The Curator by MW Craven, published on 4th June
I first heard Mike Craven read from his work when he appeared in a Bloody Scotland panel in 2019, and was blown away. His background is fascinating, and you can tell from his writing that he really knows his stuff when it comes to investigating serious crime.
The Curator is the third in Mike’s Washington Poe series (coming after The Puppet Show, which won the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 2019, and Black Summer). Here’s what the book is about:
It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6
Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
It’s a complex plot, but Mike Craven’s writing is superb, and he brings you right into each scene as though you’re one of the characters. The setting, across the north west of England was fascinating, too, and expertly drawn. In this book, we’ve got characters who work well together, all the gruesome detail you’d want from a murder investigation, and plenty of atmosphere. My only regret is I didn’t read the first two books first – but there’s a simple way to remedy that!