ISBN 373 pages
First edition, published by Red Dog Press.
Matt Spiller drives a souped-up taxi, suffers from SAD, and has a difficult past.
It’s Christmas Eve, and one of his fares is about to become extremely troublesome.
Helen Spiller still loves her husband, but can no longer live with his moods. She’s a wonderful mum, with a screw quietly working loose in her head.
Now, their eldest daughter has hooked up with a very bad boyfriend.
Spiller thinks he has the skillset to handle all these problems.
He’s dead wrong.
ISBN-10: 1914480791 ISBN-13: 978-1914480799 347 pages
Updated second edition, published by Red Dog Press.
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 will mean the difference between life and death.
ISBN-10: 191158331X ISBN-13: 978-1911583318 381 pages
My third novel, published by Urbane.
Man on a Murder Cycle
ISBN-10: 0340696249 ISBN-13: 978-0340696248 404 pages
My second novel, published hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton and paperback by Hodder's New English Library.
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 and paperback by Hodder's New English Library.
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.
Praise for VETERAN AVENUE
"Terrific page turner."
Oliver Holt, Chief Sports Writer for The Mail on Sunday
I had to include these 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!"
"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."
"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."
Two reviews from GoodReads (16 ratings in total, with an overall score of 4.63 out of 5)
"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. I feel that Mark Pepper (who is definitely going on my 'to read' list) creates characters that you are familiar with and you get a sense of without him explicitly pointing out the good and bad traits ... I loved this book and I would definitely recommend it. "
"I saved this as my holiday read and was hooked, the only time it left my hands was when my grumbly tum indicated that I needed to eat. There are some great twists and turns and just when you think you know where the story is going, Mark Pepper makes you hit the next bend at 100mph .... in another direction. Very, very entertaining read, highly recommended."
"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."
"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."
5-star 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."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
Three 5-star Amazon reviews:
"Goodness, what a book! I thoroughly enjoyed it from the very first page where we meet one of the main characters and what transpires to be the main focus of the story ... With the supernatural element and a little horror mixed in at times I could easily have been reading a Stephen King novel. The author's writing skills are second to none and he knows exactly how to engage the reader with his fast paced chapters, unexpected twists and turns and the right amount of supernatural elements to keep you on your toes ... Mark Pepper is an actor turned author who has a remarkable writing talent and I will certainly be looking out for more work by him in the future. A fabulous 5 stars and then some!"
"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."
"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."
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.”