THE BOOKS

 

Veteran Avenue

ISBN-10: 191158331X   ISBN-13: 978-1911583318      381 pages

My third novel, published September 14th 2017 by Urbane Publications.

1978. On vacation from England, eight-year-old John Frears is befriended by a stranger in the Oregon wilderness and stolen away from his parents. After a bizarre hour spent in a log cabin, he is sent back with a picture of a young girl. 

2013. Since leaving the military, John Frears has been drifting, unable to settle. Then he gets word that a funeral is taking place in Los Angeles. Donnie Chester, fellow veteran of the first Gulf War, has been shot dead. They barely knew each other but it's a good excuse to visit the States. He can pay his respects then go sightseeing. It is a simple plan, in keeping with his life to date. 

But John's life is about to become more complicated than he could ever imagine. The mysterious event from his childhood crashes into the present, and his actions could mean the difference between life and death.


 

Man on a Murder Cycle

ISBN-10: 0340696249   ISBN-13: 978-0340696248      404 pages

 

My second novel, published hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton in 1997 and paperback by Hodder's New English Library in 1998. 

 

Tom Roker's first novel was an instant bestseller. Since then he has written four more books - none of which has been published. Sadly, it seems his talent was a brief illusion.

 

Now, at last, he is making a comeback. Man on a Murder Cycle is a blockbuster. The dark tale of Milton, a vengeful biker, it perfectly recaptures the unique mood of his debut.

 

It's just a shame he didn't write it himself.

 

But the real author is dead and Tom has covered his tracks, so the trivial matter of who wrote what can be overlooked.

 

Until, in accordance with the stolen plot, people start dying. Despatched by a mad man on a big bike.

 

 

 

The Short Cut 
ISBN-10: 0340682205   ISBN-13: 978-0340682203     291 pages
 
My first novel, published hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton in 1996 and paperback by Hodder's New English Library in 1997.
 
When Nathan Lake won a place at RADA he reckoned he was halfway to Hollywood. Twelve years later, he's out of work, bitter, broke and alone.
 
Not to worry, because Conrad Dreave is in town and Conrad Dreave can fix things.
 
He calls himself an agent but he's so much more.
 
He won't take commission. But he will take his cut.
The Reviews
 

Praise for VETERAN AVENUE 

I had to include these first two reviews in their entireties.

"If ever there was a book destined to be made into a movie it's this one - "Veteran Avenue" by actor turned author Mark Pepper. After just finishing reading an excellent thriller myself I couldn't believe another would come along quite so soon but this has blown that one out of the water!! Entertaining, intriguing, full of tension, suspenseful with excellent solid characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this impressive story and really felt bereft when I'd finished reading it, I so wanted to just keep on reading and reading!

In 1978 on vacation from England, eight-year-old John Frears is befriended by a stranger in the Oregon wilderness and stolen away from his parents. After a bizarre hour spent in a log cabin, he is sent back unharmed with a photo of a young girl and told to always protect it. We then jump to 2013 and the mysterious event from John's past crashes into the present and could mean the difference between life and death. However, this is only one layer to the story and with many more revealed along the way it's impossible to discuss it without spoiling it for the reader.


I knew from the very first chapter that this was going to be an addictive page turner and I wasn't proved wrong. Such an intriguing opening to a story that leaves you desperate to follow it through. In fact by the end I was emotionally exhausted (in a very good way).


This was without doubt professionally plotted with creative narrative, excellently executed and the way you felt for the realistic characters was just unreal, never have I felt an affinity for so many characters in one story. From my feelings in the very beginning for Chuck and young John, to Dodge suffering from PTSD right through to Laura DeCecco and her determination to protect her family and unborn child, I really felt I knew ALL of the characters personally and truly hope that they may feature in another story in the future.


I can't believe this has been sitting on my bookshelf for so long unread, but now i have read it I can't shout about it enough, you MUST READ this incredible book! I really want this book to reach as many readers as possible it's THAT good!


The author has been quoted as being 'a writer to watch' and I highly agree, I personally would compare this book to any written from well known, bestselling authors, certainly giving them a run for their money. Mark Pepper has written an outstanding adrenaline fuelled book in "Veteran Avenue", I absolutely LOVED it (have you guessed I liked it yet?) and it should be praised from the very highest rooftop!"

5 stars but easily deserves 5 more!"

Miriam Smith on Amazon.co.uk

"I've found it really difficult to write a review of Veteran Avenue: how do I write a review to show how brilliant it is without giving anything away? I've deliberated over it far too long so I'm biting the bullet and attempting a no-spoiler review.

What is so clever about Veteran Avenue is how you take the main character of John to your heart straight away. As an eight year-old he already feels unloved and invisible so when a stranger tempts him away from his parents, John is only too eager to follow. This strange meeting will stay with John for the rest of his life and puts him on a path he doesn't even know he is following. With fate pulling all the strings, John's destiny awaits.

Veteran Avenue is SO SO good. I really wanted to do a review that would do it justice without releasing any spoilers, so I went for a minimalist approach. This is a book that defies genre and will burst out of any box you try to put it in. Whatever your usual genre, you will love Veteran Avenue as it has a bit of everything from the military to romance with a sprinkling of the unexpected.

I firmly believe that life is a journey and we are travelling down a path that is already mapped out for us. John's life is certainly like that, nothing is left to chance and everything is meant to be. Veteran Avenue is Thought-provoking with a capital 'T' and I am encouraging friends and family to read it so I can talk to them about it, as I am positively fit to burst being the only person in my circle to have read it. Mark Pepper has written such an amazing book that it deserves to be sitting at the top of the charts for a long time to come.

If you're looking for something different to read: look no further! I wholeheartedly recommend Veteran Avenue to readers of any genre. It's a book that you will remember long after turning the final page; I know I will never forget it and it deserves every single one of the five stars I have awarded it."

The Book Magnet

"Mark Pepper’s action packed thriller [is] almost Raymond Chandler-esq … The novel’s whole cast of characters are interesting and varied, with strong dialogue that makes this a really easy book to devour. The story is punchy and fast paced … With its quick witted dialogue, engaging characters and well-driven narrative, Veteran Avenue is a great thriller that readers will struggle to put down. I found myself on the verge of reading it again once I’d finished, as I was so entranced by Pepper’s portrayal of John’s adventures."

Dorset Book Detective

"The thing that I loved about this book is that from the first page I was totally gripped. After reading a few not so great books, this finally reignited my love of reading."

GoodReads (This is one of 5 reviews on GoodReads, and 9 ratings in total, with an overall score of 4.89 out of 5)

"A superbly written thriller. Makes me want to read Mark Pepper's earlier novels. Veteran Avenue has great pace, and varied and convincing characters. The plot twists this way and that, and keeps you guessing. A most enjoyable read by a writer clearly in his prime."

Mark Mayes, author 

"From the outset I found this believable (even when it’s unbelievable), cleverly written and with clear but not obtrusive wit. No point in spoiling the plot for you, but praise for this book is underdone. For instance on the cover Time Out are quoted as saying ‘Mark Pepper is a writer to watch’ – maybe, but more to the point, he’s definitely one to read."

Lloyd Pettiford, author

"A fast-paced, suspense thriller with some unexpected twists. Along with the suspense Pepper adds some humor and romance to give it some balance, which worked well."

NetGalley

 

"Loved "Veteran Avenue" for where it took me. If you were to pull on an unexplored thread from your past, where would it lead - somewhere wonderful? Somewhere dangerous? This outstanding novel follows one such journey of discovery. At the center is a love story, wrapped in mystery, bound in suspense, packed with action. The writing is vivid, the characters are sharply drawn, the dialogue is real and full of ironic humor, and the story is tightly woven together. Beneath it all I perceived an undercurrent of commentary on the violence of American life. So well conceived and written, so thoroughly enjoyable."

Raymond Pellecchia, 5 out of 5 stars Amazon review

Praise for MAN ON A MURDER CYCLE 

 

"This is a highly entertaining novel, with a neat, smart plot, some perfectly-executed set-pieces and a fine sense of the ridiculous ... Mark Pepper is a writer to watch."

London Time Out

 

"Fast and compelling ... highly readable and well-plotted, Pepper has written about the unbelievable with conviction and a nice dash of ambivalence."

City Life

 

"Pepper has a distinct take on horror ... Man on a Murder Cycle builds on the promising debut of The Short Cut. A very talented writer."

SFX Magazine

 

"Man on a Murder Cycle is a very clever action thriller, full of twists and turns, skilfully handled, and singles out Mark Pepper as a talent to keep an eye on."

Neil Johnstone of Waterstones Booksellers in the Edinburgh Evening Telegraph

 

"A book which will keep you glued to the edge of your seat."

Peterborough Evening Telegraph

 

"Author or actor, the future looks bright for Mr Pepper."

East Anglian Daily Times

 

"A pacy, scary thriller that oozes tension."

South Wales Argus

 

"Man on a Murder Cycle is a fast read ... entertaining to the last. An assured offering: a peal of heavy-metal thunder!"

Interzone

 

"The opening grabbed me right from the start ... from then on it takes a curious turn; you are unsure whether it is a supernatural thriller or the story of a lunatic out for revenge. I shall not say, as the fun is in the reading ... Mark Pepper has something of a Hutson-esque turn to his descriptions of gruesome happenings. If you like Shaun Hutson, give this one a go, you will be pleasantly surprised."

Booklore

 

Two full five-star Amazon reviews ...

"Exceptional may be a better word. Mark Pepper has written a great book that really does send a chill up your spine. The story of revenge from beyond the grave is not original but the way in which Mr Pepper has written this certainly makes it seem so. If you are a fan of thriller/chillers, you couldn't do much better than this."

and ...

"Bleeding marvellous. I read The Short Cut and then this - while The Short Cut is good, this book is obviously where the author's passions lie -it's very polished, slick, moves quickly and consistently with some nice evil twists. It sucks you into the viewpoint of the hero/antihero in a similar way to Red Dragon and you can start to understand and empathize with the main character. Very involving, a very good read."

Amazon.co.uk

In response to a GoodReads request asking: “What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year, and how did you discover or decide to read it?”

“Man on a murder cycle by @WritermanMark . I found it in a second hand book shop and loved it so much i bought a copy for my brother, he is dyslexic bullied at school because of it and vowed never to pick a book up again. He loved it and now has a new found love of books.”

Praise for THE SHORT CUT
 
"Mark Pepper has had the good sense to write what he knows. It's a tight, readable debut, with some good sarky dialogue and a few choice insights into the actor's world."
London Time Out
 
"A first-class piece of fast-paced sexy horror."
Samhain
 
"A speedy, scary and sexy thriller told with great style and wit. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride!"
Lancashire Evening Post 
 
"A chilling tale of temptation and the devil. Imaginative stuff."
Manchester Evening News 
 
"Mark Pepper is a new author to watch out for."
Peterborough Evening Telegraph 
 
"A modern tale of Faustian sex and designer horror. Highly appealing."
The Bookseller 
 
"Mark Pepper is a funny guy. Not often do I come across a horror novel that induces me to laugh so hard there are actual tears soaking my cheeks. The Short Cut is one such novel ... It cracks along at a terrific pace ... Pepper loads the narrative with an insider's view of the industry almost as fascinating as the plot itself. Characterisations are sharp and effective, and his dry wit supremely enjoyable ... Mark Pepper has made a wonderful, buoyant, and very different contribution to the genre."
Richard Wright - from an internet bookstore review
 
 
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