- Ragdoll (Ragdoll #1).
- Daniel Cole.
- 378 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, 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?
I received this book courtesy of the kindly soul who left it on the charity bookshelf at work.
Since its release last year I’ve seen so much praise for Ragdoll and now after finishing it all I can say is, firstly, it is fully deserving of all the praise that it has received and secondly, fuck me (obviously not literally unless you ask me really nicely) this book is good…..really damn good!
Ragdoll is the debut book from Cole which I find hard to believe as it is such an accomplished read that I devoured, it is the equivalent of crack, a potent new strain of book crack that kept luring me back with its addictive qualities.
Ragdoll starts with a prologue set in 2010 at London’s Old Bailey courtrooms on the final day of the trial of The Cremation Killer (a sadistic murderer who burns young girls alive) where the verdict on whether the suspect is guilty or innocent will finally be given and serves as our introduction to Detective Wolf (William Oliver Layton-Fawkes, yes, it’s a mouthful and yes, that’s what she said). 😉
We then jump forward in time to 2014 where the outcome and aftermath of that trial from four years previous has reverberations that echo throughout the duration of Ragdoll.
In a flat, a body is found but this is no ordinary body, oh no, six victims and six mismatched body parts have been stitched together to form a grotesque and macabre parody of a human that is subsequently dubbed the ‘ragdoll‘ by the media.
The flat opposite where the ragdoll has been placed just so happens to be the dwelling of Wolf and to complicate matters the outstretched arm and finger of the ragdoll are pointing directly at it!
After the gruesome discovery of the ragdoll, Andrea, a news reporter and Wolf’s ex-wife appears with an envelope for Wolf. The envelope contains pictures of the ragdoll but also a kill list with a set of six names and dates for a series of future murders.
If the police are to have any hope of stopping the killer and protecting the people on the list then they will need to identify the six people who make up the ragdoll and also find the connection and link between those names on the killer’s list and those bodies that comprise the ragdoll.
Interspersed with the present day storyline there are also a few flashback chapters parsed throughout Ragdoll that help to fill you in on some of the complicated backstory revolving around Wolf.
Along with Wolf the rest of the team hunting the ragdoll killer compromising Baxter, Edmunds, Findlay and Simmons all offer the reader individual personalities that as a collective make for a tremendous group of characters.
For me, Wolf and Emily Baxter are the two stars of the book (Baxter takes the lead in Hangman, the sequel and I’m eager to get my grubby mitts on it sooner rather than later). Wolf is a tortured and tormented soul and Baxter also has her own issues but both are utterly compelling.
Ragdoll is dark in tone, very dark in places and it definitely scratched my itch for some delicious and devilish darkness but what sets it apart is the inclusion by Cole of the sardonic wit that is laced within the pages. The wit never feels shoehorned in and comes across as completely organic to the characters and is a welcome addition.
Told through multiple points of view the pacing is fast and the story is constantly driven forward. There are plenty of twists, turns and shocks throughout the course of Ragdoll that both keep you guessing and keep you coming back for more. Add in the humour, emotion and some grisly deaths and just like the hunt for the Ragdoll killer consumes Wolf and the team the book itself will consume you.
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