Monday 21 January 2019

The Puppet Show by MW Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @BethWright26 #ThePuppetShow

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 by MW Craven is published by Constable (Little Brown) on 24 January 2019, in paperback. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

OK, I'm holding up my hands, and hanging my head a little, in shame. Where have I been? Where has MW Craven been? Why on earth have I only just discovered this author?  I'm well behind the times with this one, but am delighted to have now discovered him.  I read this book with my mouth gaping open at times, holding my breath at others and uttering swear words a plenty along the way.

Set in rural Cumbria, with the strange natural phenomenon that are stone circles at its heart, The Puppet Show is a fast-paced, intricately detailed story that grips from the shocking and jaw-dropping prologue.

Craven's lead characters; Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are an absolute perfect double-act. Poe is a once-disgraced police officer who is tentatively returning to work and Tilly is a civilian officer who is something of a genius with numbers, computer programmes and puzzles. There can't be two characters more like chalk and cheese, yet nerdish Tilly brings out the best in Poe and their relationship is a joy to watch developing throughout the book.

There are a lot of thriller novels around; there are those that really do thrill, there are those that try to thrill, and there are those that don't.  The Puppet Show is a THRILLER, in capital letters, in all its gory, macabre detail and the terrifying Immolation Man who is taking middle-aged men to the stone circles and burning them alive.

It's a long time since I've been quite this excited about a new series, but I am desperate to read the next one (Black Summer, published June 2019). The Puppet Show is intelligently written, with a dash of wit and humour, and a great deal of fine and detailed crime solving. I had no idea where this would go, and the shocking and totally unexpected reveal is a wonderful thing.

Bravo MW Craven, this is a spellbinding read. Dark, disturbing and so very clever. Highly recommended by me.

MW Craven was born in Carlisle, running away to join the army at the 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.
Recently 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.

MW Craven is married and lives in Cumbria with his wife Joanne.
When he isn't out with his springers spaniel or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Find out more at
Twitter @MWCravenUK
Facebook Author Page

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