Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

If you like your crime fiction gory, then this may be for you.  I enjoyed it.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

‘One dead body, six victims’

Meet William Oliver Layton-Fawkes, an English detective nicknamed ‘Wolf’.  He’s just been reinstated to the Metropolitan Police Force four years after his attempt to kill a man.  A man he was convinced was a serial killer –twenty-seven victims in twenty-seven days – even though a jury had returned a not guilty verdict.

Wolf receives a ‘phone call early one Saturday morning, summoning him to a crime scene.  The body, the ‘ragdoll’, is composed of the body parts of six different victims stitched together, suspended in a room close to where Wolf lives.  He can see his own flat from the window.

Wolf recognises the head of the victim as the man he tried to kill four years earlier.  Who are the other victims, and why were they killed? And then a list of names and dates, together with photographs of the ragdoll is sent to Wolf’s journalist ex-wife, Andrea.  The first name has today’s date, and it is clearly a hit-list.  Now the police are in a race against time: both to try to identify the owners of the body parts, and to try to prevent the people on the hit-list from being murdered.  There are a number of puzzles to be solved in the search for the murderer, and at times Wolf is his own worst enemy.

In addition to Wolf, there are a number of other interesting characters.  There’s a young policeman who becomes obsessed with the case, whose research is essential.  There are personal histories to be understood and aspects of various pasts to be negotiated.  And, it would really ruin the read if I write much more about the story.

If you like fast moving crime stories, if you can handle dark novels with flashes of black humour, then you may want to pick this one up.  The main characters are interesting, and mostly well developed, the story is detailed and has a number of different layers.  There’s plenty of tension as the time ticks down.

I picked this novel up, and found it very difficult to put down.

Note: My thanks to Hachette Australia and NetGalley for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith