Author: Daniel Cole
Rating: 5 Stars
Dates read: 15 Mar 2018 – 18 Mar 2018
Publication date: 19 Oct 2017
Genre(s): Thriller, Crime, Detective,
William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after he was suspended for assaulting a vindicated suspect. Still, under psychological evaluation, Fawkes returns to the force eager for a big case. When his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene, he’s sure this is it: the body is made of the dismembered parts of six victims, sewn together like a puppet—a corpse that becomes known as “The Ragdoll.”
Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them.
The final name on the list is Fawkes.
Baxter and her trainee partner, Alex Edmunds, hone in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer strikes again. But for Fawkes, seeing his name on the list sparks a dark memory, and he fears that the catalyst for these killings has more to do with him—and his past—than anyone realizes.
With a breakneck pace, a twisty plot, and a wicked sense of humor, Ragdoll announces the arrival of the hottest new brand in crime fiction.
Yes, guys we have it. A murder mystery/thriller/detective story that is gripping AND entertaining AND has real characters AND didn’t have the world’s most predictable ending. I probably shouldn’t have the harp on about the last one, but seriously, it’s rare to read such a good book that also had an ending befitting the quality of the book. Now, I really don’t want to spoil it, so please enjoy, read the book, and appreciate that the lack of detail is intentional!
Let’s talk characters: ‘Wolf’, Baxter, and Edmunds are the main men on campus, well, main people considering Baxter is female. They are all in the police force, hold different ranks and have differing personalities. Good start. Owing to his long and posh sounding name, Detective William Fawkes is a homicide detective and ex-mentor to Detective Emily Baxter, that goes by the name of Wolf. He has had a flawed past and has an ex-wife in the media, he holds an unusually close bond with Baxter, and is the pin that links the murders, and characters from the outset (even listed as a potential victim himself). Baxter is funny, an alcoholic, mentor to Edmunds, and a fiesty character, fighting her way through the world of murder as only a woman in a man’s world can. And then there is Edmunds, the intern trialling a go in the homicide squad but hailing from Fraud that is nice, a little timid, but has a wicked brain capable of scanning information and making links like no-one else can that is battling his changing career with his personal life. A pregnant fiancée and a murder detective don’t mix, or so he is repeatedly told.
I have to say I appreciate a book set in the UK, with UK references, that is good. There are little references (such as wine bought at Morrisons, and a security guard from Debenhams) that really appeal to me. The court mentioned throughout is the Old Bailey, the prisons are real institutions in and around London, and the police force is shown in a truthful if endearing light. It feels somewhat homely, which in a way is what makes is so scarily compelling.
The book is rooted in a corpse discovered in an apartment that consists of the parts of 6 dead victims, crudely sewn together, which gives way to the media nickname ‘Ragdoll’. Along with this, a list of names are given to Wolf’s TV presenting ex-wife, which includes the names and dates of further victims. On the list is his name, last on there with a date furthest away. It’s easy to see the premise: work out who the body parts belong to, try and stop and further murder’s from happening, and catch the bad guy.
There is something about the chilling nature of the crimes being set in the UK that make this so chilling and addictive to read. You turn the pages desperate to know what happens next, who are they chasing, is that person dead, and as it’s happening in places you recognise as a Brit, it makes it quite scary. Yes, the story is plausible (if blown out of proportion for dramatic effect) which makes you really wonder what happens when this happens on our doorstep, and how would you react if your name was on the list.
I am an avid thriller reader and haven’t read a book that is set around a serial killer/set of murders that has been this enjoyable and compelling to read in a long time. I was lucky enough to be granted an advance copy of the second instalment Hangman (review to follow shortly here) and cannot wait to see what the trilogy will bring.