BOOK REVIEW: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
Crime Thriller / Suspense
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?
For many years I have mostly avoided the more procedural style of crime fiction. So often they blend into one another, and the format that appeals to me in crime TV shows somehow doesn’t translate well into book format. But the premise of Ragdoll was too interesting to ignore.
Sadly, it was par for the course, and didn’t deliver anything to make it stand out from the crowd.
Part of the struggle with Ragdoll for this reviewer was the fact that it was hard to feel connected to any of the characters, and hence hard to really invest in the plot.
There were some nice and interesting (and by interesting I mean gruesome and inventive) methods employed in the killing of the victims, and quite a few laugh-out-loud quotes, but it seemed not to take itself all that seriously at times.
The DPG officer kept the gun trained on the man and backed towards the bag. He cautiously knelt down beside it and then very, very slowly peered inside.
‘We’ve got some sort of hot wrap,’ he told Wolf, as if identifying a suspicious-looking device.
‘What flavour?’ Wolf called back.
‘What flavour?’ the officer barked.
‘Ham and cheese!’ cried the man on the floor.
Wolf grinned: ‘Confiscate it.’
Wolf felt his mobile phone vibrate in his pocket. He took it out and glanced down at the short message from Andrea:
IM SORRY ( )( )
Wolf was suddenly unsettled. He knew that Andrea was apologising for more than the inappropriate penis drawing that she had, presumably, intended as a heart.
He picked up his disappointing hand and watched Finlay closely. After years of playing with him, he knew that he was a dirty cheat. Ford burst into tears after looking through his cards. which was not much of a poker face.
‘Got any threes?’ asked Finlay.
The fact that the mood did quite a bit of jumping from almost silly humour to super serious and back again with not so much in between meant that it was hard to gauge where it should sit on the spectrum of crime stories, though perhaps this would have played out better in the script this was originally written as.
All in all the writing was decent, the concept was interesting, and the characters were flawed and had distinct voices, but somehow it was still something of a miss for this reviewer. Premise aside, there just wasn’t a whole lot to make it stand out from the rest.
The writing is enough to encourage reading of further titles, but they won’t be first on the list.
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