#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2020
My day twenty one #bookvent selection is one that really taps into my love of the darker side of crime fiction, as well as being of my favourite part of the genre – police based thrillers. Now from the very first book, this series has left me happy, excited and definitely wanting more, and it keeps going from strength to strength. With one of the strangest and most contrasting investigative partnerships I think I have ever read, this series delivers the chills, the tension, the atmosphere and most definitely the thrills from the very start to the very end. And this time around it has the super shock factor too. Gruesome, witty and very satisfying my twenty-first pick is …
The Curator by M.W. Craven
It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed 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 anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And 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.
And nothing will ever be the same again . . .
If there is one thing I don’t like about these books – and it’s a purely personal issue – it’s that I read them too damned fast! This book … from the very beginning I was hooked, the way in which the author set the scene with the emonymous Curator casting their shadow over events from the off, making it so intriguing that I really did race right through. This is no straightforward case for Poe and Tilly, and this is no common foe that they are up against. The more you read, the more you come to understand the ‘Curator’s’ sphere of influence. If just how long they have been operating and just how canny and devious they really are. There is a dark undertone to the whole story, as you’d probably expect from a Washington Poe novel – none of them are exactly the kind to leave you with the warm and fuzzies, let’s face it. But the tension is off the charts and the sense of urgency higher than ever, especially towards the end where the case takes an unexpectedly personal turn. But on top of the excitement of the story that had me completely on tenterhooks, I love. the partnering of Poe and Tilly. They shouldn’t work but perhaps because of this very fact, they are the perfect pairing. With Poe’s instinct and Tilly’s logical mind, between them they are a formidable pair. Tilly keeps Poe focused on fact, Poe pushes Tilly to challenge herself, and it’s never more apparent than in this case where they both have to step up more than ever before. In fact the whole story revolves the idea of people acting outside of their normal personal code. Together, as much as they are a great detectiving team, they add a touch of warmth and humour to what could otherwise be a very dark and testing tale, and I love the way in which MW Craven just keep developing their friendship and their story, challenging them and challenging us as readers too. With an acute sense of place that shines through in every story, this series just keeps going from strength to strength. Dark, fast paced, unexpected, full of misdirection and with a climax that is as thrilling, unexpected, nerve jangling and bloody satisfying as they come, this is definitely highly recommended.
You can read my full review of The Curator right here.
Happy #bookvent reading all