become caught up in an intense power struggle between honest seekers of another life and the consummate evil of a power-mad leader in control of society's hopeless. Together, Rose and Robert become inextricably caught up in a violent war among a nearly invisible people who could easily control the future of the world . . .
Martyn Ross had a miserable life until he met Spanky, a tuxedoed chamer who's diabolically handsome, successful and ruthless. He's willing to share his wild world of wine, women and wealth - but at a price. And it has nothing to do with Martyn surrendering his soul.Quite the reverse...