Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Black Summer by M. W. Craven and I’ll be sharing my review with you all just a little further down!
About the author:
Although he was born in Cumbria, Mike Craven grew up in the North East before running away to join the army as soon as he was sixteen. After training as an armourer for two and a half years (that’s an army gunsmith to you and I), he spent the next ten travelling the world having fun. In 1995 he left the army, and after a brief flirtation with close protection and bodyguarding, decided on a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. In 1999 he joined Cumbria Probation Service as a probation officer, working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later, he took the plunge and accepted redundancy to concentrate on writing full-time, and now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.
Between leaving the army and securing his first publishing deal, Mike found time to keep a pet crocodile, breed snakes, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne, where he tries to leave the house as little as possible. Mike is also one third of Crime Ink-Corporated, a trio of northern writers who take writing out for the community and host events such as England’s first Noir at the Bar.
Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. He is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the International Thriller Writers’ Association.
His first book as M.W. Craven, The Puppet Show was published by Constable & Robinson in June 2018.
About the book:
Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.
So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.
Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?
And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.
Black Summer is the second book in M. W. Craven’s crime series featuring Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw and it’s an absolute belter.
In this one, Poe has to go back in time (not literally!!!) and revisit one of his old cases. This particular case ended up with celebrity chef, Jared Keaton, imprisoned for the murder of his daughter Elizabeth, whose body was never found. Poe was the final nail in his coffin as Keaton ended up serving life on the back of Poe’s damning testimony.
What happens next is the beginning of a savage investigation that sees Washington Poe in danger of losing everything.
I thoroughly enjoyed Black Summer. It is an excellent read. Dark, menacing and pacy, I couldn’t put it down. It was great to catch up with Poe, and Tilly! She’s such an interesting character, and she also provides some much needed levity throughout the book, whether she intends to or not.
I don’t want to go into plot details because spoilers, and the joy of picking up the book is not knowing where it’s going to take you. That’s what I love about Mike’s writing, you just don’t know where it’s going so when something happens, it’s really unexpected.
I’m a big fan of dark crime thrillers, and I think Black Summer checks all of the boxes. Psychopathic antagonist, flawed characters, twisty turny (not a word, I know!) plot and complex motives made this a truly engaging read.
Highly recommended. And I can’t wait for the next one!