The Curator (Washington Poe #3)
Publisher: Constable/Little, Brown
Available in ebook, hardback (4 June 2020) | paperback (10 December 2020)
Source: Copy received for review from publisher
ABOUT THE BOOK
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 . . .
She twisted her head and searched for the source of her pain. It didn’t take long.
“What have you done?” she mumbled
They’re back! I loved the previous two books, The Puppet Show and Black Summer and had such high hopes for number 3, The Curator. It was everything I had expected, and more. If anything I felt it was even darker than the previous stories.
The last thing you expect when unwrapping a Secret Santa Christmas present at work is to be confronted with a body part however that was the horror that one person faced. When more body parts turn up at various places, each with the same message #BSC6, The National Crime Agency and in particular, the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) are called upon to assist with the investigation, their speciality being the investigation of serial killers.
Anyone who has read the previous books will know how the relationship between the characters of DI Stephanie Flynn, DS Washington Poe and civilian analyst Matilda (Tilly) Bradshaw works. For reasons which soon become clear, Flynn’s fuse is even shorter at the moment but being stubborn, she refuses to take it easy. Poe, with the loyal Bradshaw by his side, find themselves taking the lead under the direction of a new police superintendent, Jo Nightingale.
The Curator is an adversary like no other faced by the team; with the killer hiding behind the dark web, SCAS and the police struggle to both identify the person and the purpose of the killings. Whenever they think they may have something, the Curator always seems to be one step ahead.
With Poe’s tenacity and his dislike of following the rules together with Tilly’s genius for computer and analytical problem solving, this pairing make a formidable team. Here Tilly is still her socially awkward and literal self but she has grown in confidence so much since Book 1 and her bravery is put to the test here. The exchanges between them are both touching and witty – whilst always remaining professional, they really do look out for each other.
The Curator is another superb addition to the series. The complex plot, with its curve balls and surprises is just one aspect that makes it for me. The other is the characters. I love the interaction and the way they problem solve, thinking each stage through until they find something they might have missed or something that doesn’t feel right. The exasperation from Flynn with Poe’s habit of following his own path, the humour, and the occasional bickering between Poe and Tilly, like an old married couple when it comes to his choice of food.
You won’t get the plot from me but I loved it. It was chilling and twisted and events took me by surprise all the way through. I had my hand in my mouth in the build up to the shocking and dramatic conclusion.
The next book has the title of Dead Ground – due for release in June 2021 – a whole year to wait! 😭
My thanks to Beth of Little, Brown for the tour invitation and for providing the copy for review. I have bought my own hardback copy to complete my collection of the three books – this is one series for my keeper shelf!
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.