Black Summer

MW Craven

Black Summer

MW Craven

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Move over crime fiction, there’s a new giant in town. Roy Grace better watch his step because Washington Poe is after your role as number one policeman in the UK.

Black Summer is a really successful follow up to The Puppet Show, last years master thriller from MW Craven. That introduced us to DI Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw, his brilliant colleague. A lot has happened since the last book.Poe is back to Sergeant and Tilly now has her own team of geeks she refers to as the Scooby Gang, although unkindly Poe calls the mole people. The success of The Puppet Show was down to the chemistry between the two, the way they trusted each other and their friendship which blossomed. Could MW Craven follow this up ?

Black Summer starts with Poe arriving dirty, muddy and dishevelled at a restaurant. Here the owner feeds him a french ‘treat’, although Poe, wisely, doesn’t eat it. In burst the police to arrest Poe for murder. A brilliant opening that has you wondering what happened in the last year. Rewinding a few weeks we find that a case that Poe was involved with years ago may have been an insecure prosecution. Jared Keaton, a celebrity chef was convicted of murdering his daughter, but no body was found. A girl wanders into a library claiming to be his daughter and Poe is investigated. Luckily he has Tilly to fall back on.

I really enjoyed this book. It starts at a fast pace and continues in this vein right to the final pages. There’s tension and shocks on the way but a brilliantly crafted story waits for all those who venture through its pages. The characters are well described, very three dimensional. You care about them and their world. None are perfect, all have their sharp edges. Tilly for me once again is the standout character. Her matter of fact, literal meaning for everything is endearing. Poe and her are just pure chemistry in their relationship.

The ending is sheer brilliance and had me cry YES at the top of my voice. This is a very clever written book that really flows well. There’s no dull middle, lots of surprises and a talented detective duo. This is a series that continues to grow (TV series?). Read over the course of a weekend, I didn’t want to finish as it”ll be ages before I get to read more about the duo.

So a worthy addition to my book of the year list. Probably the best crime fiction I’ve read this year. So looking forward to the next episode in their lives.

Star Rating


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