Book Review: The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

Today, I’m back to my favourite genre – thriller. Believe me when I say you are going to love this one.


The Puppet Show* by M.W. Craven introduces us to The Immolation Man, a serial killer burning his victims alive in Cumbria. When disgraced detective Washington Poe’s name is found carved into the chest of the fifth victim, he is brought back from suspension and thrust into a case where no clues are left. Brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw is by his side every step of the way.


The Puppet Show is the reason I love thrillers. To say I was glued to this book is an understatement. “Why” you may ask? Well, this is a truly enjoyable story. I’ve read a lot of books lately where I had to force myself to think “what is this book really about? What is the underlying meaning?” This book, on the other hand, is pure entertainment, something I really love in a book.

What stood out most for me with The Puppet Show, besides the goosebump-evoking plot, was the descriptive task. This book has some dark and grim imagery, especially when it comes to the details of the murder. That may be a turn off for some people. Not me. I feel like the descriptions really put me in the same frame of mind as the author when he was imagining this book. I could feel the uniqueness of the scenes and, overall, the plot. Such description makes this book stand out in an already saturated genre.

On the flip side, there is some beautiful, calming prose. The description of Cumbria is stunning and it prevented me from imagining an English geographical area that I didn’t know incorrectly the same as one I do (London, for instance).

I was ready to write that Tilly was my favourite character. I emphasize with her social awkwardness and admire her intelligence. I also enjoyed seeing her come out of herself. Now that I think about it, Poe is actually my favourite character. In many ways, he is the typical lead police character in a crime story. He is tough but he has a heart. Again, something that is not new to this genre. However, it is the way he showed his heart that got to me. The way that he treats Tilly in the face of bullies and helping her come out of his shell is beautiful.

One other thing I enjoyed about The Puppet Show is its insight into the murky underworld of the rich. This is an aspect I also enjoyed in The Fixer. I can’t say much more about this without giving away the plot. You will have to read it to find out. You won’t be disappointed. This is the book that keeps on giving.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Puppet Show Book Cover

*affiliate link


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