Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Today Mandie continues her Washington Poe catch up with a review of Black Summer by M.W. Craven. I love this series and the partnership between Poe and Tilly. My thoughts can be found here. Here’s what the book’s all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 20 June 2019
Publisher: Constable

About the Book

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

The gripping new thriller in the Washington Poe series from M. W. Craven, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 2019.

Mandie’s Thoughts

When I read The Puppet Show I knew right away that this was a series that I was going to enjoy and now that I have read Black Summer it has just proved it. This time Washington Poe is facing the possible end of his career when a case he had been instrumental in solving is suddenly reopened and he finds himself the subject of the new investigation. 

When a woman claiming to be Elizabeth Keaton turns up at a pop-up police station, her father Jared Keaton immediately sets about getting himself released from prison and is determined to make Poe pay for his incorrect incarceration. Poe is certain that he didn’t get anything wrong based on all the evidence they had, however the new evidence appears to disprove this belief. When Elizabeth then goes missing again, all eyes are on Poe and the odds are not in his favour. The one thing he has going for him is analyst Tilly Bradshaw. Over time they have become friends and she will do anything and everything she can to prove his innocence. 

There is a difference in Poe in this book, he doesn’t seem so sure of himself. He knows that even without the body of Elizabeth Keaton, based on the evidence they had at the time they got the right person, but her reappearance makes him wonder if they were in it together but why and what their end game was he has no idea. The problem he has now is that his gut tells him that he is still right, but the evidence almost certainly shows that he can’t be. Despite the backing of the rest of the team in the NCA including his boss, things are not looking good, and the DCI put in charge of the investigation has a grudge against him so will do all in his power to bring Poe down. 

Tilly seems to have come out of her shell a bit more in this book and has now gained promotion and her own team. Way more intelligent that the average person even she is struggling to use her skills to disprove things and her frustration and the way she deals with it is more in keeping with Poe, so maybe his is rubbing off on her. What is evident though is her total loyalty to him and her determination to help her friend in any way she can.

Jared Keaton is a character that just screams evil, but his calm exterior and quick calculating mind are certainly a match for Poe and Tilly, and you are left wondering who will come out on top.

I really love the dynamic between Poe and Tilly, they are polar opposites, yet somehow they just work. It is their exchanges some of which will have you smiling are for me part of the reason this series is so good and had me barely looking up until I reached the end and I am looking forward to joining them on their next investigation

About the Author

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, returning after 31 years 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.

His first novel featuring Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw, The Puppet Show, was published by Constable to huge acclaim, and it has since won the CWA Gold Dagger Award and been shortlisted for the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards: Best Crime Novel, the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and the Dead Good Reader Awards.

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