Book review: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Permalink

Ragdoll is Daniel Cole’s first novel and it started life as a screenplay. Perhaps that’s where the problem lay a little for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong… I enjoyed this book, but I know many have LOVED it. And I didn’t. I think the book had great potential, but it felt like we were in people’s heads when we shouldn’t have been and timing and elements (on occasion) seemed bit confusing.

Book review: Ragdoll by Daniel ColeRagdoll
by Daniel Cole
Series: Detective William Fawkes #1
Published by Trapeze
on February 23rd 2017
Source: Hachette Australia, NetGalley
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Police Procedural
ISBN: 1409168751, 9781409168751
Pages: 359

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, 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.

The book opens in a courtroom with Detective William Oliver Layton-Fawkes (WOLF) attacking a man after he’s found not guilty of killing and cremating 27 teenage prostitutes.

We’re in the head of one of the jurors when it happens, but suddenly move to Wolf’s as he ‘tastes blood’ when tackled.

We then leap forward in time and – perhaps I’m thick – as I found it a little confusing as we’re drip-fed information about Wolf for some time. Eventually we learn he did some time in a psych ward before returning to the police force. (And if that seems improbable – without offering up any spoilers – he came back by popular demand. An encore of sorts, if you like. 😉 )

Wolf, Emily Baxter and her new probationer Edmunds are given the case of the stitched-together body and tasked with identifying those who died so the doll could live. Well, not live… but you know what I mean!

However, they’re sidetracked as Wolf’s ex-wife (and journalist) receives a package from the killer with a list of who’s next.

We soon learn the Ragdoll case has ties to the Cremation Killer and Wolf’s on the killer’s hit list. And there’s the proverbial race against time as the detectives try to save each of the intended victims.

All of that was enjoyable, but… there are leaps in time (and continuity) that plagued the last part of the novel (for me). Of course there’s meant to be an element of confusion as we try to separate the goodies from the baddies, and I have no problem with ‘grey’ in my reading. However… it (occasionally) felt a little all over the place (structurally) and seemed to end quite abruptly.

I wondered on more than a few occasions if bits had been cut and pasted as I kept thinking I was missing some backstory… ‘why does Chambers walk with a limp?’ and comments about Wolf leading Baxter on ‘for years’, for example. I know structural edits usually pick up on those types of issues so wondered if the novel needed a little more work. Of course, it also could have just been me!

But… having said all of that, I did enjoy this book for the most part and kept turning the pages, needing to know what was next.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole will be published in Australia by Hachette and available from 28 February 2017.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


  • Stormi D Johnson
    February 21, 2017

    It sounds like an interesting one even though you didn’t like it as much as you would have liked. I have heard of this one and I think it might be on my wishlist, if not it needs to be. 🙂

    • Debbish
      February 21, 2017

      Most people are really raving about this one Stormi!

  • Emma
    February 22, 2017

    This doesn’t sound as good as I had hoped. I read another book recently where I spend a large part confused by the timeline. Don’t feel,like repeating it any time soon.

    • Debbish
      February 22, 2017

      It may just be me Emma – though another Aussie blogger I know commented similarly in FB – everyone seems to really be enjoying this book. Keen to hear what you think if you read it!

  • Laurel-Rain Snow
    February 26, 2017

    Hmm, I was drawn to the title, but now that I’ve read your review, which was a great one, I think that I would also be confused a lot of the time…so I don’t think this one is for me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Debbish
      February 26, 2017

      You’re welcome Laurel but…. as you know reviews are so subjective. It could have just been me!

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