For the Joy of Reading: Ragdoll

Daniel Cole has the kind of imagination that you would not want to meet on a dark night. Or indeed, in the bright morning sunshine.   The first thing that happens is that a serial killer is acquitted, and violently assaulted by Wolf, the police officer leading the investigation. Then the serial killer murders again, and is caught red-handed, literally red-handed.   Next, six people are murdered and parts of their dismembered bodies are sewn together to make a monstrous rag doll of a corpse.   And the police officer, who committed the assault, having been sent to an asylum, is re-instated and becomes the leading officer in the Ragdoll case.

Now you may question whether any of this is plausible, for the very good reason that it isn’t.   But then neither is The Hound of the Baskervilles nor The Speckled Band.   And I have always thought that Miss Marple would have been charged with wasting police time.   As for the Jack Reacher stories.   Well.I think I have proved my point.   The question with a thriller of this kind is not its accuracy, but whether or not it is able to hook the reader on the story.   I think it does.   I found it enthralling.    I had to remind myself to stop reading so that I could eat.   Sleep did not happen until I had finished.

I am not sure that I actually liked the characters, but I did want to find out what happened to them.   They did demand the reader’s sympathy because of their fallibility.   [This is one of the plausibility issues – would a police unit by staffed by so many unhinged people – but Cole makes you believe it for the sake of the story.]   And, much more important, I wanted to find out who had committed the murders, and why they had done it.   The answer was not one that I actually expected, but that was part of the pleasure of reading this story.   Daniel Cole kept keep me on tenterhooks, because I was not sure what would happen next.

One major thing to point out is this – if you have a weak stomach, this is not the book for you.   There are a number of scenes that will make the weak-stomached rush to the bathroom to vomit.   The descriptions are graphic, not to mention inventive and thoroughly nauseating.   You really do not want to meet this imagination on a dark night. Trust me on this.

That, however, is the attraction of reading this book.   This is Daniel Cole’s imagination.   It did not happen.   You are safe, and you can cosy up under your duvet, scaring yourself witless for the sheer fun of it.

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