Back of the book :
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 . . .
What I think :
Washington Poe and Till Bradshaw from the National Crime Agency are called to investigate a particularly awful murder case, Three pairs of fingers are discovered in three different places on three different days over the Christmas period. Each scene of crime has the symbols #BSC6 near it, either on a piece of paper or an object. After extensive searches nobody seems to be able to find our exactly what it means, not even Tilly, and she can usually find anything, if it’s there she’ll find it. Nobody knows who the victims are. As they have no bodies to work with, Tilly and Poe have their work cut out. Slowly but surely, with the help of the cumbria police, they start to discover the identity of the three victims. But why choose these three ?
Body number one, male, has had his fingers hacked off with either a saw or a pair of scissors and very crudely but the other two bodies, that have yet to be found, are female, one of these women had their fingers surgically amputated whilst anaesthetised but the other victims fingers were cut off non surgically but was still anaesthetised. Why ??
Howard Teesdale, computer analyst and sex offender, Rebecca Pridmore, MOD contracts manager and Amanda Simpson, Retail Assistant are identified as the victims. But why them ? They have absolutely nothing in common.
“How has he chosen his victims ? Why did he abduct two of them ? And why did the female victims have anaesthetic in their system ? Why use a surgical tool on one but not the others ? Why stage body parts over three consecutive days and then go quiet ? Is he sending a message ? Has he finished ? Is he only getting started ? And what the hell is hashtag #BSC6 ? “
These are the questions being asked ….
Then in amongst all of this Poe receives a phone call from FBI agent Melody Lee, she has a really weird tale to tell about someone called ‘The Curator’ It’s all pie in the sky and no one believes her, but Poe thinks there could be something in it. Could ‘The Curator’ be a person of interest ?
So we’re back with the third instalment in the Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw Series. D.I Stephanie Flynn is very heavily pregnant and not enjoying it at all. She’s refusing to slow down one tiny bit. The weird but brilliant pathologist Estelle Doyle is on the case and as mind-blowingly factual as ever.
I found the story dark and gruesome, and really not for the fainthearted. Especially as the prologue of the book starts with graphic descriptions of a woman having her finger chopped off whilst still awake and then garrotted and killed !! But I wouldn’t really have expected anything less if I’m honest, if the other two books are anything to go by !!
This book also touches on the dark web and a suicide game called ‘The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge’ which as the author writes in his acknowledgments is a real thing which if I’m honest sends a shiver down my spine.
The story moves along at a rapid pace, dropping lots of little clues and red herrings along the way. As usual its very factual, the author must spend hours /days months even on research (I always find out really interesting science stuff whilst reading a M.W Craven book !) All adding up to a really explosive ending that will make you gasp out loud. I really thought I’d worked it out a couple of times but then another twist comes along and turns it right on its head.
I really can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed this brilliant novel and I’m waiting in anticipation for the next one !
I give this brilliant novel 10/10 (5 stars)
Published on 04/06/20 by Constable (Little, Brown)
The biggest Thank you to Beth Wright from Little, Brown for the review copy of the book in return for an honest review.