The Official Book Blurb
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?
I have had this book in the TBR list for a while now, having been lucky enough to receive a copy before Christmas. It was one of those books; the highly anticipated, widely touted books of the year types. I’d seen other bloggers review it and I was intrigued. I’d seen pictures of body parts hanging from the ceiling of Goldsboro Books in London, and I was even more intrigued. But I wanted to hold back. Wanted to delay the experience of reading the book to see if the actual doing of it matched the hype surrounding it. And so it has come to this. An absolute sense of bewilderment and incredulity over why I bothered to wait so long to read it, and also of absolute devastation that I can’t go back and read it for the first time all over again because I loved this.
Oh blimey. From the very beginning this book tapped into a myriad of things that I love about books. The basic staple promise of an intriguing and infuriating crime; a sense of the macabre from the grotesque way in which the killer presented their first victims and the way in which they chose to dispatch some of their next. A central protagonist you can get behind; overwhelmingly flawed and yet undeniably appealing at the same time; and a whole host of colourful and textured supporting characters to boot. And yes – I now feel vindicated in that this book has confirmed all my worst suspicions about flowers.
Does it sound bad to say that I adored the creative way in which Mr Cole offed his characters? Some of the deaths were so unique (at least in the case of the books I’ve read); and in some respects so cruel, that you have to wonder how on earth he came up with the ideas in the first place, and then going forward, hope you never do anything to upset him IRL. (This review is in no way influenced by a fear of vile and macabre retribution by the author – I really do like the book). It was a strange experience for me in reading it, as I could sense the inevitability over some of the scenes and yet the way in which they played out still took me by surprise. There were so many times I genuinely thought to myself ‘totally didn’t see that coming’. Cole avoided plumping for the obvious and went for the marginally bizarre and yet it worked. So, so well.
If you can imagine a list of six names, all of them accompanied by the date on which they are going to die, then you have the premise of this book. What the Detectives do not know is how they will die, or even how the six people are connected. Now there are some heavy hints dropped by the author, and the over-riding factor, the central thread of the book, is spelt out from the very beginning. But be prepared to be surprised because there is a lot of misdirection and you won’t know what you think it is you know. Not really. Then again. Maybe you will. I’ll admit my train of thought did a full 360° as I read and then started on a new journey back the other way. I love it when a book can do that so hats off to Mr Cole.
The pacing is perfect. There are so many scenes when I was left on the edge of my seat and I could feel my heart thumping in my chest. I knew, knew, what was going to happen, that someone was going to die, that the police were going to be stumped and thwarted at every turn. Let’s face it, this would have been a very short novel otherwise. But it was the anticipation. The tension built perfectly, so much so that I didn’t even notice quite how tense I was until the inevitable finally occurred and I let out the breath I’d been holding. You know that feeling? The one where you gallop along with the text, so desperate to know what happens that you feel your brain physically skid to a halt when you get to the final result; the point where you slow right down mentally and physically and try to process what you’ve just read. That.
Did I say that I loved this book?
And as for Detective William Fawkes, or Wolf as he is known. What a character. I absolutely loved him. He has a dark history, one he cannot escape and which colours his career in the police, and yet there is just something about him. And his relationship with both Baxter and his ex-wife Andrea adds a great dimension to the book. A strange kind of group chemistry; not enough to divert from the story, but enough to make you want to read more of it in book 2.
Speaking of which, when the heck is that going to be out because I’m definitely going to need another fix of Detective Fawkes? And I kind of liked Finlay so I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of him. He looked out for his younger colleagues, but not so much that he was willing to overlook their flaws and failures. He really needs to be in the next book too.
A dark and occasionally disturbing 5 stars. Seriously. Did I mention I loved this?
My thanks to publishers Trapeze for the ARC of Ragdoll. It was released on 23rd February and is available to purchase at the following links: