The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven – Blog Tour

Thank you to M. W. Craven for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on

paperback cover

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

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.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, 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…


My Thoughts

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I’ve finally managed to pick myself up off the floor and shake off one the most thrilling and dark stories I’ve ever read.

I was drawn to this book instantly by its fiery cover and the exciting blurb and although I’d discussed the book a little with blogger friends, but decide to avoid any reviews until I had finished it for myself.

So, picture this, I sit down to read what I think is going to be an enjoyable and a little twisty detective story. And, this is I got until a certain point and then it started!  Twist after twist after twist.  They just kept on coming at me and when I thought there couldn’t be any more left, or it couldn’t get any more disturbing – it did!

The story of the immolation man and the efforts to track him down is riveting in it’s own right but when you add into it the darker side of the story then finishing the book becomes an obsession and it’s hard to put it down (or turn it off as I listened via Audible).  Questions are raised that really make you consider your own stance on justice, revenge etc and the story is as heartbreaking as it is disturbing.  By the ending I couldn’t say whose side I was on.

In addition to the mind-blowing story line, I was completely enamoured by the two main characters.

First we have Po (Washington Po), a detective with a checkered past and a knack for solving difficult crimes and not following orders.  Po is such a well written character with a lot of depth and vulnerability that we actually get to see in the book.  I loved seeing this side of him and I defy anyone to not fall for him when he rescues Tilly from bullies.

Quickly developing into a sidekick position is Tilly Bradshaw, a child genius and analytical whizz but with under developed social and life skills.  What I adored about Tilly’s character was the way she gained confidence and skills but at a slow pace.  The author didn’t change her and for that I think we readers are grateful.

I can’t wait for the next installment of Po and Tilly.

If you love a dark, twisty novel then I cannot recommend this enough.  Everyone I know who has read it has said the same.  It’s a mind-blowing, emotional rollercoaster of a book. And I really want a t-shirt with Nerd Power on it now.


the puppet show paperback quote

About the Author (from Goodreads)


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 . . .

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 usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.


    • I really is. Is’s very different than a lot of books on Blog of the day but it’s so good. Everyone I know who has read it feels the same. I actually listened through audio books as I had a backlog of reading and the audio is great too.


  1. This review is so good. The book does sound fantastic. The premise reminds me the riveting “Dublin Murder Squad” series by Tana French. Would love to give this one a shot. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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