Source: Review copy
Publication: 5 September 2019 from Trapeze
A locked room. A dead body. A secret that went to the grave.
When retired police officer Finlay Shaw is found dead in a locked room, everyone thinks it’s suicide. But disgraced detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes isn’t so sure.
Together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and private detective Edmunds, Wolf’s team begin to dig into Shaw’s early days on the beat. Was Shaw as innocent as he seemed? Or is there more to his past than he’d ever let on?
But not everyone wants Wolf back – and as his investigation draws him ever deeper into police corruption, it will not only be his career on the line – but the lives of those he holds closest as well…
Endgame is the last of the Ragdoll trilogy and though it contains all the characters we have come to know and love, as a story I think it works well in its own right and could therefore be read as a stand-alone. To get the most from it though, start with Ragdoll, the first book.
I think Endgame is the best of the three books so far. It has an excellent story arc, starts with a locked room mystery and is full of the irascibility, humour and fast paced action for which the Ragdoll series is known.
Our protagonist Wolf reminds me slightly of Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb. He has the same lack of respect for rules; the ability to suss out double dealing and match it with even greater duplicity, the foul mouth and the biting wit. The comparison ends there, of course, but Wolf is a larger than life figure that cannot be ignored.
Finlay Shaw an ex-copper, is found dead at his home, by his wife Maggie, with a gun by his side William Fawkes (Wolf) is not prepared to believe that his long term friend would ever commit suicide because he loved his wife too much.
Wolf ropes in DCI Emily Baxter, PI Alex Edmunds and Jake Saunders to look into Finlay’s old cases. Commissioner Christian Bellamy, Finlay’s partner in the early days and long-term friend ever since, joins them in searching out the answers to how and why this happened.
The answer lies in the past and it is soon clear that there are people who will go to any lengths to make sure it stays there.
With Wolf treading a very thin line between being re-arrested and sent to prison, you’d think this would not be a time for Wolf to go round picking fights and complicating his already pretty dire personal life, but that wouldn’t be Wolf. His past actions as well as Emily Baxter’s impinge on this case and as they get into the depths of the investigation there is a tension in the team that is palpable and things get very heated.
Daniel Cole has written a cleverly constructed plot, with great characters and a lot of fast paced and violent action. What makes these books stand out though is the interaction between the characters with all the scathing wit and put downs that make the reader laugh at the same time as they are in the midst of deadly gun battles.
Verdict: Excellent, fast paced entertainment that offers a thrilling ride. Cole’s tight plotting and lively wit make this a sure fire winner. Let’s hope there’s more to come.
Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer and most recently for the RNLI, driven by an intrinsic need to save people or perhaps just a guilty conscience about the number of characters he kills off in his writing.
He currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing instead.