Dead Ground by M. W. Craven [8/10]

Dead Ground” is the fourth outing for a sparkling mystery series featuring serial killer hunters Detective Sergeant Washington Poe and his analyst, Tilley Bradshaw. He is bluff, unstoppable, and intuitive, while she is super-geeky and nigh socially inept. The novel opens with a riveting scene featuring vault bandits wearing James-Bond-actor masks and quickly moves to a baseball bat murder in a Cardiff brothel. Poe and Bradshaw become swept up into MI5’s domain, and the case (the cases?) grows ever more baffling. The author proceeds in short, sprightly chapters featuring pitch-perfect dialogue, with wonderful control of pacing. A classic mystery plot with unforeseen twists pins the reader to her seat. But the feature that distinguishes this series from the many mystery offerings I read is the hilarious, yet emotionally true rapport between Poe and Tilley. Dead Ground begs to be read in a single sitting and is one of 2021’s bumper mysteries.

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