Thursday, 23 February 2017
Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the 'ragdoll'.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The 'Ragdoll Killer' taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?
Well, books don't come much more anticipated than this one! The hype for "Ragdoll" began at least 3 months ago and the excitement for its publication have been building ever since! Early reviews are amazing; author Rachel Abbott claims it is the best debut she's ever read and MJ Arlidge compares it to the iconic film Se7en. The marketing campaign has been impressively high profile and this is possibly one of the most talked about books on social media this month.
So does it live up to the hype?
Yes, I think it does!
The opening prologue completely took me by surprise. It starts with the Jury filing back in to court. Although the case sounds very grim (understatement), I thought Cole was following the standard form. I thought I was following one particular character and was expecting one particular outcome but suddenly events - well, they don't exactly spiral out of control so much as leap up and literarily knock you over! The opening pages capture one of the most unexpected and uncharacteristic scenes I've ever witnessed in a court room!
Leap forward four years and Cole continues with Chapter One, continuing to surprise us with characters who are not afraid to test the conventions of their genre. The main Detective is named Wolf Fawkes which automatically triggers connotations in the reader's mind. I also liked TV reporter Andrea and the risks she takes with the information she has - very very gripping opening pages!
Cole is a bold, fresh voice who has written a story that is violent, gritty, dark and absolutely not for the faint hearted! It's a lot more graphic than the crime thrillers I usually read but despite this it's difficult to put the book down. The pages almost turn themselves with Cole's vivid, lively, dynamic prose and his authentic dialogue that brings the characters to life and makes them larger than the pages which try to contain them.
The chapter headings increase the tension and pace of the novel by announcing the day and time. I was immediately intrigued by how the chapters followed on each other - starting at 4.30am and then moving on through the day, sometimes by a matter of minutes to 4.32am and sometimes longer like 12.10. This is a brilliant technique. The sense of a countdown, an anticipation of a climatic finale, a sense of chase and urgency can only make you want to read on. I'm also a fan of these sorts of headings as it does help you keep track of any changes in the chronology of events or dual timelines. Well, that's if I remember to read them properly in my impatience to get on to the next chapter!
It very much reads like a film - which is no surprise as it started off as screenplay and the TV rights have been already snapped up. It will make a fantastic film. It is a great debut and will be highly successful.
"Ragdoll" is published by Trapeze on the 23rd February 2017.
At 33 years old, Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer and most recently for the RNLI, driven by an intrinsic need to save people or perhaps just a guilty conscience about the number of characters he kills off in his writing.
He has received a three-book publishing and television deal for his debut crime series which publishers and producers describe as “pulse-racing” and “exceptional”.
Daniel currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book two in the Nathan Wolfe series instead.
You can follow Daniel on Twitter @Daniel_P_Cole
Find out more about "Ragdoll"- including lots of other reviews of the book -by following Ben Willis on twitter : @BenWillisUK @orionbooks
Here is an article from the Guardian from last April anticipating the phenomenon of "Ragdoll":
the guardian - exparamedic wins three book and tv deal
For more recommendations and reviews you can follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk)