Book Series Review : The Puppet Show + Black Summer + The Curator (Washington Poe) by M. W. Craven

I don’t ever expect to love these books so much.

I happened to stumble upon them and instantly I couldn’t take off my eyes from the cover because I’m addicted to murder mystery type of reading, happen to read blurb and immediate bought them all to my possessions.

1. The Puppet Show (Washington Poe, #1) by M. W. Craven

Genre : Mystery, Crime
Page : 352 pages
Published : 7th June 2018

— Blurb —

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

— Mini Review —

I am desperately in need of a good thriller and a good mystery. Suddenly this book showed up and I don’t know whether I’m too closed off to the point I almost lived in the cave or this book is not that hype at the time because I have never heard of this book before.

I am immediately attracted to the book because first, the cover is stunning to the point I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it and partly because I know this book must be something similar to thriller. Second, the blurb is just so damn thrilling.

Anyway. Reading this book to quench my mystery thirst?


Everything about this book is so endearing. First impression after a few chapters of reading, I love how this book do not spoiled everything right then and there. And I mean it for both the characters and the story. As we go along to reveal the mystery, we also got to learn the characters trait better as their personality and issues are introduced bits by bits.

Another thing that I love is how proper the detective guides the reader to solve the mystery. There are no advance knowledge or advanced clues given to readers first hand. For me, reading this book feels like being a part of investigation team!

Also, the plot! Oh mi god.

It’s mysterious, depressing, clever and above all else, it’s HILARIOUS. I don’t remember reading much serious murder mystery with lives barely hanging could be this hilariously enchanting! Well, not every time of course but the little chemistry between characters are charming to the point it turns to be hilarious at times.

Hang in there guys. You are going to love this book.

2. Black Summer (Washington Poe, #2) by M. W. Craven

Genre : Mystery, Crime
Page : 352 pages
Published : 6th June 2019

— Blurb —

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

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.

— Mini Review —

The plot before was clever?

Well, allow me to introduce you a far more gripping story.

The most illogical case the detective has ever worked on.


I don’t even know how did the author managed to successfully write plot like this and research all of those stuff.

Due to the book before, I am already familiar with the characters and therefore, I am much more comfortable with the circumstances. BUT I could not fathom how smitten I was to the story line! My eyes are screaming for me to stop reading, my chores and responsibility are desperately clinging onto my mind. The world are all easily forgotten and I found myself lost in the book.

I have high hopes for this book due to my liking to the first book but I’m not confident that it will surpassed the legacy before. HOW WRONG WAS I because It’s brimming with tension, adrenaline, rush, hope, oh my god literally everything that could keep you wide awake at night to keep the scenes wandering inside your head and made you wanna read more and more to find out what will be the next move.

This book had me smitten to the series!

3. The Curator (Washington Poe, #3) by M. W. Craven

Genre : Mystery, Crime
Page : 384 pages
Published : 4th June 2020

— Blurb —

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.

And nothing will ever be the same again…

— Mini Review —

I was absolutely looking forward to read this book! The first two books are freaking brilliant and I couldn’t wait to read this one!

For this third book, I am proud and happy for the tremendous growth the characters have made up until this point. Also, another puzzling and mind blowing case is awaiting ahead!

I love how the mystery get to be colder than the book before. It’s a fascinating read and the murder as well as the mystery keep on coming non-stop. It all happened so fast. Which means I read even faster than a horse.


I think the pace might be a little bit down when things got halfway and the pace rarely escalates from that point on. But mind you, the mystery keep on coming. It just the pace that died down a bit.

My favourite part of this book is the ending.

Unexpected, gripping, twisty, thrilling.

Probably this is the darkest book from the three.


Each book is a standalone book with very different story but following the same characters throughout the series. Just like any other popular thriller series that follows the same characters cracking through different cases in each books.

Another common question for this type of book:

Can I read this in a random order?

Before giving out a definite answer, I might want to introduce you deeper to how this book works. I accept the characters as who they are from their vulnerability, flaws as well as their talent and skills from the very first book. The first book build the characters foundation to let readers understand them in a better context.

As I progressed into the next book, I found out there might be no connection for the current case to the previous but it has a tiny wee bit spoilers inside. Not a major one that could impact your reading experience in the future BUT STILL a spoiler. The kind of spoiler that won’t mean much but if you keep on thinking about it, you probably might expect that moment to arrive and you might not be enjoying the reading as much as I do.

Also, I think I could fully accept the characters because the first book show much more about the uniqueness and quirkiness of the characters, meanwhile the rest of the book just flow along with the bond that had already being created before. But the rest of the book still describe the big picture of the characters trail in a short narrative.

Personally, I highly recommend you to read the book in sequence order in order not to miss the surprised elements each book offers and for you to understand the characters in a better context.


I have been waiting for ages for these segment!

1. Washington Poe

Poe is the main character in the series. First, I love how unique his name is and second, I love how he never give a damn of what people think of him and just work his way through the evidence.

2. Tilly Bradshaw

My MOST FAVOURITE character in the series! Tilly is an adorably awkward analyst that led a sheltered life before meeting Poe. She is the reason you HAVE to read the series! One of the most unique character I’ve ever read!

↓ Special segment: Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw ↓

Before introducing another character, I would love to have a special segment for this duo! Another thing you may expect in the book, is their chemistry to one another. It’s deadly hilarious and genius at the same time. Their chemistry is so fitted to each other to the point I start to ship them together. Not until I read the author’s interview stated no way in hell this two will be together that I slapped myself awake (I’m still sad about that by the way)

3. Stephanie Flynn

To make is fast, she’s Poe’s boss and I love her as a leader. She started as one of the main characters but as the series progress, she does not appear as much as before but she is STILL an important character.

Washington Poe, Tilly Bradshaw and Stephanie Flynn are the three characters that stayed throughout the series. There are several others as well but this three appears more frequent than the others. Also, I freaking love this team a lot.


I have long forgotten when is the last time I’ve read such a good murder mystery book! This series is so good. I’m surprised how each book successfully written to be so real. Even though it’s brutal and cold, there’s nothing too grotesque about the crime scenes.

I love everything about the mystery. It’s so meticulously detailed, planned, organized and above all else, I love how the author research every little things about it. It’s mind blowing.

For the sake of the story, I love how good this book guide readers to solve the mystery. All the hints are made known to readers without any exception and all there’s left for us to do is think through it. Even by this circumstances, I could only guess the first book perpetrator but not with the other two books.

It’s complicated, confusing, bloody and I love how real the investigation goes.


Each books has different charm.

The Puppet Show is prone to investigation part with many shocking revelation. Black Summer is the kind of book that made you race-reading as if you could beat the time. The Curator is prone to gripping twisting end.

It’s so hard to choose my most favourite from the three because it’s all so good.

For the chemistry, I will have to choose The Puppet Show. For the plot and pacing, I love to go with Black Summer.

What about The Curator? Well, I think the usual energy and rush I get from reading this series is not that protruding in The Curator EXCEPT for the beginning, ending and chapters leading to the ending.

But the thing about this three books are they include cases that are still not being widely written yet. Unlike some mystery thriller that more or less got the same outline, these three books are very different from anything I’ve read which made these books exciting to explore.

Another thing I highly praise about these three books are how unpredictable they flow. You could never guess how this book will turn out and by the time you’ve finished, you’ll admit how far the book have gone to solved the mystery.

Nothing more to add I guess.


Author: Celine

8 thoughts on “Book Series Review : The Puppet Show + Black Summer + The Curator (Washington Poe) by M. W. Craven

    1. Omg I’m so happy to know you LOVE this series as well! And I’m so excited for the next book! I hope we’re going to love the next book as much as the books before! Thank you so much for visiting Inge!

      Liked by 1 person

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