Black Summer – M.W. Craven

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.

Earlier this summer I picked up a copy of M.W. Craven’s The Puppet Show on my kindle. Loads of book bloggers had been raving about it. Cpuld it possibly stand up to the hype? A serial killer on the loose, a dysfunctional pair of detectives, sounded right up my street.

And indeed it was. I stayed up entirely too late reading it, unable to sleep until I found out what was going on.

So now we have Black Summer, book 2 in the Washington Poe series. I missed out on the hardback release, but the same gang of book bloggers was raving about this one too (do they have no respect for my TBR pile?). I was delighted to be asked to join the blog tour, and sat down to see what our old friends Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw got up to next.

A celebrity chef who definitely killed his daughter, and went to prison for it. But then she turns up, quite definitely alive (if not particularly well). And it was Poe who put him in prison for the murder. Could he have been wrong?

And then she goes missing again, and the evidence all points in one direction. Washington Poe, what have you done?

*claps hands excitedly* Shenanigans afoot! I love shenanigans. Especially when they’re as clever as this.

Poe has to work out how someone who was most definitely dead is now most definitely not. And who better to help than Tilly Bradshaw, computer genius?

As with The Puppet Show, it’s the Poe/Bradshaw dynamic which gives these books an extra zing. But the story here is taut and will keep you turning pages and second-guessing yourself until the wee small hours. I loved the cat-and-mouse game between Poe and Keaton, the chef.

The Puppet Show was (and is) great. Black Summer is, dare I say it, even better. Roll on Washington Poe #3!

Black Summer by M.W. Craven is published by Constable and is out now in paperback. Many thanks to Beth Wright for inviting me onto the blog tour.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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