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.
🚨 Call the police!! 🚨 Surely it is an offence to write a novel this bloody brilliant!! We’re back in Cumbria where retribution, manipulation, fear, (in)justice, morality, cunning, mistrust, and absolute mayhem hit the pages in Mike Craven’s latest masterpiece – BLACK SUMMER.
Ok then…..OMFG! Craven has once again NAILED IT with a fantastically chilling opening that left me absolutely breathless! The storyline was intriguing and had my synapses popping a mile a minute as I raced through the pages. Intrigue and suspense littered the pages and MW Craven’s knowledge of the criminal justice system made this novel drip with authenticity and realism. It was woven flawlessly throughout the narrative – I absolutely loved it! Throw in an atmospheric and vivid setting with just the right dose of description and you have what simply is a superb read! I was absolutely delighted when I solved the case before it was revealed – well, part of it anyway – I won’t tell you though as it is a CRACKING revelation.
And HOLY SH*TBALLS – I absolutely LOVE Washington Poe! We learn something about him in The Puppet Show which I won’t reveal (no spoilers!) but it’s brought up in the novel and you definitely get a better understanding of who he is and why. Poor Poe is having to wrestle with the thought that he may have sent the wrong man to prison, but the evidence as it comes together leaves Poe open to having the finger pointed at HIM. WTAF?! This was absolutely nail-biting reading, peeps! Poe is determined, a bit of a rogue and a character that you are just drawn to. And YAY for Edgar. I was so happy when Poe’s pooch was reunited with his master – I definitely have a soft spot for Edgar.
Tilly ….woohoo! Absolutely love her and I especially loved the dynamics between Tilly and Poe in this book. Their friendship and bond is strong – and each time they are together you can tell that either would go to the ends of the earth to protect one another. AMAZING. My favourite line from Tilly in this novel was when Poe called and asked her to come up to Cumbria and she says, ‘You didn’t bring me up here for my people skills, Poe’ – I burst out laughing. Tilly may be socially awkward but she is one clever woman and Poe brings out the best in her, while she does the same for him. If the author does anything to ever harm Tilly…I will have to have words!! #TeamTilly
But I’ll tell you what, MW Craven snuck in another character who I am hoping to see more of in future novels – Estelle Doyle. I BLOODY LOVE HER! She is dark, inappropriate, funny – but absolutely stellar at her job. And could there be a spark between her and Poe…oh I do hope so, I think she could give him a run for his money!
Another character that caught my attention in this novel was Andrew Rigg – I liked the conflict between him and Poe; it added some great tension throughout. Poe however noted how much Rigg reminded him of himself – which I also found interesting. I never knew whether to trust him or not…and I won’t tell you if I do now either…you’ll have to read the novel to see!
Finally, I have to mention Jared Keaton…what a friggin slimeball. This guy made my skin crawl but was written so wonderfully to evoke those feelings. Nasty – whether guilty or innocent, this narcissistic piece of **** was just so *shakes head* incredibly awful…Well done, Mr Craven. I absolutely detested him! ha ha
Soooo…do I recommend this read? Hells Bloody Bells – you bet your sweet arse I do! A brilliantly crafted piece of writing that is compelling, creepy, intense and sinister – with each book in this series, MW Craven is drawing the reader in – and blowing our friggin minds! Absolutely recommend you read Black Summer – it definitely can be read as a standalone, but you’ll miss out on the greatness if you don’t read The Puppet Show too! Can’t wait to see what evil Mr Craven has up his sleeve for the next one! #TOPREAD2019 – out June 20th 2019!