Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

William "Wolf" Fawkes is notorious for taking down the bad guys. And not in a good way. After a suspect Fawkes was convinced was a serial killer was handed a verdict that would allow him to walk, Fawkes attacked the man. It would have meant the end of his career had the man not been caught shortly after the assault standing over another victim. 

Fawkes's vindication was bittersweet considering it meant the loss of a child. And though that vindication meant some leniency for the officer, Fawkes's actions couldn't go unpunished. 

Now, back on the job and under a very watchful eye, Fawkes is called to a bizarre and twisted scene: a body, posed in a building overlooking Fawkes's own apartment, stitched together from pieces of six different victims. In the hours after the discovery, Fawkes's own ex wife, a well known reporter, is handed a list of targets the killer will go after next. With the clock ticking, Fawkes and the rest of the London Met team will have to piece together the clues to identify the initial six victims in hopes of finding something that will lead them to the killer - all the while trying to keep more targets safe under lock and key. 

I wanted to love Daniel Cole's debut. It's dark and gritty and features a number of flawed characters, not the least of which is Fawkes himself.

Unfortunately, the characters, with the exception of one, felt thin at best. And each time I thought we'd get deeper into their individual stories and motivations, Cole pulled back. For me, it seemed too much of the focus was on shocking the reader with the next twist and the next bloody bit of evidence, rather than building a cast of characters interesting enough to carry a series.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do love dark twists, and Ragdoll has them in spades. From the discovery of the first crime scene all the way to the very end, Cole does a great job with all that darkness. But the true shocks sadly fall flat because I couldn't rally behind the characters. I needed that extra piece - that depth - to truly invest myself in the book. And the twist, while I thought it was a great one, came too late to be all that believable or effective for me.

Ragdoll had a lot of promise and it is the first in a series. I liked it well enough to read more, but I do hope the next book will pack more of an emotional punch.

Rating: 2.5/5

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