The Puppet Show book is the 1st in the Washington Poe crime series from novelist MW Craven. Published by Constable it’s out now in paperback, ebook (currently just 99p!) and audiobook. I chose this because it featured on lots of best books of 2019 lists on social media. Waterstones called it the thriller of the year. So, is it really the best crime thriller of 2019 or just sales hype? It’s certainly special: dark and twisty, stellar characters and a fantastic setting, this police procedural has it all! Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award 2019, the TV rights were snapped up well before publication. Undoubtedly many book v TV discussions will follow!
My Thoughts on The Puppet Show
A serial killer is setting fire to victims and leaving them in Cumbria’s stone circles. Civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw of the National Crime Agency notices the 3rd victim has a name carved into his chest. That name is Washington Poe: an inspector on suspension, living a simple life in rural Cumbria. Bradshaw’s DI, Stephanie Flynn, wants Poe off suspension and on the case. Poe agrees to return and teams up with brilliant but socially awkward and naïve Bradshaw. Together they try to work out who is behind the killings and why they’re pulling Poe’s strings. There are a lot of revelations with some truly spectacular twists and a breath-taking final showdown.
I absolute love the characters of Poe and Bradshaw! They are both original, interesting and well developed. Poe is a man of principle, doggedly determined to pursue the evidence regardless of political fallout. Bradshaw is super smart but leads a very sheltered life, this leaves her out of her comfort-zone when she’s sent into the field. Both outsiders in different ways but with complementary skills, they are a perfect investigative pairing. Author Mike Craven is a Cumbria native and this makes his scene setting phenomenal. This novel has a fantastic sense of place and its rural isolation is perfect for the plot. The storyline is dark with a visceral horror to the details of the killings which adds to the reader’s thrill.
The Puppet Show book has brilliant writing with original and highly likeable lead characters. There is also a dark, gripping and twisty plot. I couldn’t put it down and it’s one of my favourite thrillers of the year. If you’re a crime fan then you’ll not want to miss this fiction 2019 best seller.
Cover Blurb for 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…