On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the brilliant new novel in the Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw series, Dead Ground.
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 . . .
I love, love this series. Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are such brilliant characters. They always stay with me long after I have turned the last page. I came to this series quite late, having only got round to it last year, and I am so pleased that I finally did. As I have done with Dead Ground, I’ll now be making sure that each new book in the series goes straight to the top of my TBR pile.
The cases which Washington and Tilly are investigating are always very complex, and their most recent case is definitely a tough one. M. W. Craven is a writer who knows how to hook the reader very early on. The book begins with a very intriguing set-up when we see a group of men wearing the masks of well-known celebrities entering a vault at a bank. Soon, one of them will be dead. But is there a connection to a murder that takes place in the present? A man’s body is found not far from a Brothel. It appears his killer beat him to death with a baseball bat. And what is the significance of a ceramic rat found at the scene?
This is the case which Washington Poe finds himself is tasked with solving. But this isn’t his usual bag; it seems at first to be pretty straightforward. But this time, he is involved in a case that could have disastrous consequences for the government and the country. But Poe only cares about getting to the truth. The war in Afghanistan plays a role in this story, and I thought this part of the plot was really intriguing. I thought how M.W. Craven weaved this part of the plot into the story was done very well.
What I love about this series is the humour that M.W. Craven manages to write into his books. His books are always about very dark crimes, but Tilly and Poe absolutely make this series for me. Their dialogue is brilliant, and it always draws me into the story. They are great friends, and they will always have each other’s back. They are two of the most memorable and fascinating characters in crime fiction.
M.W. Craven continues to increase the tension, particularly as Poe and Tilly get closer to working out what is going on here. There are a few people who want them to stay silent and not continue with the investigation. This makes the book very tense as Poe and Tilly try to get to the bottom of things before they become the target.
I am loving this series, and I can’t wait to see where M.W. Craven takes Poe and Tilly next. Dead Ground is a fantastic, fast paced thriller. Roll on book five!
Publication date: 3rd June 2021
Print length: 448 pages
Dead Ground is available to buy: