18 June 2019

The Puppet Show

book cover of The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven

By M. W. Craven

Paperback 368 Pages
Publisher Constable (24th Jan 2019)

'Washington Poe is a name destined to be spoken by crime fiction enthusiasts everywhere: Britain's answer to Harry Bosch. The Puppet Show is a wickedly, twisting and turning, mystery that will have readers breathlessly turning the pages until the final shocking conclusion.' Matt Hilton, author of the Joe Hunter series

📕My Review

Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are two names worth remembering for all the right reasons. He's a discredited detective currently suspended from the police force and she's a socially awkward civilian analyst with intellect and aptitude beyond her age.

Poe is reluctantly called back to work when a third corpse turns up; blackened and burnt with 'Washington Poe' carved into the remains. With the killer sending him a personal message and his life now evidently in danger, Poe teams up with Bradshaw to uncover the killer's identity and end his reign of terror.

Being a massive fan and advocate of British crime fiction, I was looking forward to The Puppet Show with great anticipation. My verdict? I was very pleasantly surprised. The two main protagonists - Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw - are brilliant. His brute force combined with her naivety and intellect was a winning formula. With the action taking place in Cumbria, the storyline felt fresh and original. The author's local knowledge being yet another highlight.

The Puppet Show is a twisty, suspenseful, macabre ride. With great characterisation and a thrilling finale, this is definitely the beginning of a new series with great promise.   

Book Source: Purchased copy
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Other Reviews:
Black Summer

📗The Blurb

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...

📘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.

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