Yes, its that time again, another year has passed already. Launch time for book three – I would very much like to extend my gratitude to M.W. Craven, for providing us all with this beautifully gripping series – Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are the discernable duo behind The Curator – brawn and brains have never before worked together so well, wreaking justifiable havoc to ensure integrity is served. I would also like to thank Beth Wright, of Constable, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group, for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
M.W. Craven won the 2019 CWA Gold Dagger
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 . . .
Our Author: M.W. Craven
A brand-new voice in British crime fiction, M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. He joined the army at sixteen, leaving a decade later to complete a social work degree and spent seventeen years as a probation officer in Cumbria, rising to the rank of assistant chief officer.
The first in the Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show, won the 2019 CWA Gold Dagger, has sold in numerous foreign territories and has been optioned for TV by Studio Lambert. M. W. Craven has been shortlisted for the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and an Amazon Reader Award. He is also the author of the Avison Fluke novels, Born in a Burial Ground (shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger) and Body Breaker. The second in the Washington Poe series, Black Summer was published in June 2019.
My Review: The Curator
The Puppet Master one of my favourite books of 2019. I shouted about Black Summer and now its time to introduce The Curator. Its been a pleasure to read via NetGalley and its been the perfect follow up to Black Summer and The Puppet Master. These Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw books are ones you NEED to read, don’t be in any doubt how amazing they are. There aren’t many books I would read again, but these I would.
Let’s be honest – this book is a masterpiece – no exaggeration. Plot, characters, curveballs – this book has it all.
Washing Poe has spent Christmas in Shap Fell, in his beloved croft. With Edgar his endearing singer spaniel as company. However, now it’s Boxing Day and Tilly has dragged Poe along to DI Stephanie Flynn’s baby shower. None of them particularly want to be there and are grateful when a call comes in from DS Jo Nightingale that gets them out of there, but it also means there is a new case requiring Tilly’s technical abilities and her team at the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS), Poe’s experience, and Flynn’s police powers and back up.
Two days before – on Christmas Eve – everyone is desperate to get home and lets face it, no one likes secret Santa – the dreaded annual anonymous office gift-giving ceremony – disguised in Christmas wrapping paper as fun. Well, for Barbara Willoughby whose turn it is to open her gift at John Bull Haulage, it’s just about to get even worse. She’s been told her boyfriend Craig, is going to propose, using the office secret Santa as the ‘dream romantic proposal’ and maybe it was in theory until something other than an engagement ring falls out the box.
Christmas Day and more discoveries are made, in a church. Then on Boxing Day, planted in public this time – So, three lots of body parts, three victims, that’s when Poe, Bradshaw and Flynn are called in.
The body parts found are linked, that’s for certain, by the mysterious code #BSC6 – as its left at all the crime scenes. But who do these body parts belong to? Whos placed them where they are and what’s the motive? What’s the link, what are they missing?
Tilly quickly cracks the code, Poe uses his previous experience of army tracking to locate clues and it’s up to Flynn’s team to catch the culprit. But their main one seems too obvious and they can’t figure out why. Poe needs more information, he’s retracing the pattern, double-checking on his ‘Murder wall’ what is it they’re missing? An American FBI agent gets in touch with Poe and whats clear, is that this time it’s dangerous, there seems to be more at stake and Poe can’t let his guard down.
Tilly and Poe seem to have reached the point of being more than colleagues. They are friends and this adds more risk, for them to fight harder for what they believe to be right. A Risk for their lives, and those they take along with them. There are a number of strong characters in the Poe series and we see more of them in each book as the stories progress. Pathologist Estelle Doyle is gravely fitting with her intuition of The Curator and how he works, as characters go, I really like her.
The Curator is clever, but Tilly’s intellect and Poe’s abrasive nature mean they have an astute way of working together, they know how each other thinks, where what they just realised will take them and the next set of questions. They roll off each other and in The Curator, we see Tilly come to the fore and shine like never before. She’s with Poe every step of the way and she really comes into her own, she’s no longer his slightly awkward office-based side-kick – she is there, in the field, crime-solving alongside Poe and Craven writes it so well, and it’s not going to go smoothly, there is still risk and danger, as the case isn’t solved yet. But they make it seamless.
You may feel my review is a bit woolly (no sheep puns intended) but I don’t want to give any spoilers away, you need to read this for yourselves to really know how incredible The Curator really is.
The Curator has required research, meticulous planning and the mind of M.W. Craven must be like the pit of hell to come up with this storyline. It’s deep, much darker than before, and been stepped up to the max. When I first read The Puppet Master, I thought how can you better this, but he did it again with Black Summer and again now, this only makes me think he’s holding back the full force of what’s yet to come because Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are not through yet – this is certain because book 4 Dead Ground is to be published in June 2021 and books 5 and 6 are in motion, along with a short story or two and the TV adaption of The Puppet Master to look forward too. There’s a whole new crime fan base waiting to fall under Craven’s spell.
Deep and as dark as hell, but oh so very clever. Craven has done it again.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of the books mentioned – please do buy them, trust me when I say, its one of the best series around right now.
To buy a signed copy of The Curator https://www.bookscumbria.com/cgi-bin/trolleyed_public.cgi?action=showprod_6687
@MWCravenUK @BethWright26 @LittleBrownUK #The Curator
#TeamPoe #TeamTilly #TeamEdgar
Poe is brilliant, but I’m #TeamTilly and #TeamEdgar