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The Puppet Show

Washington Poe, Book 1
Narrated by: John Banks
Series: Washington Poe, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (297 ratings)

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Summary

Welcome to The Puppet Show....

A serial killer is 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.

He is reluctantly partnered with brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw, and 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....

©2018 M. W. Craven (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"Dark, sharp and compelling." (Peter James)

"A powerful thriller from an explosive new talent. Tightly plotted, and not for the faint hearted!" (David Mark) 

"A thrilling curtain raiser for what looks set to be a great new series" (Mick Herron)  

What members say
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow...just superb!

I really enjoyed The Puppet Show. if you like a murder/mystery, with plenty of spine chilling moments, and plenty of edge of your seat action then this is for you.
A really intriguing, well written plot line and some great characters. Very well narrated by John Banks.
I can't recommend The Puppet Show enough!!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

must read, great plot and twists

loved it,great narrator too can t wait to read his next book,hopefully a follow up

8 people found this helpful

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Stunning new series

The location of Cumbria is unusual and perfectly brought to life. Whilst Washington Poe is the hero, I found Tilly to be equally as compelling.
Good narration - kept my interest and look forward to the next in the series.

7 people found this helpful

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Superb

I’ve ploughed my way through some great crime novels in my time - print and audio. This is a real peach. Wonderful plotting and characters, great story and (for once) a narrator you hardly know is there. Highly recommended.

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent Story...

Enthralling and brilliantly narrated. A must listen for all crime/mystery lovers. Well written and easy to follow with a little concentration.

5 people found this helpful

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a great listen

excellent story with many twists brilliantly narrated with depth and feeling, can't wait for the next instalment.

5 people found this helpful

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Poe and Tilly

I have read many first novels and it’s not very often that I find myself searching for the next in the series when I’m still 100 pages from the end. I love this book for multiple reasons but, most of all, the relationship between Tilly and Poe (I am sorry if I’ve spelt any of their names wrong but I listened to the audio version - which was brilliantly read). The first thing I will do after leaving this review is pre-order book 2. Thank you very much MW Craven!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 10-05-19

Excellent

Nothing better than finding a fantastic new author to enjoy!
This was an excellent story with likeable characters and brilliantly narrated. Highly recommended and I can’t wait to hear to hear the next book, I just hope it continues to be as good!

4 people found this helpful

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Another flawed but brilliant detective

Great book. Great scene set. Great characters. It is one of those stories that you know you just want more and more of.

3 people found this helpful

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Must read

An absolutely fantastic read, couldn't put it down. I've read the book and then listened to it in the car. Fantastic story and amazing characters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lindazilla
  • 24-04-19

Rushed Ending

I was really enjoying this book, right up until I got to the near ending where the killer and cop confront each other. You know how there's that unbelievable trope in almost every film and tv show where the killer rambles on about what he's going to do (or did) and why? Yeah. That went on f.o.r.e.v.e.r. If you've backed yourself into a corner when writing to the point where you have so spend almost an hour of listening/reading time having two characters suddenly explaining things, it's a yawn fest. Personally, I found that incredibly grating, and it felt like someone was motioning from the corner to 'wrap it up'!

I was also left with the definite impression that Poe was heavily influenced by Bill Hodges and Tilley is absolutely a mirror image of Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Potter
  • 12-02-19

Fascinating premise

Let's talk about the narrator first. He was quite good, once I got used to his voices. I particularly liked his voice for Poe, who sounded almost exactly like Sean Bean. However, at times his inflections seemed a little off and his tempo was steady throughout, rather than adjusting faster or slower based on what's happening in the story.

I would have liked to have heard some more variation, but apart from that his narration was very good.

Now for the story.
I've always been fascinated by serial killer stories, although I tend to gravitate more toward true crime books than fictional novels.

And I have a reason for that. In true crime, the focus is usually at least 50% on the killer (sometimes much more than that), and frankly that's the part that fascinates me.

My favorite serial killer fiction are the Hannibal novels and psycho.

This one caused the same struggle I had with James Patterson's Alex Cross novels: the killer is basically incidental while we focus 90% (or more) on the detective.

This one has a huge advantage over Alex Cross in that regard, however: Washington Poe is actually interesting!

However, the most fascinating character in this book (and the one with the widest arc) is Tilly. She's such an awesome character, and once she gets pulled out of her comfort zone she grows, so much, into this amazing character who understands so much and yet so little at the same time.

I think a part of me fell in love with her, just a little bit.

Now, in keeping with my "no spoiler" policy, because there are so many twists and so many reveals, there's not a lot more I can say about the story.

Except for this.

My introduction to this book led me to expect some MASSIVE twists and turns. However, I found nothing shocking here. There were one or two twists I didn't quite see coming, but some were perfectly natural and others quite predictable.

That said, however, once the story finally gets going it is quite a ride and a lot of fun.

And if you're lucky enough not to see the ending coming, it's going to blow you away.

But, as I alluded to at the start, I would have liked to see more about the killer. The final explanations just seemed a little rushed and not wholly satisfying.

In closing, this is a fun (if gruesome) mystery with some genuine suspense and a few really awesome emotional moments. And while there are a few tangents that detract from that just a bit, they aren't weighty enough to overpower the story or the characters.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jordan Edwards
  • 15-06-18

Absolutely Amazing. Twists and Turns!

This was amazing. Tons of twists and turns keeping me off balance throughout the story.
It also helped that the Narrator's voice for Washington Poe sounds like Sean Bean!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Drips
  • 10-07-19

Great story excellent narrative

My only criticism of this story was the dialogue between the protagonist and the antagonist towards the end. It branched off in a direction that made no sense.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • eve
  • 17-06-19

It was never about justice.

ALL THE STARS!!!

You dark twisty bitch of a book! I love you! So many threads to neatly bring together, so much mystery and pain, to burn.

This intriguing procedural grabbed me and didn’t let go. The pace was steady, smooth, and unrelenting. The budding dynamic outcasts duo of Poe and Tilly was unmissable.

The ending was a deeply satisfying level of Oh Hell Yes!

All in under 350 Pages!

And did I mention this was 99% Staunch?

I need Black Summer in my hands!

*Audible note: I enjoyed the accents the narrator used, they added to that sense of place.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 26-09-18

Interesting story with

An interesting tale with an evolving story line and endearing characters. Would consider another one from this author.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dawn
  • 13-08-18

Can't Wait for the Next Installment!

Looking for new authors to try out and stumbled on this story. Loved it! Great characters, intriguing story, good narration. I immediately looked for another by the same author but this seems to be his/her first available. Looking forward to the next installment in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Larry R.
  • 28-01-19

just ok

I heard good things about it, but it's not good for someone who isn't from the UK. Much of the story depends on the setting, which are foreign to me.