Where do I begin? Perhaps with the captivatingly gruesome opening. The attention to detail in putting the fear of hell into both me and the ‘old man’, was astounding. My heart stopped at one point, so the need to see justice served overwhelmed me, which meant there was only one thing I had to do… carry on reading.
‘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…’
Craven is certainly a creative intellect when it comes to storytelling. You can feel within the words, the research and imagination that has gone into the The Puppet Show; from how an investigation works, through to historical information, right down to the nitty gritty of the actual storyline itself. It is exciting. It is traumatising (in a good way!). But most of all, it is fabulous to see some incredibly unique characters being put to good use.
Washington Poe is the kind of man that will call your bluff. He knows what he wants, and he knows exactly what he needs to do to get to where he needs to be to solve a crime. What I do want from Poe though is a novella (or full blown novel!) of his backstory and the full tale of why he is a ‘disgraced detective’. Craven touches on this subject slightly, but my need to know everything is taking over a little… and I need to know more!
Tilly is a tremendous sidekick. Way better than what Robin is to Batman. She is brilliant and Poe couldn’t be without her. There is no Poe without Tilly, full stop. Tilly is what you would class as a genius. She is a data analyst working at the NCA, and sees the world in a different light to what most of us do as she is on the autism spectrum. She takes things literally, is incredibly gullible sometimes, but she lives in this little bubble that makes you just love her.
These two characters could host a whole range of books, and I just hope that Craven has it in him to see it through, of which I have no doubt of course, otherwise Fiona Sharp at Waterstones Durham will be gunning for him that’s for sure.
The storyline itself is gripping and the addition of ‘the immolation man’ adds fuel to the fire. So if you like your crime strong with an added squeeze of not knowing where it is leading… then ‘The Puppet Show’ is the book for you, especially if you need warming up during this cold snap.
Thank you to Beth at Little Brown for gifting me a copy in the hope that I will provide my honest opinion.