Book Review: The Puppet Show (Washington Poe #1) by M.W. Craven

Published in 2018 and the first book in the Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven sees a serial killer burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …


A dark and cleverly-constructed police procedural, The Puppet Show is a brilliantly developed detective thriller with first-class characters and lots of great twists.

Admittedly, I wasn’t instantly gripped with this one, but I think that was because we know so little about the case in the first half, that I couldn’t get too excited by it. But once I started to understand what was going on and why, I was hooked.

And even when I wasn’t completely invested in the case, I was 100% engaged with the characters who were absolutely brilliant! Poe and Tilly have a fantastic chemistry, and I look forward to learning about all of them as I continue the series!


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