The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven #1 Washington Poe
Welcome to the Puppet Show . . .
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 the first novel in a new series (I hope). It features DS Washington Poe and civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw. The duo compliment each other perfectly and it truly makes this a fantastic new series. Where Poe is brash and rugged, Tilly is socially awkward, yet intelligent and direct.
I can’t praise the creation of Poe and Tilly enough!
The novel opens with a scene of a man being set alight. It sets the tone for the nature of the crimes detailed within the novel. This is no Nancy Drew, the murders and are dark and they are brutal.
The press name the killer the ‘Immolation Man’ and the victims begin to stack up!
Washington Poe is currently residing in Cumbria, serving out a suspension, from his last case a violent torture/murder case that saw Poe lose his rag!
When DI Stephanie Flynn informs him, his name was carved into the chest of one of the victims. If he doesn’t help the team, they have to issue him an Osman warning as his life is at risk. . .
‘I need you to re-join the human race’ – Steph
The novel then goes on to detail all the victims and the savage murders that took place. It is not for the faint hearted! As said above these are violent murders. But the novel does focus more on the skills of the detectives than scenes of graphic violence.
Matilda (Tilly) Bradshaw obtained her first degree at Oxford University at just 16yrs old. Since then she has acquired a masters and two PHD’s. she specialises in computers and mathematics. She has virtually zero social skills and is routinely bullied by fellow police staff. Something Poe does not take kindly too.
Poe and Tilly attempt to fathom a connection between the victims. They are all wealthy men, of the same age and were staked and burnt in the exact same manner. Yet they struggle to establish what links these men.
Then Poe receives a postcard, with a sinister message. . .
The message leads the police to a case from the past. How this ties into the current murders they are not sure. Did someone make a mistake in a past case? Do the murders have a revenge theme? If so who is targeting Poe? And why?
This is a brilliant debut novel, with a phenomenal ending! I very much look forward to the rest of the series and I can see it having a long and prosperous life.
I applaud the author on his usage of inclusive characters. I am a huge fan of Tilly Bradshaw and can’t wait to watch her develop throughout the series! 5*