Black Summer: Watch out this summer!

Black Summer by M.W. Craven is the incredible sequel to his hugely popular The Puppet Show, published last year and more recently in paperback. This book has brought me out of my dark reading slump, which came from a myriad of personal problems, and I am very grateful for Craven’s excellent writing for keeping me hooked the whole way through. I literally read every single word of it, no skim reading or racing through chapters; I took it one step at a time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Black Summer by M.W. Craven will be published on June 20th by Little, Brown.

The story
Following Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw’s success with the ‘Immolation Man’ case, Poe had to take a stumble, and this one is a grand one. Being called up north once again, Poe’s reputation is on the line as his conviction is being questioned over a man who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his own daughter. Said daughter has shown up alive and kicking, even the blood tests prove it. Now Poe must risk everything to prove what really happened to Jared Keaton’s daughter, while keeping himself out of jail when she goes missing yet again. With Tilly on his side and Edgar nipping his heels, this will be a tight ride for the detective. But some Black Summer truffles just may hold the key.

Why I loved this book
Wow, Craven has done it again. I thought this multiple times whilst reading Black Summer. Aside from making me hungry with the constant mention of truffles (which I adore) and fine dining food, this book reeled me in and kept me caring and guessing the whole way through. Black Summer can be read as a standalone, although if you want to get a real sense of the relationships between members of the police force, The Puppet Show is a must.
This book is very well researched; at times I would question if Craven would reveal sources and small details behind certain slightly convenient happenings, and he followed through. I loved learning about truffle hunting and food purveyance, which would ultimately lead to revealing the truths behind all of the mysterious disappearances in the book.
I also still adore the characters. Poe, Tilly and Flynn are excellent central characters, with Rigg and Victoria being well-developed allies in this narrative. Craven has created a very special group of characters here, and I hope that Poe gets a break in the next book and can focus on crime-fighting and not fighting against the clock of his own potential demise, although it did make this novel even more thrilling.

Overall, I loved Black Summer just as much as The Puppet Show. I will say that it’s less typically gory, as there are fewer victims and more technical crime analysis, profiling and hypothesising, but this makes it just as intriguing. I would recommend this book to people who love crime and thriller series as well as standalone crime fiction. If you like forensic/DNA analysis, this will be 100% for you. Thank you Beth Wright and Mike Craven for my proof copy of Black Summer in exchange for an honest review. If you can’t wait until June 20th, go and read The Puppet Show now in preparation!

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