I’m a massive fan of MW Craven’s writing and I’m delighted to be reviewing Dead Ground today!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
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 . . .
MW Craven is one of those authors where I’d buy any of his books without even looking at the cover or the blurbs such is my faith in his talent.
Dead Ground is the fourth of his novels featuring Washington Poe and his sidekick Tilly Bradshaw. You can read this as a standalone but to be honest if you don’t read the others then there is something far wrong with you! It is a DYNAMITE series.
This author always manages to drop kick his readers with his killer hook openings and Dead Ground is no exception to the rule. If you’ve got plans and you pick this up then cancel your plans immediately as you are going nowhere!
There is so much to say about this plot and so much that cannot be said as I want the reader to experience it for themselves but let’s just say that once again MW Craven has produced an enthrallingly, intelligent, nailbitingly tension laden plot! Conspiracies, politics and the military all feature in Dead Ground and leave the reader with a racing heart and a jaw that clatters off the floor more than once or twice!
He has an incredible talent not only for storytelling but also for creating a cast of characters who are simply drawn to perfection.
On the surface Poe and Tilly are probably the most unlikely crime fiction pairing; he’s a maverick who isn’t always the most subtle while Tilly is a stickler for rules and quietly unassuming. Yet they are made for each other, they complement each other and they are actually the most perfect crime fiction duo out there! Like tea and toast!
Tilly might be Poe’s sidekick in this series but she steals the limelight every single time for me. Readers have taken this quirky and relatable character to their hearts and if the author ever lets anything happen to her I reckon there would be hell to pay! He never openly states that Tilly is on the spectrum, but in her he has created a character who flies the flag for Autism and Aspergers across mainstream crime fiction and for this I salute him.
If Dead Ground was a recipe I’d sum it up as the following: Characters baked to perfection: sense of place rises to the occasion every time and whisked into the mix is an intelligent and authentic storyline. This author has all the ingredients for the perfect story and not only has he all the ingredients he has the magical touch too, as he takes them and he creates a crime fiction masterpiece that has his peers weeping and wailing with envy! Deliciously moreish, it tastes devine and you will want to gorge yourself silly on this criminal feast of evilness and storytelling.
Don’t miss it!
You can buy the book
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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 . . .