Book Review: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Pages: 400
Publisher: Orion Publishing
Printer: CPI Group
ISBN: 978-1409168768
Price: £8.99

Here we are, a month later and another review. ‘Bout time.

At A Glance

Very disturbing premise of six body parts sewn together to form one single corpse, accompanied by a morally questionable detective with a very dark past.

Plot

The plot here follows a framework any crime reader will find familiar. A body is found which reveals a big twist, subsequent clues seem hard pressed to uncover, with fresh killings happening very evenly distribute throughout the story.

Only the book does veer off dramatically in the third act, surprising even myself!

Whilst the first two acts are classically formulaic, the introduction of additional elements to the case are very nice. It thickens the plot and not for the sake of it. Every detail links together intrinsically, culminating, finally, in a very tidy and cliffhanger ending. Nothing dull here.

Writing

Yet another piece of crime fiction that delivers strong on the dialogue quality, but this time doesn’t drop on the rest. Each scene is described succinctly and in detail, whilst high tense scenes and twists are structured with staccato sentencing. It’s very easy to read at pace here.

The lexical density is also strong, for a crime novel that sits in the realm of crime, unlike other titles which sacrifice richness of text for a quick exciting pace. Daniel does both here and it’s brilliantly executed.

Chapters meander from various third person perspectives and not once, whilst reading this late at night on occasion, did I lose the thread. Where it needs to be, plot devices and other fragments of information are plainly presented.

All in all, very tidy, intelligently and enjoyably written with plenty of peace with perhaps a hint of stylistic identity.

Characters

Another part the author nails are the characters, all vivid and real with their own motives, acting in real ways rather than the usual mundane passive behaviour found in many other titles.

Wolf, the main detective, or William Fawkes, is flawed, volatile and riveting from the first chapter. The other main protagonists are all vocal and have their own distinctive behaviours and reactions to events. The killer throughout is entirely enigmatic and it isn’t until the very end you meet them.

I would say the books strongest point is how many characters with good amount of depth, are found amongst the pages. It never feels crammed in or superficial. The sense of return from investing in them emotionally is paid off frequently and it’s very enjoyable.

Conclusion – 9/10

I had reviewed this as an 8 but I have to nudge it back to a 9. There’s very little I had problems with here and that’s just nitpicking. As a whole this book has the full package. It’s original, has great characters with their own agency, a polished plot that is complex to a point and the writing is neat, descriptive and stylish.

It’s the kind of book I’d recommend to those who don’t usually venture into the genre. Pick it up!

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