Hello hello !! I’m delighted to share my thoughts today on two novels!
If you haven’t started the first novel yet, you might as well get both of them at the same time because I highly recommend binge-reading this series! You know sometimes when you read a book in a series you like it but you still want to read something else in between novels, well I didn’t feel any of this, au contraire, I was very happy I didn’t have to say goodbye yet to Poe and Bradshaw and I wouldn’t have minded reading the next one (The Curator!) either. I’ll have to wait almost a year for that now, boohoo.
Anyway, I think you know what’s coming 😉 but here’s what I thought about both novels…
The Puppet Show (Washington Poe Book 1)
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 Puppet Show is a superb police procedural novel! The storyline is very puzzling, with a serial killer at work who seems to want to deliver a message to Washington Poe. Poe’s name is carved on one of the victim’s chests and Poe would hate me for it but god I just love it so much when there’s a personal score to settle. Anyway, Poe feels he doesn’t have much choice so decides to come back to work and catch the ‘Immolation Man’. I never even heard of the word before but then again this guy’s MO is also not so common in novels. I was super intrigued and very happy as well to have learned something new here.
What I really loved about this novel is that it follows the Hansel and Gretel principle (yes it’s my invention but I’m sure you know what I mean). The detectives follow a trail, not breadcrumbs but clues in this case, and one tip leads to the next and that leads to yet another revelation in the investigation and so on. It’s amazing how far you can get this way and especially where it takes you. If you look back and see what the first starting point was and the trail followed felt as if it was going its natural course then you know you have a great read in your hands.
The story in itself is disturbingly splendid and you’ll never be able to guess where the story will lead the detectives. Poe is a very likeable character and with Stephanie Flynn and Tilly Bradshaw he makes a great team. Bradshaw has a very high IQ, she’s a computer whizz and doesn’t know any social skills, and it feels like she’s on the spectrum to me, although it isn’t told as much. Even though they’re almost polar opposites Poe and Bradshaw appreciate one another for who they are, which results in a really great dynamic and it was a pleasure to see them together. I also loved Poe even more when he stood up for her, I’m all #teamPoe!
The story was dark and twisted but nobody needs to feel scared to read it. It’s disturbing like many other books that have some triggers in them but not horrific in my opinion and the killer’s motive was understandable. I was on the edge of my seat towards the ending and I really searched my memory for something I missed in the investigation but my mind felt empty, I couldn’t figure it out. Once it was revealed it all made sense of course but that’s how it always goes. The author still had a nice little cliffhanger ending up his sleeve to make you wonder about Poe’s personal life even more, so when you read this, you better have book 2 on the ready.
If you like police procedurals, you’ll want to read this one!
I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.
Black Summer (Washington Poe Book 2)
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.
‘We have a problem, Poe’. How I love to hear these words now!
I’m forever and more #TeamPoe now.
While I thought The Puppet Show was brilliant, I have to say this novel is possibly even better. The mystery is sooo big in this one! I loved every single page of this thrilling investigation.
Washington Poe has his work cut out in this novel, that’s crystal-clear from the start! A decision of the past is backfiring in an unbelievable way and now they’re coming after him. Don’t we all love to give our support to the underdog, especially if it’s someone as likeable and good as Poe? He had me in his pocket before he even explained the case or his decision to arrest the chef for murdering his daughter.
But did Poe really mess up? Did he help convict someone for murder, someone who’s innocent but spent the last 6 years in prison? And also one of the most intriguing questions that I really wanted to hear the answer to: can the dead become alive again? I only needed a second to answer that one, but something made me bite my tongue this time as everything points to the opposite as it were. Ah I don’t think there’s a single question more intriguing to explore! What a premise! And what a phenomenal execution too.
There were a lot of how’s and why’s in this novel and I loved how complex the case seemed once again. I also very much enjoyed the setting, the novel takes the culinary road this time and it was great to be immersed into the restaurant world. It was all quite interesting (except for the first chapter where someone eats a little bird in a disgusting way) and once again, it took Poe and Bradshaw to very unexpected places.
M.W. Craven has a brilliant mind. Not once but twice already he managed to overwhelm me with setting, characters and murders. The whole picture makes sense, everything in the plot fits. I also secretly love that the novels are a bit darker than usual, and that the murders are quite eh original. That’s all, I’ll let you all find out the rest for yourself :-).
If you enjoy police procedurals, you would be mad to miss this series! It really stands out from the rest and I for one can’t wait to read his next novel.
I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.