Crime Fiction, Goodreads Reviews

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe #1) by M W Craven



Call me a psychic! A five star psychic! I predicted that The Puppet Show was going to be brilliant, and I was bloody right! I knew it! I just knew it!


It gave me those vibes, you know what I mean? You pick up or hear about a book, feeling all attracted to the cover. Come on, we ALL love a bit of sinister looking cover art don’t we? The synopsis gives you that ‘oooh, this could be juicy’ feeling. And it gets put right to the top of that enormous TBR, winking at you, beckoning you to pick it up. This one went straight to the top of mine and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Much to my delight there’s murder and fire and stone circles and a copper who’s got the DRIEST sense of humour ever. And there’s a REALLY COOL CHICK too, who wears band tees and happens to be a mathematical genius. I’d also like to mention that there’s a Spaniel called Edgar.

That gives you a basic rambling idea of the two main characters, but I’m going to cast my mind back to my last read for a moment, Murder at the Mill (I’ll call it MATM for short) by M B Shaw. And for those of you who haven’t read my review yet, you may do so HERE if you so desire. Why am I mentioning my previous read I hear you cry?! Particularly in another book review as well! Shocking! Let me explain.

Similies. Descriptions. Creative writing in general. It has to be good. Clever. Funny. Emotional. Flowy. I could go on. I’m a tough reader to please. MATM is a perfect example of how NOT to do it. In contrast, The Puppet Show is a perfect example of how it SHOULD be done. It’s creative, witty, well planned and brilliantly researched. Craven’s similes are CLASS. After my last read I was so relieved that this author can write. He can write gooooood.

‘The chief constable walked like a man badly in need of a stool softener.’

‘He had a drinker’s nose and his upturned chin resembled a jester’s boot.’

If there’s one thing I enjoy when I’m reading, it has to be when characters’ personalities shine through and they become so real.

‘Poe pointed at the BPhil after Francis Sharples’s name and asked, ‘You know what that means, Tilly? ‘Bachelor of Philosophy, Poe.’ Poe shook his head. ‘It means he’s a cock.’

Dry, British humour always gets a thumbs up from me, particularly if there’s some cracking insults in the mix.

The Puppet Show is one hell of a ride, I read it in just under two weeks but I wanted to read it in one sitting. Life got right in the way, and I found myself drifting off thinking about it when I should of been concentrating on work. I really wanted to cancel a family occasion as well because I just wanted to read. I love how a great book can make me feel so unsociable and selfish.

I’ve always been a fan of crime fiction, especially when it’s about a serial killer, my first being Silence of the Lambs twenty-odd years ago. I have also recently discovered Robert Bryndza and J D Barker for new reading in this genre. M W Craven is now up there for me as a go-to author as I just love the Britishness he injects into his story.

I cannot fault The Puppet Show in any way, I highly recommend it. It is pretty graphic in places and there’s a bit of sweary dialogue, but it all fits a treat. For a debut novel, this is exciting and gripping from start to finish. And I’m pleased to say that the author has just finished #2 and is writing #3. YESSSSSS! GET IN THERE! I will undoubtedly read the next instalment of Poe and Bradshaw solving gruesome murders in their quirky and entertaining way.

Many thanks to Netgalley, Little, Brown Book Group UK and M.W. Craven for an advanced copy of this awesome book in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine.


Crime Fiction, Goodreads Reviews

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s a slightly different than normal review. Because this is a very different from normal police procedural crime novel.
I won’t go through the synopsis because you can read it for yourselves, but I recommend this to ALL MY FOLLOWERS WHO LOVE BRITISH CRIME.

Wow! Was this really a debut?
How can a ‘first timer’ be this good?
How long did it take to establish such awesome characters for a first book? Very impressive.
Is Caz Frear writing another?
And if so, when?
This doesn’t read like a debut.
It must of took some long and deep thought processes to create all these incredible people in the story.
I loved everyone for so many different reasons.
The intricacies of the whole story were simply complex, if that makes sense.
I love Cat Kinsella.
I need more of this kind of stuff.

Ok, the above ramblings needed to be off-loaded, because I absolutely loved this book! I’d reached page 46, and was thinking, this could be an average crime-mystery police procedural read. But then there was this;

Prepping the incident board are man-mountain DS Pete Flowers and blade-thin DC Craig Cooke – aka the Feast and the Famine.’

That alone, made me grin so much! So inventive! Characters that are given a personal and humorous persona from other characters POV’s before we even know them properly. I like that. I like that A LOT.

Caz Frear is a brilliant writer. She really attached the characters and story to my nosyness. I felt as though these people were so real! It gripped me quickly. There was mystery a-plenty, and I was hooked from about page 50. That is good going for me, I can tell you.

I absolutely loved this all the way through. And heading towards the very satisfying conclusion this little beauty of the New Years Eve scenario just grabbed me and had me nodding in agreement;

‘I’ve never subscribed to the cult of New Years Eve. Never grasped the fascination. All that reflecting on the past and hoping for the future always strikes me as a profoundly bad idea when you’ve been poisoning your body for seven days straight, and your nervous system’s shot to pieces by marathon-style boozing and energy-sapping grub’.

Oh how bloody true. I couldn’t agree more. Cat Kinsella, will you be my friend?

A very deserving 4 stars out of 5.

I’d like to thank Readers First and the author, Caz Frear for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review
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