Man Down by Mark Pepper

Blog tour: 22 to 26 February 2022


All he has to do is step up.

Matt Spiller drives a souped-up taxi, suffers from SAD, and has a troublesome past.

It’s Christmas Eve, and one of his fares is about to become extremely problematic.

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.

My review

Man Down tells the story of 43-year-old taxi driver, Matt Spiller, who is rather struggling in life. He’s estranged from his wife, Helen, and misses his children, Samantha (17) and Sophie (6). He’s depressed, suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is an insomniac.

It’s a snowy Christmas eve and Spiller picks up a fare who he later finds out is called Emma. He has a rather unconventional car as his taxi – an Audi S5 Sportback! He drops Emma off at a local park just before midnight and then has to intervene when she is approached by two youths wearing dark clothes, with their hoods up. He ends up teaching them a lesson!

The following morning, after a bad night’s sleep, as usual, Spiller heads to the former family home to see his children for a few hours on Christmas Day. He’s late and his wife isn’t amused, especially as their daughter, Sammy, is missing. She has a new, older boyfriend (of two weeks!) and hasn’t been home since the previous day.

When a tearful Sammy finally turns up a few days later, the police have already been informed and they tell Spiller that his daughter’s 28-year-old boyfriend, Callum Ward, is well known to them and big trouble.

And that’s all I’m going to say about the plot because you really need to read the book yourself to experience this action-packed story, which doesn’t let up! There are certainly some weird and wonderful moments, as well as some rather gory scenes!

I loved the main character, Matt Spiller, who has a great wry sense of humour and, despite the grittiness and violence, the book contains some very funny lines and comments! His wife, Helen, is an intriguing character with ‘a screw quietly working loose in her head’ and Sammy is brave and resilient despite experiencing a torrid time at the hands of her boyfriend.

Overall, I really enjoyed Man Down – it was entertaining, gripping and crazy, in a good way! The story was well written and cleverly plotted with some brilliant twists and turns and a few red herrings. It was unpredictable and fast paced, with lots of action and tension, and I never knew what was going to happen next! I was holding my breath at certain points, willing Spiller and his family to be safe!

When I began reading the book, I had no idea how it was all going to pan out and I could never have guessed the chain of events that would occur! There were a few strands to the story and it was interesting how they all intertwined, with Matt flitting between several groups of menacing and disturbing characters, trying to avoid getting harmed! Little does he know exactly what he’s involved in – there were definitely some startling revelations throughout the book!

Man Down was an excellent read and I’ve already purchased the author’s other novel, Veteran Avenue, which was republished by Red Dog Press in September 2021.

Buy the book

Man Down by Mark Pepper can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback and paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and Google Books. Purchase the hardback, paperback and eBook directly from the Red Dog Press online shop.

About the author

Mark lives in Manchester with his wife of 30 years, Jeannifer, and his daughter, Jade.

In his day job, Mark is an intelligence analyst for a financial regulator in Washington DC. He is a qualified secondary school drama teacher, and worked as an actor for 15 years, having graduated from RADA in 1990. 

His first two novels, The Short Cut and Man on a Murder Cycle, were published by Hodder & Stoughton, and his third, Veteran Avenue, originally published by Urbane and now by Red Dog Press. Veteran Avenue, is mainly set in LA, and is currently being developed as a TV series by the actor Warren Brown. 

Twitter: @PepSixSix
Facebook: Mark Pepper

Blog tour

Thanks to Sean Coleman at Red Dog Press for my digital copy of Man Down and for my place on the blog tour.


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