Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

A review of the psychological crime thriller Ragdoll by Daniel Cole.

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Ragdoll is a psychological thriller set in London. The discovery of a body (well, parts of six victims sewn together) causes shock waves in the Met. Newly reinstated Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes is assigned to the case with his partner Detective Emily Baxter. The Ragdoll Killer, as named by the press, then releases a list of a further six intended future victims. The book follows this investigation.

This is Daniel Cole’s debut novel and although, at times, it lacks the well-polished feel of someone more established, it gives the narrative a different quality that I enjoyed.

Cole doesn’t fill the book with unnecessary description of the mundane. Instead, the book hooks you in from the beginning and makes you want to keep reading, even through the slower parts of the story. There are also no glaring plot holes or unbelievable deaths. Cole simply keeps up the pace and does not barrage the reader with useless information. There isn’t too much technical police jargon but some is used and is explained clearly.

The characters are well-rounded and interesting. The relationship the reader builds with Wolf is evolving all the time, going through sympathy, understanding, pity and to almost dislike; you experience a gamut of emotions. Wolf is unstable, to say the least; the interactions he has with his colleagues, the public and witnesses/suspects are interesting. The most fascinating relationship Wolf has is with his partner, Emily. She has always been a staunch supporter of Wolf, even covering for him when he bends the rules, yet even she finds it difficult to blindly ignore the growing evidence of his near-the-knuckle investigative ways. The peripheral characters are also well-written and believable. I think my favourite was Edmunds. His character brings a little brevity to the story and he is tenaciously determined to find the truth, even if it costs him his marriage.

This book is definitely not for the faint hearted; it is an enjoyable read. The methods of killing and the reasons for the victim’s deaths are clever and well researched. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, but you can almost imagine yourself in the victim’s place. The actual details of the murders are pretty gruesome, however they are not so bad that they enter the realms of gratuitous.

All-in-all I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading some more of Daniel Cole’s work.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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