Ragdoll is one of those books that has already attracted a lot of attention, despite having not been released yet, and I was absolutely thrilled when Ben Willis at Trapeze sent me a copy for review.
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?
Given the description above, I was expecting this to be quite gory and graphic, but I didn’t find that to be the case. There are a couple of scenes that the more squeamish might not get on with too well, but overall I wouldn’t let that stop you if this is one you’re considering reading – I really didn’t think it was that bad.
The characterisation in Ragdoll is wonderful, and Wolf is one of the best detectives I’ve come across in recent years. Maverick doesn’t even begin to cover it, and he got into some serious trouble on a previous case. Having only just been reinstated when the ragdoll killer strikes, you might think that he’d be on his best behaviour in order to make a good impression, but it very quickly becomes clear that he has no such intentions – he just carries on exactly as he did before.
Ragdoll started life as a screenplay, and that comes through quite strongly in the novel – it’s incredibly cinematic and very easy to picture on screen. Oddly enough, having been rejected previously, the TV rights have now been snapped up, and I can’t wait to this portrayed on screen – I think it will be rather spectacular.
What surprised me most in Ragdoll was the humour. I think it’s really hard to do humour well in this kind of novel, but Cole manages it brilliantly, and I was regularly chuckling at the witty one-liners dotted throughout the novel. Needless to say, it is quite a dark humour, so may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I enjoyed it.
Ragdoll is a novel that I would have happily read in a single sitting, had life not intervened. It’s fast-paced and incredibly entertaining. If you like your crime / detective fiction to be plausible, this probably isn’t the novel for you – it reads more like a season of 24 than it does a “realistic” police procedural. And that is in no way meant as a criticism – Ragdoll is so entertaining that I was more than happy to get swept along by its narrative. This is a great read, and I can easily see it being a bestseller upon its publication.
Ragdoll will be published on 23 February by Trapeze – many thanks to Ben Willis for providing a copy for review.