So I actually reviewed The Puppet Show back in May on Goodreads but I never shared it here, so I thought, why not share both my review for The Puppet Show and Black Summer today!
Title: The Puppet Show by M.W Craven
Date Published: 7th June 2018
Genre: Police Procedural
A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .
Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.
As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive ..
So I saw lots of fantastic reviews for The Puppet Show last year so I decided to pick up a copy for myself.
Washington Poe is disgraced, living the simple life in the middle of Cumbria when he gets a call. A man the press dubbed the ‘immolation man’ (yes I had to google what immolation meant. Its clever name, perhaps a little too clever for the press of this country) has carved his name on the chest of his latest victim.
He’s dragged into the case whether he likes it or not and with the help social awkward Tilly Bradshaw, he needs to stop the killer before the body count rises any more.
This really started with a bang, a violent and bloody bang to be accurate!
Washington Poe, is just one of the best names I’ve come across in fiction for a while and suits his character down to the ground. He’s complex and more than a little grumpy but what I loved about him was the way he stood up to bullies particularly the ones picking on poor Tilly.
I also loved the relationship between Poe and Tilly. He accepts her quirks and bluntness which annoy pretty much everyone around her and she seems to be the voice of reason for him. Doesn’t stop him from aggravating his superiors and going off to do risky things but there’s not as much fun if the characters follow the rules is there?
Another enjoyable aspect of the book was the setting of Crumbria, both beautiful and at times a little bleak, it was almost a character in itself.
I have to be honest it did take me a while to really get into this book, I felt after the violent and gripping start the story meandered a little before really getting juicy with a gripping ending.
I’d recommend this to any one who loves a gritty and gruesome serial killer novel with great characters.
Title: Black Summer by M.W Craven
Date Published: 20th June 2019
Genre: Police Procedural
After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .
Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.
So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.
Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?
And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.
So this is the second in the series but it can be easily read as a stand-alone but I suggest if you’ve got the time, you should read the Puppet show too, because it’s such a good book.
Poe’s past comes back to haunt him as Elizabeth Keaton, a young woman he thought dead, turns up at a local library. Her father Jared Keaton has spent six years in jail for her murder. Jared is complete psychopath, out for revenge and he has Poe in his sights.
Elizabeth goes missing, again, Poe is the one and only suspect. Can he clear his name and solve this puzzling mystery?
It’s nice to be back with Poe and Tilly! I absolutely could not get enough of this dark and disturbing sequel, it really kept me on my toes while I was reading it! Dare I say it’s even better than the first book…
I think this series would make a brilliant TV show. It’s got everything, quirky detectives, great setting and intriguing mysteries…what more could you want?
Poe is the type of character that seems to get into trouble no matter what. He is a brilliant detective but has the ability to rub people up the wrong way, specifically police officers, but just can’t help but warm to him.
Like with the first book, I found the beginning a little slow but it soon picked up the pace and had me gripped.
Black Summer is a dark and thrilling mystery that I couldn’t get enough of. I can’t wait to see what this author does next!
About The Author:
M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .
The Puppet Show, the first in a two-book deal he signed with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable in 2017, was released to critical acclaim in hardback in 2018. It has been sold in numerous foreign territories and the production company Studio Lambert, creators of the award-winning Three Girls, have optioned it for TV. The sequel, Black Summer, follows in June 2019.
M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.