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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: RAGDOLL, Daniel Cole

Ragdoll, by Daniel Cole. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“I couldn’t wait to read what on earth the killer was going to do next”


One body. Six victims.

The only thriller you need to read in 2017 'A high concept solution to a mystery' Sophie Hannah 'A brilliant, breathless thriller. If you liked Se7en, you'll love this!' M.J. Arlidge 'An exciting thriller' Linwood Barclay 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?


There is a lot of hype around this book, and that raises expectations exponentially. Forget the hyperbole, and instead simply treat it as just another book…

The storyline is one I couldn’t resist – there is a serial killer on the loose. I love a serial killer! Especially one with a penchant for the theatrical, and this one really does enjoy keeping everyone on their toes. The discovery of the ‘ragdoll’ of six bodies stitched together is only the beginning of the murder spree. The deaths are all so different and cunning, and I couldn’t wait to read what on earth the killer was going to do next.

‘Ragdoll’ does feel a little old-fashioned, in that it’s going back to the days of the detective being a white, middle-aged, hard-drinking, very troubled and inevitably divorced man. He’s a loose cannon. His sidekick is a woman with her own problems; and the tang of ‘will they/won’t they’ hangs in the air around them. Yes, we’ve seen that a million times before. And yet, for me, I liked the familiarity of it because it’s been a little while since I read one, as detectives (in literature, at least) are currently predominantly female. So the cliché of this detective felt almost refreshing, in a strange way.

There are some detective series of late which are written in a more literary way. This isn’t one of them. But it is rife with sarcasm drier than the Sahara, and dark humour that made me chuckle. Ragdoll was originally written as a screenplay, and that explains why the dialogue snaps along, with some great one-liners.

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut, which flowed with tension as Wolf races around London. I honestly couldn’t put it down. Is it realistic? No. But I don’t demand that of my crime fiction – fiction being the operative word here. For me, this was pure escapism that licked along at a breathless, high-speed pace.


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