Tuesday, 16 June 2020

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe #1) - M. W. Craven


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...


What did I think?

I had heard so many people raving about The Puppet Show that I bought two copies; one for me and one for a gift.  I was so confident that it was going to be good that it's the first time a recipient has read the book before me.  Actually, 'good' isn't a word I'd use to describe The Puppet Show; it's far too mediocre.  Exceptional, outstanding and magnificent come closer to describing how completely brilliant it is.

I love how it's a DS Washington Poe book but it is his soon-to-be civilian partner, Tilly Bradshaw, we are introduced to first.  I've always been described as very literal so I loved Tilly right from the start; she even loves numbers as much as me!  Tilly takes literal to the extreme, however, but it just makes her more endearing.  It's absolute genius to pair her with Poe, a gruff Northerner who pushes (and oversteps) the boundaries to see justice served.  After stepping so far over the line he couldn't see it with binoculars, Poe finds himself brought back from suspension when a serial killer runs rampage in Cumbria.

Written in a refreshing no-nonsense way, M. W. Craven tells it like it is in this outstanding first instalment of the Washingon Poe series.  With his dogged determination and disregard for authority, you can't help but compare Washington Poe to Harry Bosch.  Poe is definitely someone that Bosch would like and admire, and Bosch could maybe even learn a thing or two from him.

This has to be one of the best starts to a series I have ever read and if the only way is up, then I can't wait to read more of the Washington Poe series.  Luckily, at the time of writing, I already have the next two instalments waiting impatiently on my Kindle.  Absolutely superb, The Puppet Show isn't just my book of the year, it's my book of the decade.  It's well deserving of a full 5 stars and then some.  So very highly recommended, it's a book that you won't be able to put down and a series to which you can't wait to return.

My rating:


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