Dead Ground (Washington Poe Book 4) by M.W. Craven

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe is in court, fighting eviction from his beloved and isolated croft, when he is summoned to a backstreet brothel in Carlisle where a man has been beaten to death with a baseball bat. Poe is confused – he hunts serial killers and this appears to be a straightforward murder-by-pimp – but his attendance was requested personally, by the kind of people who prefer to remain in the shadows.

As Poe and the socially awkward programmer Tilly Bradshaw delve deeper into the case, they are faced with seemingly unanswerable questions: despite being heavily vetted for a high-profile job, why does nothing in the victim’s background check out? Why was a small ornament left at the murder scene – and why did someone on the investigation team steal it? And what is the connection to a flawlessly executed bank heist three years earlier, a heist where nothing was taken…

Check out my review of the previous books here:

The Puppet Show, Black Summer and The Curator.

My Thoughts

I cannot believe it took me until over Christmas to finally read Dead Ground (Washington Poe Book 4) however the main advantage is no I have less time to wait for Book 5, The Curator.

Washintgton Poe and his genius consultant Tilly Bradshaw are back in another cleverly crafted, impossible to solve murder thriller.  Taut with tension and suspense and backbreaking edge of the seat storytelling, Dead Ground kept me glued to its pages from opening until the very end.

I apologise in advance for the vagueness of this review however it really enhances the experience if you have no idea what is coming.

Dead Ground begins with a robbery gone wrong and a murder.  Nothing overly suspicious beyond that until a murder in Cumbria has one very small detail to link them.   Working with MI5 under a cloud of mystery and misinformation, Poe and Bradshaw have the mammoth task of figuring out the murderer and the motive. 

I’m sure I’ve said it a zillion times but Poe and Bradshaw are my absolute favourite crime fighting partnership.  Their friendship and understanding of each other has gone from strength to strength and their impact and influence over each other is becoming more obvious.  They are both probably the only people who understand the other in full.  Their exchanges and mischief completely adds a humorous dimension to an otherwise deliciously dark plot.  

And this time there is the added bonus of Melody Lee who we met in The Curator ‘virtually’ and now is here in the flesh.  She brings a fresh perspective and experience, keen eyes and some really sharp wit and I loved her.  Hannah Lynch is also a new addition to the team and I’m leaving readers to figure out themselves how they feel about her.

Initially there are very few clues to go on and the team have nothing to link them together or to make sense of them.  As usual, Craven has plotted his narrative to the nth degree and the tiniest detail and each piece slitting into place feels like a personal victory for the reader. 

The tension builds form the very beginning until the very end and be prepared to not put this book down until you are completely done. 

If you haven’t started this series yet I recommend them in order even though they do work stand alone.  I’d highly recommend reading in order though as there is a lot of character development and some recurring themes and storylines. 

However you read/listen to them – you won’t be disappointed.        

Author Bio – M.W. Craven

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.


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