Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Washington Poe #2

Black Summer

Rate this book
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.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published June 6, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

M.W. Craven

22 books1,392 followers
M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,718 (54%)
4 stars
2,489 (36%)
3 stars
542 (7%)
2 stars
68 (<1%)
1 star
20 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,019 reviews
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
June 3, 2019
MW Craven proves that his stellar crime debut The Puppet Show was no fluke and then some with this sequel featuring the charismatic pairing of DS Washington Poe with his traumatic and haunting background and the unforgettable genius that is the endearing crime analyst, Matilda 'Tilly' Bradshaw, on the autism spectrum, at the National Crime Agency. In Cumbria, Constable Graham Alsop of the Neighbourhood Policing Team is a problem solver running sessions at the library for the community after budget cuts and the closing down of police stations in the area. A young woman in a dreadful state staggers in claiming to be Elizabeth Keaton, speaking of her traumatic experience of sexual abuse for years after being abducted. The only problem is that she is supposed to be dead, and her father, famous celebrity chef Jared, of the well known local Bullace and Sloe restaurant with its Michelin stars, is in prison, serving a life sentence for her murder.

The man responsible for Keaton's conviction was Poe, and he is urgently called back to Cumbria where he has a remote home, Herdwick Croft, and his dog, Edgar. Supported by Detective Superintendent Gamble, Poe returns to the scene of the crime, the Bullace and Sloe kitchen where evidence of heavy amounts of blood were found. Elizabeth Keaton has provided irrefutable blood samples that prove that she is who she says is, and Poe follows this chain of evidence to ensure that it has not been tampered with. Poe found Jared to be a cruel, and sadistic personality, hidden behind his public persona of a affable and charming man in public and on his TV shows, in fact Poe is certain the man is one of the worst psychopaths he has ever encountered. Jared's legal team have mounted a challenge to his conviction, Poe knows he is in trouble when he meets Jared again, a man who is going to be free very soon. With Gamble suspended, DCI Wardle, his replacement. has Poe in his sights when Elizabeth disappears. With the net closing around him, Poe calls in Tilly, if anyone can counter the threats he faces, it's going to be her.

Tilly has grown in personal stature and confidence since we last saw her, she now runs her own team of IT nerds and geeks, and whilst she still makes unfiltered comments that disconcert and confound, she has learned to fit in a little more. DI Stephanie Flynn, gives up on trying to get Tilly to adhere to a dress code, understanding that this asset has to be managed differently and she does not get in the way when Tilly goes to help her good friend, Poe. In a complex and tangled investigation, it takes Poe and Tilly some time before they begin to see the chinks of light that allude to the murky truth. This is a fantastic read, entertaining, tense, suspenseful, full of comic humour and wit, and Craven, in Poe, and in particular, Tilly, indisputably has a winning set of protagonists whose relationship is a joy to observe. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to the next one in this highly recommended series! Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
June 1, 2021
Black Summer is the eagerly awaited second book in the Washington Poe series from Mike Craven. It is an outstanding return for Poe and his colleague, Tilly Bradshaw, in a thriller that is as captivating, dazzling and edgy as any crime mystery I’ve read this year. Poe and Tilly have such a wonderful partnership that exudes humour, loyalty and great personal charm. They are both highly capable investigators, but from different ends of the spectrum – Poe who reads people well, and plays by hunches and his gut feeling, and Tilly who is a remarkable data scientist who operates through logic. As outliers, they don’t always fit well with others but have an affinity and stubborn loyalty to each other.

Six years earlier, Washington Poe led on the conviction of celebrity chef Jared Keaton for the death of his daughter Elizabeth. Her body was never recovered but the amount of blood found in Jared’s kitchen confirmed the location and she couldn’t have survived that amount of blood loss. Poe assessed Keaton as a charismatic, talented, psychopath, and deemed him the manifestation of evil.

Back in present times a dishevelled woman walks into a police facility and claims to be Elizabeth and she’s been held captive for over 6 years, where she has been abused and malnourished. DNA tests prove beyond doubt, she is Elizabeth Keaton, and Jared Keaton was, therefore, convicted for a crime that didn’t happen.

With Jared Keaton being released from prison, the finger of blame is pointing towards Poe. With revenge and incrimination converging on Poe, he reacts the only way he can.
“It was time to stop messing about. He needed to play his wild card. His nuclear option. He unlocked his Blackberry, typed out a four-word message, and sent it into the ether. Four words Keaton couldn’t have planned for, Tilly, I’m in trouble.”
Tilly arrives without delay with her arsenal of computers, peripherals and software that just puts her in a zone where data patterns and data enrichment, provide insights that few can comprehend. Can the skill and resourcefulness of Poe and Tilly resolve the mystery and the looming threats from a psychopath and a legal system both seeking retribution?

In an atmosphere of uncertainty, the tension and menace mounts as Elizabeth disappears again and the criticism falls on Poe. Mike Craven does a masterful job in providing nonstop suspense and suspicion as his plot winds its way through a story that is full of hostility and apprehension. The characters continue to evolve and in particular, Tilly is maturing in her social etiquette, not completely, as this is still causing some light humour. She also has her own team of techie geeks back at the NCA supporting police investigations. I loved the personal battle Poe has with himself, moving from a position of pity and anger at his own past to acknowledging his responsibility and power to change his life. It is brilliant characterisations that draw a reader into admiring or feeling anxious about the growth of a character. Mike is a writer with a wonderful sense of humour and you can see the opportunities he creates to entertain with some very witty and amusing situations.

I would highly recommend reading this book and I’d like to thank Little Brown Book Group and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,131 reviews39.3k followers
July 26, 2020
Yess! You know the feeling when your highly praised author decides to write another book of your favorite series which means your favorite characters are back promising you thrilling, entertaining, mind blowing hours of fun! You just want to chant, dance and fill your heart with pure joy and happiness!

The first installment of Washington Poe series was stunning. I loved Poe and his intense past story, his secluded life, his unusual methods to solve the cases. Of course we’re also introduced one of the genius, geek, socially awkward but also dedicated, concentrated, quirky Tilly Bradshaw and her extraordinary skills with numbers. That girl who was bullied by her own colleagues and restricted by her own mother, finds her freedom and tests her limits by leaving her comfort zone to help to solve one of the most complex cases and saves Poe’s life.

Now they are investigating the other complex, enigmatic, shocking, mind numbing case: could a death person resuscitate and come back after 6 years? If she is an impostor how can she has same blood type with the death girl? Could Poe be wrong about a person’s psychopathic tendencies and send an innocent man behind the bars?

Poe sent a charismatic, psychopathic, narcissistic top chef Jared Keaton: a mash up of Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal meets Gordon Ramsey to prison for killing his daughter Elizabeth Keaton six years ago. The daughter’s body has never been found till she appears out of nowhere at a police station to give testimony about her abductor which means Poe’s career in under a big threat. An innocent man might have convicted because of his testimony and now Jared Keaton will be out of prison! But Poe knows in his guts he was a killer but if the young woman lies about her identity how her blood test results match with Elizabeth Keaton’s results. There is too many scientifically unexplained things started to occur in the case and when he wants to talk with the woman insists she’s Elizabeth, he finds out the woman is missing.

Poe is in deep trouble. He can lose everything he worked for and he can also find himself behind the bars because somebody tries to frame him about Elizabeth’s disappearance. He needs help and thankfully Tilly is all set to give her support and her extraordinarily fantastic investigating skills to bring the justice and save Poe’s ass one more time! And wait for the jaw dropping cliffhanger at the end! I wish I have at least 3 more books of the series for my smart thriller craving moments!
This book is gripping, surprising, smart, entertaining with its memorable characters. Now the third installment Curator is out and forth book is on its way (we have to wait for one year but fingers crossed to read the ARC) and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!

I hope I may out this fantastic series on your radar! I highly recommend Poe and Bradshaw’s smart, captivating, addictive adventures!
Profile Image for Beata.
714 reviews1,088 followers
September 5, 2019
This novel was what I call a page-turner as I kept turning the pages, neglecting some chores (no complaints here!) and speculating: 'Now, how was that done??'
This novel has the right pace, the intrigue, good dialogues and characters who, though not perfect, know how not to be ouwitted.
A case seemingly impossible to solve kept me guessing till the very end.
A big thank-you to Mr Craven and Constable for a print copy of the book. The opinion expressed here is entirely mine.
Profile Image for Labijose.
941 reviews401 followers
March 13, 2022
Me gustó “El show de las marionetas”, y su continuación “Verano negro”, me parece una secuela digna. El autor sabe desenvolverse en el género, y lo demuestra con una lectura ágil e interesante. Por ponerle un pero, el papel de Tilly perdió la frescura de la primera entrega, pero aún sigue siendo un personaje entrañable, el complemento directo de ese Poe huraño y, a veces, intratable, salvo por ella y por su jefa Flynn.

La trama está conseguida si consigues salvar algunos aspectos que, puestos a ser quisquillosos, te pueden rechinar un poco. Sabido es que en este tipo de novelas los autores suelen estirar el chicle hasta límites a veces poco o incluso nada convincentes. Me refiero a cómo hay que encajar la trama para que todo cuadre. Aquí creo que la novela ha estado a punto de descarrilar en un par de ocasiones (todo el misterio sobre la identidad de Elizabeth, la hija de nuestro chef asesino, aún no sé si está bien logrado, o es que me dejé llevar). Finalmente, creo que el autor sale bastante indemne, pero veremos si lo consigue en próximas entregas. En cualquier caso, la agilidad de la narración y ese idílico emplazamiento, esa Cumbria británica que tantas ganas dan de visitarla te aseguran una lectura muy agradable. Craven sabe describir paisajes y situaciones, con lo que tiene mucho ganado. Y por supuesto, esos maravillosos protagonistas, Tilly y Poe. Mientras la química entre ellos funcione, me tendrán siguiendo sus investigaciones. Y la nueva aportación de la forense patóloga Doyle también promete mucho jugo, si continúa apareciendo.

No es necesario haber leído “El show de las marionetas” para entender esta continuación, pero lo considero más que recomendable, sobre todo, por lo que a Tilly se refiere.

Profile Image for Matt.
3,671 reviews12.8k followers
July 19, 2019
After devouring M.W. Craven’s series debut, I was quick to get my hands on a copy of this sequel, which packs just as much punch with its sensational storytelling and strong plot. Washington Poe is still reeling from the fallout of the Immolation Man case and he carries the burns on his hands to prove it. When he is called back up to Cumbria, he cannot be sure if there is more he will have to remember. However, it is another of his past cases that comes to the forefront. Six years ago, Poe helped to put Jared Keaton behind bars for the murder of his daughter. While working in the front of house of her father’s restaurant, Elizabeth Keaton was apparently attacked, spilling enough blood in the kitchen to ensure she could not have survived. However, with no body, it was all circumstantial evidence, which Poe used to ensure the Michelin-star chef did not see the light of day. When a woman claiming to be Elizabeth Keaton stumbles up to a police officer, all bets are off. Poe is sure that Elizabeth is dead, citing the forensics found at the scene, though the blood of this woman matches the victim perfectly. Elizabeth claims that she was abducted, but cannot remember much of anything else. Poe must work fast to see what is going on, calling upon his analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, whose book smarts and social awkwardness may help forge ahead. They explore all the evidence once again and thrust themselves into the cutthroat world of the culinary arts, trying to piece the crime together, while Jared Keaton prepares to be exonerated and Poe’s future hangs in the balance. How can the blood lie, twice, and what happened six years ago to turn things completely upside down? ‘Elizabeth’ disappears again, adding depth to an already confusing set of facts. Poe and Bradshaw will have to work quickly, though with the help of their National Crime Agency colleagues to find answers. There may be something embedded in Keaton’s gastronomical gifts that tells the tale, but time is limited. Another stunning novel that Craven uses to captivate the reader throughout. Not to be missed by fans of the first book, and highly recommended to those who want a stunning read to pass the time.

M.W. Craven takes the reader down one rabbit hole and up another in this stunning sequel that carries on not long after the debut piece. It is not only a wonderful story, but the reader can find themselves in the middle of relentless action while discovering the darker sides of police procedurals. Washington Poe is again front and centre in this piece, with grit and determination to solve the crime offset by a desire to be sociable wherever possible. Poe’s desire to see things through to their completion adds a thread to the story, as he forges ahead to ensure that he truth prevails, even if it could cost him everything. Poe refuses to back down and will work outside the chain of command if he feels that he is in the right, though he understands the need for deference during certain situations, usually of his choosing. The other members of the National Crime Agency prove able to complement Poe and contrast nicely with all he does, particularly Tilly Bradshaw. Her social cluelessness is balanced with extensive knowledge and dedication to working no matter the hour. When not adding levity to the story, Bradshaw is extracting needed results to help Poe prove his point, no matter the location of facts and information. Others work well to keep Poe in line (or defying them) and there is no shortage of clashes throughout this piece. The story was stellar, pulling on both past and present, with excellent detail embedded in a narrative that flows freely. The smallest of facts can prove to be the most important, given enough time and effort, forcing the reader not to discount anything that Craven puts to page. Those looking for something deeper, but not wanting to lug around a thick novel ought to locate M.W. Craven’s work, as he packs a punch like no other in a compact writing style. And now we wait for the next book, to help replicate this awesome feeling of excitement I’ve come to know this week!

Kudos, Mr. Craven, for another strong novel. You surely have a way with words and can captivate me like no other when you put your ideas to paper (or on screen).

This book fulfils Topic #6: Current Equinox in the Equinox #8 Reading Challenge.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,911 reviews1,440 followers
May 3, 2020
Well that’s what I call a gripping read, it was impossible to put down! This is the second in the Washington Poe series and is just as twisty and clever as the first one. After a young woman in a weakened state walks into Alston Library where PC Alsop is holding his once a month police clinic this leads to a case that puts Poe in the firing line once again, risking not only his career but his liberty too. DNA tests prove that the young woman is Elizabeth Heaton, there’s just one problem she is meant to be dead, her father celebrity 3 star Michelin chef Jared Heaton is serving a long prison sentence for her murder, with Poe being the officer responsible for putting him away. How is all this possible? Poe and his super skilled friend and colleague Tilly Bradshaw apply every ounce of their resourcefulness and out of the box thinking to solve this seemingly impossible conundrum.

Mike Craven has a remarkable talent for creating fantastic characters (and a dog, Edgar ❤️) some of whom are immensely likeable (Poe, Tilly, Flynn etc) and some that are odious, for inventing plots that are so creative and left field but makes very plausible which is combined with atmosphere, tension, menace and dark humour.

Overall, one of the best police crime procedurals I have read in a long time. Can’t wait to read number 3!
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,445 reviews575 followers
March 10, 2020
M.W. Craven has written a second book in the superb crime series featuring the unlikely, captivating pairing of Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw. The plots are clever, intricately constructed, puzzling, and seemingly unsolvable. This is an intelligent, dark, twisted, and ingenious crime case.

Poe, a sometimes morose and angry loner, is an intuitive detective who goes by his hunches and his ability to read people by their actions and reactions. He has a history of breaking police rules and ignoring directions in pursuit of justice. This disobedience has resulted in his dismissal from cases in the past. He has developed an endearing and protective relationship with data analyst and profiler, Tilly Bradshaw.

Tilly is a highly educated tech wiz with extraordinary skills in programming, statistics and pattern analysis. She is highly functioning intellectually with Aspergers Syndrome. Tilly is a literal thinker, has problems reading emotions, recognizing sarcasm and social cues. She expresses whatever is on her mind but is starting to filter out inappropriate remarks. She now has her own team of computer geeks and nerds. The two have developed an effective partnership in solving crimes, and have become best friends.

Poe is in trouble. His testimony sent a celebrity chef, Jared Keaton, to prison six years earlier. Jared owned a 3 star Michelin restaurant and starred in a popular TV series. He was a handsome, charismatic psychopath. He was sentenced to prison for the murder of his teenage daughter, Elizabeth, although her body was never found. A large amount of blood containing her DNA was found in the restaurant. Expert testimony was presented that she could not have survived that amount of blood loss. Now, a dishevelled young woman walks into a library room which the only policeman in the village uses as a monthly police office. She tells the officer that she is Elizabeth Keaton who has been held captive and abused in a basement for the past six years. Blood analysis and DNA confirms her identity.

Poe is now blamed with sending the wrong killer to prison, and his career may end in disgrace. He still believes against all odds that Elizabeth was murdered by her father. He and Tilly work frantically, each using their separate skills, to solve this insurmountable puzzle. Then Elizabeth vanishes again while Jared’s guilty verdict is being overturned. Poe has enemies on the NCA who feel Poe might have murdered the newly resurfaced Elizabeth. Poe, Tilly, and a couple of police officers work frantically to solve the twisted mystery of new DNA evidence, find the young woman, prove Jared’s guilt, and all before Poe is charged with murder. Their time is running out!

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a dark, witty police procedural with a seemingly unsolvable mystery and unforgettable characters.
Profile Image for Aitor Castrillo.
Author 1 book755 followers
December 16, 2021
Nunca he comido en un tres estrellas Michelín. No..., tampoco lo he hecho en un restaurante de dos ni de una. ¡Pero he leído Verano negro!

Los ingredientes de la novela que más me han gustado han sido:

🥄 Un arranque in media res relacionado con Poe, que nos pone sobre aviso de lo que más adelante va a suceder.

🍽 El planteamiento del caso: nuestra pareja de protagonistas Washington Poe y Tilly Bradshaw investigan la "muerte" y "reaparición" de Elizabeth Keaton. Su padre es Jared Keaton, chef del restaurante tres estrellas Michelín Bullace & Sloe, que lleva seis años cumpliendo condena por el asesinato de su hija.

🍴 Capítulos cortos que invitan a seguir leyendo.

🔪 Un psicópata muy psicópata.

🍦 Aunque en un determinado momento dudé sobre si el autor iba a ser capaz de cerrar el caso de un modo creíble, lo cierto es que la resolución me ha parecido acertada.

Sabores que he echado en falta:

🧂 Un poquito más de Tilly Bradshaw hubiera estado bien. Aparece menos que en El show de las marionetas... ¡Y es muy grande esa mujer!

Valoración final literario-gastronómica a la novela: 4,5 estrellas Michelín.

He decidido envasar las estrellas al vacío y redondearlas a 5 porque es muy difícil hacer lo que tan bien hace M.W. Craven 👨🏻‍🍳✍🏻🤩.
Profile Image for LolaF.
386 reviews205 followers
March 31, 2021
Leído y disfrutado.

¿¡Qué puedo decir de este autor que ya me gustó con su primer libro, El Show de las marionetas!? Me gusta este tipo de libros: el estilo de redacción sencillo, los personajes bien perfilados, unos "simpaticotes" y otros "malotes/despreciables", un caso original con su punto macabro y una tensión en aumento. Un libro que te atrapa.

Una escena inicial -sacada del libro- que adelanta y promete. No sabes cuando, ni como, ni porque, pero esa pequeña rendija que has vislumbrado ya te mantiene en alerta. Y cuando alcanzas ese punto de lectura, ya tienes tantas cosas en la cabeza que dices "Uff" y ¡ahora como arreglamos todo esto! Pero tranquila, sabes que en esta trama, la maraña aún se puede liar más y luego hay que desenredarla. Aunque sospeches o intuyas algunas cosas en la investigación, los finales van "in crescendo", son sorprendentes y están bien "atados".

Me gusta la ambientación, y no solo me refiero a ese paisaje agreste en Cumbria amenazado por una tormenta. De cualquier estancia, hace una pequeña descripción, lo suficiente para poder situarte.

No hay muchos nombres y personajes, por tanto aunque a veces los mencione por el nombre y otras por el apellido -cosa que no termina de gustarme-, es fácil seguirlos y ubicar quien es cada uno en todo momento.
En esta entrega Tilly ha perdido parte del "encanto" que tenía en la primera novela. Aún recuerdo lo que me reí con ella en El show de las marionetas.

Hay una trama principal bien definida, el caso a investigar. Y una secundaria, que de vez en cuando aparece, basada en temas personales de nuestro protagonista, Washington Poe, y que te deja con las ganas de saber como continuará.

No se recrea en escenas sórdidas, pero el caso a investigar, no tiene "desperdicio".

Deseando estoy continuar con la serie.

Valoración: 9/10
Lectura: marzo 2021
Profile Image for Laura y sus libros.
314 reviews128 followers
October 19, 2022
Segundo libro de la serie protagonizada por la pareja más entrañable de la historia del thriller Washington Poe y Tilly Bradshaw y no es que Poe sea adorable en si mismo, pero el tándem me tiene “in love”.

Al igual que el primero tiene una trama fantástica, diría que incluso mejor. Es una lectura muy amena que te engancha enseguida. Además, los paisajes de esa desconocida Cumbria inglesa nos vuelven a acompañar dejando un poso de humedad en los huesos difícil de olvidar.

En este caso una mujer se presenta ante la policía diciendo que es Elisabeth Keaton, una chica a la que supuestamente su propio padre, un aclamado chef con estrellas Michelin, mediático a más no poder, asesinó hace unos años. Aunque fue un caso polémico Poe reunió pruebas suficientes para demostrar la implicación del chef y éste fue declarado culpable aun sin haber aparecido el cuerpo de la chica.

Deciros que el comienzo del libro es muy potente, de hecho, una de las primeras escenas en las que aparece “el pajarito” me fascinó y me horrorizó a partes iguales. Os recomiendo sin duda leer esos primeros capítulos para que sepáis a qué me refiero. Eso sí, ya os aviso que no hay vuelta atrás… comenzareis a leer y no parareis. Podríais leerlo aun sin haber leído el primero, pero ya sabéis que la subtrama de los personajes siempre se queda un poco coja cuando empezamos por el medio de una serie.

Uno de los puntos fuertes de este autor es que deja todos los hilos perfectamente cosidos. Aun habiendo cosas que puedas pensar: A ver cómo sale de esta… pues sale y sale bien, de una manera creíble y contrastable.

Otro punto a favor es el desarrollo de los personajes, ya en el primero los perfiló de forma magnífica y en este podemos ver evolución y coherencia en sus historias y formas de ser.

En este me ha faltado un poquito más de protagonismo de Tilly ya que es la que le da el toque de frescura y humor a esta saga.

Sin duda continuaré leyendo las andanzas de esta dúo de investigadores, ya anda por mi estantería El procurador esperándome.
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,601 reviews2,552 followers
December 11, 2019
Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com

On the fourth Wednesday of every month ‘problem-solving officer,’ Graham Alsop resides in the library in the village if Alston, Cumbria. The local police station closed in budget cuts and now just one day a month the residents of the village can see Officer Alsop to tell them any problems that have occurred in the last month.

Whilst attending his post a young woman, muddy and undernourished wanders into the library, apprehensive at first she approached Officer Alsop’s desk and tells him she was kidnapped six years ago and held captive until she recently managed to escape, she gives her name as Elizabeth Keaton.

Detectives are soon called in and DS Sergeant Poe is asked to return to Cumbria from London as a matter of urgency. Upon his arrival he is questioned about Elizabeth Keaton who went missing six years earlier and her father, celebrity chef Jared Keaton charged with her murder, for which Poe was the lead officer.

Poe is flabbergasted. The woman looks like Elizabeth and the DNA from her blood proves she is Elizabeth but Poe still isn’t convinced. With the help of his loyal team, including Crime Analyst Tilly can Poe prove he was right all those years ago or is he just going to have to come to terms with the fact that he messed up Elizabeth’s missing person case and put an innocent man behind bars?

After the spectacular first book in the series, ‘The Puppet Show’ comes this outstanding novel ‘Black Summer’ featuring the Cumbrian DS Poe and the wonderful Tilly. I was looking forward to reading more about Poe and the introduction had me on the edge of my seat, I knew this was a book I wasn’t going to be able to put down as it was already dark and foreboding.

DS Poe is a man who goes with his gut. He’s been in the police force for a long time and it was his gut feeling that brought the killer down in the first book, so surely he couldn’t have been wrong about Jared Keaton, all the evidence suggests he killed his daughter, but now his daughter is here and Poe doesn’t know what to think. He’s conflicted but he is also doesn’t want a guilty man being released from prison without some thorough checks, even Elizabeth’s DNA isn’t enough for Poe.

This is a book that plays with your mind if you have read the first book you will understand and know how Poe works, so how could he have been so wrong about Elizabeth. However, you also feel as if you are on tenterhooks waiting for the confirmation on whether this is really her or not and if it is who took her and why.

The book will have you guessing trying to figure out the pieces yourself and doubts about Poe and his initial investigation do creep in as well as doubts about Elizabeth too. It often felt like I was part of the team and working alongside them to solve the mystery. Gosh, I even made notes.

If you love crime thrillers then this is a series to read. It keeps you on your toes and has an amazing cast of characters as well as set in a beautiful part of the UK. With the third book, The Curator, coming out soon, I can’t wait to meet Poe and the team again.
Profile Image for Carol.
613 reviews203 followers
July 20, 2022
Jared Keaton, chef extraordinaire, is serving a life sentence for the murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe. When a young woman appears 6 years later claiming to be Elizabeth Keaton, Poe could be in big trouble. He calls on his good friend, the 'brilliant but socially awkward' Tilly Bradshaw, for help.

Book 2 in the Washington Poe series is even better than Book 1, imho! It's been a while since I read The Puppet Show so I don't recall the opening chapter but in this one as well as in The Cutting Season, a 2022 Quick Reads, the opening paragraphs are shocking and unusual. An internet search confirms that the information about the Ortolan Bunting is factual.

I really like the interaction between Poe and Tilly. Shortly after Tilly arrives at Poe's croft and after being brought up-to-date she "reached over and awkwardly patted him on the head". I could just picture that - So cute! The story was excellent, the characters were interesting and believable and I learned a lot about cooking as well as underground nuclear bunkers. I really enjoyed this book but it took me a long time to read it so I guess I didn't find it a real page-turner. Still I'd rate it 4.5 stars rounded up!

I borrowed a copy of this book from the London Public Library and I'm looking forward to reading Book 3, The Curator, which the library also has on the shelf.
Profile Image for Iloveplacebo.
368 reviews157 followers
February 5, 2023
Una novela que engancha, con un caso muy interesante, con personajes geniales, un desarrollo creible, y diversión, mucha diversión.

El punto fuerte de este libro es que al acabar un capítulo sientes que necesitas seguir, por como el autor los termina; y también los personajes.

Me ha durado 2 días (y son 400 páginas), así que por supuesto que os lo recomiendo.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
790 reviews243 followers
April 17, 2022
Another brilliant, gripping, interesting and very intelligent plot with terrific characters.
I don’t need to say anything else.
The opening was barbaric, but thankfully that was the only disturbing scene.
Very entertaining!
I loved the twists!
I’m looking forward to reading the follow up (books 3 & 4 are already separated but I want to read something else between).
I do recommend the first book, The Puppet Show.
Profile Image for Mark.
1,096 reviews
July 1, 2019

Washington Poe is back!
Things have moved on since ‘The Puppet Show’ ( Book 1 ) finished and its fair to say this can be read as a stand alone or of course as Book 2 in the series, there are enough small nods to past events that if this is your first outing with Poe then you get a bit of a back story
It was good to have Poe back, I am not a massive lover of series books but took to Poe and Tilly ( his unorthodox tech expert ) in Book 1 and so was looking forward to the new case.....

Elizabeth Keaton was killed, brutally murdered by her father, psychopath and celeb chef Jared Keaton.....well, that is until she turned up at a Cumbrian library 6 years later!
Poe had been in charge of the investigation, now he is about to be investigated and Jared Keaton is to be released
The evidence is 100% watertight
Everyone can see that
There is nothing Poe can do
But he has a niggle....and once he starts he cant stop as he re investigates Elizabeths murder in his own special way
How can a murdered girl re appear, with the correct blood and dna!!??!!
A taut, tense and exciting thriller filled once again with humour, atmosphere and wonderful descriptions of Cumbria
I look forward to Book 3
The acknowledgements at the end are definitely worth a read as well
Talented author and a good solid story told in this authors unique way
9/10. 4.5 Stars
Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
282 reviews160 followers
September 18, 2022
Segunda novela de la serie protagonizada por el sargento Poe.

Una lectura muy amena y ágil, con una trama llena de giros -pelín menos lograda para mi gusto- y sumamente entretenida.

Los personajes son geniales: atractivos, carismáticos y peculiares.
Profile Image for Natalia Luna.
262 reviews121 followers
May 13, 2021
3,5 ⭐

Bien este segundo libro de la serie Poe. Me pareció un comienzo potente y algo extraño pero fue efectivo porque me intrigó mucho.
El libro cumple su cometido, engancha y estás deseando avanzar en la lectura. Pero noté algo forzados algunos temas. También me chirria un poco que "los malvados" se caricaturizan en exceso.
Ni tan mal, en líneas generales un libro que se disfruta.
Profile Image for NZLisaM.
414 reviews366 followers
July 12, 2019
The highly anticipated second installment in the Washington Poe series delves into the world of renowned celebrity chef, Jared Keaton, and his Michelin 3 star restaurant!

In his last case as a DI, Poe's evidence and testimony, along with a blood spattered restaurant kitchen, saw Keaton receive a life sentence for killing his daughter, Elizabeth, even though her body was never found, and no motive was ever established.

Six years later, a scared, disheveled, malnourished young woman limps into the library. When approached by an on-duty policeman, she identifies herself as Elizabeth Keaton, and says she's been held captive by a stranger all this time. DNA testing proves she is indeed Elizabeth.

Poe (now working as a DS) is in hot water. DNA doesn't lie! Yet he's still confident he got it right all those years ago, believes Jared Keaton is a true psychopath, and intends to prove it. But, he needs to do it fast as it's only a matter of days before Keaton is released back on the street.

Like The Puppet Show, Black Summer opens with a brief, shocking, italicised prologue, showing the final moments of an unidentified victim’s life. It certainly got my attention! And when chapter one started with the fate of two poor songbirds called ortolan bunting, I not only praise the author for his originality, but knew I was in for one hell of a story! And, the plot delivered on every level, had me confused (in the best way possible) and kept me guessing.

I was thrilled to return to such an amazing cast of characters – Poe and Tilly Bradshaw stole my heart in the first book – I just adore their friendship and every interaction so much. Edgar the spaniel is also a firm favourite, and the new faces that were introduced slotted seamlessly into Poe and Bradshaw's universe.

As someone who is not a fan of trendy restaurants charging exorbitant prices for a minuscule portion of an unusual combination of ingredients, the food, meals, and abundance of courses described in this book was equal parts amusing and fascinating. And I'll never order soup off the menu again!

Could be read as a standalone, but The Puppet Show earned 5 stars from me last year, so why wouldn't you start there? Readers of police procedurals, and those who love puzzling, hard-to-solve crimes will not want to miss this one. Roll on book three.
Profile Image for Anabel Rivas .
265 reviews
April 28, 2021
Genial! No me puede gustar más como escribe M.W. Craven.
Deseando que llegue el próximo!
4.5 que redondeo a 4
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews395 followers
July 26, 2020
5 stars is simply insufficient! That was deviously clever, deliciously convoluted, devilishly complex, I’m sure you get it. It was right up there for me. How do you even conceive a plot like that? And all without gratuitous violence, except towards the poor ortolan bunting (a songbird from the south of France) the preparation and eating of which was described very early in the book. Is it even gratuitous when you eat the animal? Either way, it is an actual thing, I looked it up, I’m still thinking about it - but I digress...

After the consumption of the ortolan bunting Washington Poe (he didn’t indulge by the way) is arrested on suspicion of murder. How is that even possible? Poe, you may remember, is our clever little dick from book 1 (The Puppet Show). Then we go back two weeks to learn how all this comes about.

So, two weeks ago a young woman, emaciated and traumatised, drags herself to the part-time police desk in (I forget the name of the village) and claims she has just escaped from 6 years of captivity. She claims to be Elizabeth Keaton. This sets all sorts of alarm bells ringing because 6 years ago Poe nabbed her father, celebrity chef Jared Keaton, for her murder despite the lack of a body. The police hierarchy doesn’t like cock-ups so Poe is summoned to explain. Luckily Superintendent Garrison is involved, he trusts Poe. Despite the DNA from the woman’s blood matching a sample from 6 years ago (and DNA doesn’t lie) neither Garrison nor Poe is comfortable with the whole thing. Poe is asked to confirm one way or the other but time is short as Keaton is to be released shortly.

Poe enlists the help of Tilly Bradshaw, the wonder analyst, again and the work of crunching through the data begins. It was a real pleasure to read a book for myself, especially one as good as this. If you are a fan of the series you will be pleased to know there is a fourth book in the works. Unfortunately, it is about a year away.
Profile Image for Helga.
847 reviews120 followers
July 2, 2019
Dark, witty, grisly, brilliant!
Nail-biting. That is one of the states you will find yourself in, reading this book.

How can someone be alive and dead at the same time?

Six years ago the highly successful chef Jared Keaton is arrested for the murder of his daughter Elizabeth. Although the police are unable to find her body, Keaton is convicted nonetheless based on circumstantial evidence discovered by D.S Poe. Poe has no doubt that Keaton is the murderer.

Six years later a young woman walks into a makeshift police station and claims to be Elizabeth. Exhausted and emaciated she is, but dead she certainly is not!

Has Poe made a grave mistake and sent an innocent man to prison? Is the woman really Elizabeth?
Is Keaton as blameless as he claims to be?
Profile Image for Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings).
1,501 reviews151 followers
June 5, 2019
I was very late to the party reading “The Puppet Show” (the first in the Washington Poe series) and after thoroughly enjoying it, I was very excited to be able to read the follow up “Black Summer” immediately after. Although either book works well as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading in order as it does benefit you to learn how all the working relationships link together.
The story starts with a prologue that was attention grabbing, a first chapter that was like something out of a Hannibal Lecter movie, which then rolled smoothly straight into the second chapter that was truly intriguing, instantly captivating me, ready for the rest of the book. What more could you want from a crime thriller?!
Although the first chapter is rather grisly and involves the fine dining of a bird called the Ortolan Bunting, I was so intrigued I actually researched this subject and found it to be very interesting, if not shocking and upsetting.
I wholeheartedly love the characters the author M.W. Craven has created. Washington Poe is a troubled man but not a one that brings his issues front and centre of the story but subtly in the background and his relationship with Tilly his analyst sidekick is really quite endearing. I also liked the introduction of the forensic pathologist Estelle Doyle and thought she was another quirky character to add to the fantastically created list of characters. This made for very enjoyable reading and a definite desire for me to continue this fabulous series further again in the future.
What really made the story for me was that it wasn’t just any police procedural but a one based on departments you don’t normally hear of - the NCA (National Crime Agency) and SACS (Serious Crime Analysis Section). It’s nice to read about unknown departments in the police force and learn how the different officers all work together to fight crime. It also combines a character driven novel with action, intrigue and good old fashioned police work with the addition of a computer expert that truly knows her stuff.
I love discovering new authors and when I initially read “The Puppet Show” I knew this was going to be a series I would be addicted to and being a local author to me, it was nice to be able to relate to places mentioned in the story. I do hope one day to meet M.W. Craven at a local bookstore and chat about Washington Poe and Tilly’s relationship!
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of these books. They’re excellently plotted, well thought out, instantly addictive and wholly absorbing.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Black Summer” and rate this five star read as an absolute must read for 2019!

5 stars
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
459 reviews79 followers
June 30, 2022
Black Summer by M.W. Craven is book 2 in the Washington Poe series and I just love it so far this series seems to get more exciting with each book.(also I need more 🌟)
Poe and Tilly are two characters you can't help but love and their quirky chemistry (it's like a brother ten years older and the geeky little sister) they have makes this series enjoyable and believable it also gives you a smile when it gets a little darker 😊
It's extremely addictive which makes it hard to put down,if you're looking for dark, disturbing and a heap of gore when you least expect it then I definitely recommend this 📖👍
Profile Image for Terence M - [back to abnormal].
491 reviews169 followers
February 25, 2022
4.5-Stars^5-Stars - "It Was Excellent, I Really Liked It!"
Black Summer - Author: M W Craven
Narrator: John Banks - Audiobook 09:47 Hours

From my Reading Activity:
February 12, 2022 – "Hopefully Washington Poe #2 is as enjoyable as #1(The Puppet Show). At 24%, the first couple of hours have been ok."
February 15, 2022 – "At 40%, this is looking (sounding) like the goods!"
February 20, 2022 – "At 80%, 'Exceptional so far! I just hope the final 2:17 hours are as good as the previous 7:30 hours have been!"
February 20, 2022 –"At 100%, an excellent sequel to Washington Poe, #1!"

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to (Washington) Poe and Tilly (Bradshaw) solve an extremely absorbing and insanely complex criminal plot. The characters of Poe and Tilly have been well developed since the Puppet Show and as members of the National Crime Agency, they are very ably supported by their boss, DI Stephanie Flynn.

Enjoyably, these three main characters maintain quite distinct personalities and in #2, author Craven has not hampered their blossoming development by introducing the common impediments of "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" into this thriller. They would have been superfluous because Craven has an extremely devious psychopathic maniac driving the plot and that is all this excellent story needs to keep readers (and listeners) on the edge of their seats.

Once again, narrator John Banks does great justice to Craven's characters, adding his own subtle vocal characterisations and interpretations to further enhance the author's superb writing.
Profile Image for Adrienne.
512 reviews121 followers
August 31, 2019
Loved it. Wonderful. So many twists and turns. And how they all added up correctly - in the final chapter. Beautifully crafted characters, almost improbable events - that the normal mind rarely is able to eventually grasp. But is easy for a psychopath.
Delightful prose. Unputdownable.
Profile Image for Javir11.
520 reviews154 followers
October 29, 2022

Igual que el anterior me ha parecido una lectura muy entretenida, aunque es cierto que me ha gustado un poco menos, o quizás sería mejor decir que me ha sorprendido menos, por eso la nota es un pelín inferior.

Lo mejor me ha seguido pareciendo la relación entre Poe y Tilly, creo que es una pareja que da mucho juego y que se complementan de forma genial. La trama policial tiene puntos muy buenos y algún rodeo que me ha parecido innecesario, pero en global cumple de forma notable. El desenlace cierra bien la novela, pero podría ser mejorable, está todo demasiado cogido con alfileres y creo que podría haberse desarrollado mejor.

En el aspecto negativo, pues ya lo comentado en el punto anterior, un final "para mi" mejorable, pero como digo se cierra bien y es más por ser tiquismiquis. En todo lo demás no tengo ninguna queja, tiene buen ritmo, engancha y se lee muy bien.

Tras un primer libro que me sorprendió para bien, este segundo mantiene el nivel, algo que no siempre es fácil, por lo que estoy deseando leer el tercero y estaré atento al cuarto que está cerca de salir. Creo que esta es una serie policiaca muy recomendable.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,019 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.