When Poe and Tilly are dragged into another case, they soon realise that nothing is as simple as they’d like it to be.

Dead Ground is out on June 3rd!

Dead Ground is out on June 3rd!

Author of the fourth novel in the Poe and Tilly series of books, Mike Craven, lives in Carlisle with his wife Joanne and their springer spaniel. In 2015, Mike decided to become a fully-fledged author.

The synopsis

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe is in court, battling for his right to remain in the place he calls home, Herdwick Croft. However, during a significant moment in his case he is hurdled out of the courtroom and thrown into work.

Matilda Bradshaw, Poe’s friend and socially-awkward computer genius, joins him on his newest case. When they hear about the murder, a man murdered brutally in an empty pop-up brothel, they’re not sure what to think.

Their case only gets more complicated; as the odd pair dig deeper into the murder of Christopher Bierman, they begin to ask questions and snoop where they’re not wanted.

Nothing in the victim’s background seems to check out, something was stolen from the crime scene, and what does this all have to do with an unusual heist, where nothing was taken, that took place three years prior?

So, what did I think?

As a fan of this series from book one, I was more than excited to receive a copy of Dead Ground; it’s definitely safe to say that the fourth Poe and Tilly novel did not let me down.

Craven’s ability to write a complicated narrative but explain it in an understandable way is unmatched. The story for Dead Ground has so many different components, characters and twists; admittedly sometimes I was a little confused, but as soon as I wondered what was going on, Craven explained it simply enough using the voiced of two of the most extraordinary and impactful characters in crime.

What I adored about this novel was the fact that, after three other books, Poe and Tilly have not changed one bit. While Tilly’s awkwardness and lacking social skills have progressed, she still sometimes brings phrases like ‘spastic colon’ into conversation; fans of these books will laugh out loud, just as I did.

Poe is still a cynical, grumpy old man but, with Tilly’s undying loyalty and her mission to make Poe eat and drink eat healthier things (it doesn’t always work), he cracks a smile every now and again and seems happier having met Tilly. Their friendship is definitely the glue holding this series together, and I admired the fact that they love each other and always back one another up; it is a truly charming aspect of these books.

Perhaps the most notable thing about Dead Ground, was the fact that when a character noticed an important detail or the case heated up, I really felt as though I was reading my way through an action scene in a film; the genuine excitement and adrenaline that runs through the pages is exceptional.

The narrative for this book was a rollercoaster to say the least; I kept asking myself how a bank heist from three years ago and an unfortunate set of deaths in Afghanistan link together… Craven has an unmeasurable talent at keeping his readers guessing; even when I thought I knew who the bad guy was, I was wrong, and happily so.

The twists and turns within this book were in some ways better than many films I’ve seen. While it may be easier to show an audience what’s going on in a movie, Craven’s books go from leading you in gently, to throwing you into the deep end; this is a phenomenal way to tell a story and it works so well.

Dead Ground was, for me, another fantastic literary experience and a welcome addition to the already brilliant Poe and Tilly series; I’ll be holding my breath until the next novel arrives in 2022.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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