The Curator, M. W. Craven: Book Review

A jaw-dropping, gripping thriller from the fantastic M. W. Craven – if you haven’t read The Curator yet, you’re missing out. It is no surprise this author is an award-winner.

The plot:

It’s the end of the year and a serial killer is displaying 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 anaesthetised, whilst others died in appalling agony?

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.

If you think you know what’s happening, you’re where he wants you to be…

I’m still not over the plot-twist and don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from the heart palpitations

The Curator is probably my favourite book in the Washington Poe series so far – I’d recommending reading the previous books first, because it really cements your feelings for the characters. It provides minor spoilers for the previous books and you may not understand some sections.

Holy shit, where does Craven get his ideas from?!?! You know this author just gets an idea and probably gets some weird looks when proposing it but runs with them anyway and comes THROUGH with all the thrills.

There’s not a dull page in the book and is definitely the more twisted book in the series – not for the faint-hearted.

Whenever I’m asked for a recommendation of a crime fiction/thriller with a good plot twist and the reader wants all the gruesome extras, Craven is my go-to every time. There are many books out there who are, what I would describe as, a ‘soft crime’, which is more Agatha Christie whodunnit books with a quick description of how the body was found. And then on the other end of the spectrum, reaching Stephen King horror-levels, you have this wonderful series. It’s gross, will likely make you cringe, but is fucking fantastic.

There appears to be much more inner-battling with this book, and we see much more of the protagonist’s through-process, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found that in the previous books, other characters sometimes overshadowed Poe, but this really pulls him back to the forefront.

It’s entirely unpredictable and ‘thrilling’ at its finest – I honestly gave myself a papercut at one point because I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough; there might even be a blood spot on one page. I thought I guessed what the hashtag meant within 20 pages, thinking Craven had been sneaky and gave us one of the letters, but nope – I’d been fooled big time.

The writing gets better the further this series goes on, and I didn’t think that was possible. Craven’s background in criminology brings an added element to the series – showcasing both how a detective works, and also those extra details which leaves no plot hole (surprisingly common in thrillers!).

I’m still not over the plot-twist and don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from the heart palpitations. Nail bitingly good, incredibly well pulled together and shockingly dark. LOVED IT.

Craven is an automatic-buy author for me, and this book confirms that even further. I don’t even need to read the synopsises anymore, just take my money.

Check out my review for The Puppet Show here (Book 1) and Black Summer here (Book 2).

The Curator, M. W. Craven, RRP £16.99 (hardback); Book Depository 

Pages: 369

Publisher: Constable

Genre: Thriller

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