The Cutting Season (2022) by M W Craven

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe was spending his Saturday afternoon just hanging around – albeit hanging from a meat hook inside a packing plant, surrounded by members of one of London’s finest organised crime syndicates. And to make matters worse, the Pale Man, a renowned contract killer is on his way.

It started with Poe and his partner, computer genius Tilly Bradshaw, being called to Bristol to investigate a possible cannibal-killer. And now it’s brought him here, at the mercy of some of the most dangerous men in London.

Exactly as he’d planned it…

Quick Reads is a plan by The Reading Agency to get adults into reading. Publishing novellas from quality authors, written as short reads but not in anyway dumbed down for the reader, the intention is to provide a stepping stone into reading. Since 2006, there have been 135 titles published and this year includes another outing for Poe and Tilly, the best crime fighting duo since… well, I’m not sure I can think of a pair off the top of my head that I enjoy quite as much as these two.

Thus far, they have featured in four novels, The Puppet Show, Black Summer, The Curator and Dead Ground, all of which come with my highest recommendation (alongside Born In A Burial Gown and Body Breaker) and this novella provides a perfect snapshot of the books. For a 131 page paperback, with fairly large print at that, it’s quite astonishing how many twists and turns Craven crams into the story. It’s the perfect sampler for the series and with The Botanist, the next Poe novel on the way, it’s a perfect appetizer.

I should also point out, if you read and enjoy this one but still feel a little daunted by tackling a novel, then there is a collection of three Poe & Tilly short stories titled Cut Short out there. For some reason I haven’t reviewed that, which gives me a perfect excuse to re-read it. See you in a few days with that review…

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