Quick Reviews: Cut Short and The Cutting Season by M.W. Craven

Having thoroughly enjoyed his panel at Bute, Mandie decided it was more than time to read a little bit of M.W. Craven. As she has a large backlist to catch up on, she’s begun with the short stories, an excellent place to start and get a taster of what the author has to offer. Here’s her reviews of Cut Short, a selection of short stories, and The Cutting Season, the Quick Reads 2022 Novella.

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 03 September 2020
Publisher: Constable

About the Book

In The Killing Field, Poe and Tilly are having breakfast, wondering how to spend the rest of their holiday, when their presence is requested at a Cumbrian airfield. An airfield that, during the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, was known as the killing field . . .

In Why Don’t Sheep Shrink?, a global pandemic forces Poe and Tilly to self-isolate together. Things don’t go well. They’re bickering and on the verge of falling out until Poe finds an old case file: a locked room mystery he’s been mulling over for years. Step forward, Tilly Bradshaw . . .

Dead Man’s Fingers sees Poe, Tilly and Edgar, Poe’s English springer spaniel, enjoying a picnic at a nature reserve. When Edgar chases a rabbit, and Poe and Tilly chase after him, they stumble upon a twenty-year-old mystery, a mystery that couldn’t be solved until now . . .

About the Book

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 14 April 2022
Publisher: Constable

Poe’s just hanging around on a Saturday afternoon…

Dangling from a hook in a meat packing plant isn’t how Detective Sergeant Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend. He’s been punched and kicked and threatened, and when a contract killer arrives it seems things are about to go from bad to worse. He goes by the name of the Pale Man and he and his straight-edged razor have been feared all over London for twenty years.

But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn’t. Although it might seem like a hopeless situation, Poe has planned to be here all along. More importantly, a nerdy, computer whizz-kid called Tilly Bradshaw is watching his back. And now things are about to get interesting . . .

Mandie’s Thoughts

Being the bookaholic that I am I often find that I am buying more books that I will ever have time to read. The Washington Poe series by MW Craven falls into that category. After recently listening to him talk at Bute Noir I felt that I had to rectify this quite quickly. With limited spare time I found Cut Short and the Cutting Season, 2 quick reads books that would enable me to get a sense of the writer and the characters in the series.

Cut Short is a collection of 3 short stories, The Killing Field, Why Don’t Sheep Shrink and Dead Mans Fingers whilst The Cutting Season focuses on just one story, and I will admit was my favourite. Whilst it is really hard to say anything about the stories without giving anything away what I can say is that if you have never read anything by this author then you may want to start with these to see if they are your type of book. For me I found that I got a real sense of the characters Washington Poe and Tolly Bradshaw, their dynamic and how they worked. As a pair they are perfect together with Poe’s disregard for the rules and Tilly’s ability to work round some of them (she is one person I would never want to get on the wrong side of). The best part for me however was the sense of humour that is peppered throughout the books, no matter what the crime they are investigating it is still there giving the lighter moments that often a reader needs.

Now that these have whetted my appetite I am off to find out when I can fit the series into my schedule and get to know them both better.

About the Author

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

The Puppet Show, the first in a two-book deal he signed with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable in 2017, was released to critical acclaim in hardback in 2018. It has been sold in numerous foreign territories and the production company Studio Lambert, creators of the award-winning Three Girls, have optioned it for TV. The sequel, Black Summer, follows in June 2019.

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

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