Black Summer, M. W. Craven: Book Review

M. W. Craven has produced another superb thriller which is not to be missed – Black Summer.

The plot:

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath… He’s currently serving a life sentence for the 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 the investigation lead back to Poe.

It’s impossible to stick to the ‘only one more chapter’ saying

Black Summer is the second in the Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show being the first. It’s been about 11 months since reading The Puppet Show at time of writing, and I’d forgotten how great Craven is – you’re reminded within the first few pages.

Although this story is less gory, the imagination and fast-paced warrants a round of applause. It’s unpredictable, as you were completely blind with where you were going. I sort of feel bad for Poe, but then the other 99.9% of me is READY FOR MORE THRILLS.

Personally, I can’t pick which book is better. The Puppet Show had that gory edge and a fantastic ending, whereas Black Summer stayed on a high throughout. They’re both incredibly well thought-through and if you call yourself a thriller-lover, you better get this.

I’m convinced Craven is the master of chapter-ends. They’re cliff-hangery without offering the ‘roll your eyes/ dramatic’ plot twists, and it’s impossible to stick to the ‘only one more chapter’ saying.

I’m still loving the character development however Tilly, one of my favourites, seemed to take a step-back this time, so I would like to see her more in the future books. The pairing of Poe and Tilly is compelling and adds some dark humour into moments when there should definitely be no humour.

Craven’s background of criminology really shines through, taking readers to the very edge of believable and scaring us senseless. You just have no idea where the book is going to go, and for someone who’s a bit of a detective, it’s incredibly refreshing.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone, I strongly recommending reading the first book beforehand because: A) the story is amazing, B) you’ll regret it, C) the character development is fab, D) this is a series you’ll want to continue reading.

For fans of M. J. Arlidge and Cara Hunter.

A tense, enjoyable, impressive read from the first page, right down until the very last word. I’m eagerly awaiting more Washington Poe books.

The Puppet Show, M.W. Craven, RRP £7.99 (paperback); Book Depository 

Pages: 344

Publisher: Constable

Genre: Thriller

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