Friday 12 June 2020

The Curator by MW Craven @MWCravenUK #BookReview #TheCurator @BethWright26 @TheCrimeVault #TeamPoe #TeamTilly

It's Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6
Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency's Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren't even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn't think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he's dealing with someone far, far worse - a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

The Curator by MW Craven was published by Constable on 4 June 2020 in hardback and ebook, the paperback will be released in December this year. Thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

It is very rare that one author appears twice in my lists of my Top Books of the Year. In 2019, MW Craven did appear twice, with books one and two of the Washington Poe series; The Puppet Show and Black Summer.  Most fans of fiction series have that bit of fear when they pick up the latest in the series, and I'll admit that I really did wonder how this author was going to live up to the two previous books. I really need to trust this guy, in The Curator he was produced another outstanding, cleverly plotted and absolutely compelling story. This really is crime fiction at its very very best and his CWA Gold Dagger Award was very much deserved.

Do please read the first two of this series. You will really benefit from doing so, you'll be party to some of the character background and you will experience at first hand, the incredible development of the relationship between Washington Poe and his sidekick Tilly Bradshaw. I've said it before, but I'm saying it once again, these two are possibly the finest double act in crime fiction today. Two people who on the face of it, couldn't be more different, yet have a working relationship that has blossomed into a firm and really quite beautiful friendship.

Craven's imagination knows no boundary. Poe and Tilly are called in to work on the investigation of what appears to be a serial murder case. No bodies, just six separate fingers, from three different bodies. Some of the digits had been surgically and carefully removed, some were removed whilst the victim was still alive, some were hacked off, probably with blunt scissors.

With meticulous and precise planning, the reader accompanies Poe and Tilly as they use everything they have to solve this case. Input from an American FBI Agent and Tilly's incredible intelligence makes them realise that this is no ordinary case, and they are on the hunt for The Curator.

Craven's use of landscape and weather is one of his most brilliant touches. Poe's remote cottage located in windswept and desolate Cumbria, along with biting cold, rain and blinding snowstorms adds a tension that is absolutely nail biting in parts. It's often nature that puts up the biggest barriers and in this case, it does and with what could turn out to be the difference between saving a life or losing a key player in the plot.

It is absolutely clear that this author researches his subject so very well, his revelations about the dark web and the 'games' that some people play are both terrifying and absorbing. Not only does the reader get a damn fine crime thriller, they are also learning too. I'll admit to holding my breath many times and also actually gasping out loud at others.

Masterful and quite brilliant, this is an extraordinary story. It is an intelligent and  exhilarating read. Craven has done it again. Another pitch perfect addition to this top class series. Now I need the next one please.

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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