[REVIEW + Q&A with the author] Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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I decided to request this book from Edelweiss because it looked very appealing + had an interesting storyline and to my great luck I got approved! First the Final Girls by Riley Sager and now this one!

This debut from Daniel Cole follows not just one character but quite a few – even though Detective William Fawkes is at the center of the book – interesting characters. Detective William Oliver Layton-Fawkes called ‘The Wolf’ has just got back to his position as a detective after being suspended for four years because of an incident that happened at the trial of ‘The Cremation Killer’. This trial along with the serial killer Naguib Khalid was the most shocking media covered trial in London. The reason behind William’s suspension was his unprofessional outburst in court. Along with his career went his personal life, his marriage with a gorgeous journalist Andrea and his interpersonal relationships.

William gets called to a crime scene by Detective Emily Baxter – his old friend and partner from the days when he was a detective – and when he gets to the crime scene which was situated right across his apartment he comes upon a bizzare and gory sight – unlike any he has seen before – it is six body parts attached to each other with an arm pointing to his apartment. From this point on Fawkes begins to suspect that this has something to do with him. His ex-wife Andrea receives an anonymous list of names  – a hit list – that contains dates of the victims’ doom days but what strikes her as odd is that the last person on the list is her ex-husband Detective William Fawkes.  She makes sure that Fawkes gets the list and the detectives Emily Baxter and her trainee partner Alex Edmunds start working on figuring out who the killer is and why these murders are happening. This is the moment when Fawkes realises that his past might be what’s pushing the ‘Ragdoll’ killer to commit these murders.

First of all I must say that Cole’s writing and switching between narratives is what I look for in books. I always try and figure out what is going on in the characters’ head and this book gives a great insight into that. Once you start reading it you just can’t stop. William Fawkes was a very well crafted character along with his backstory which played a huge part in the novel. Cole gives a voice to many other characters (e.g. Andrea – Williams’ ex-wife was a refreshing character because we got to see the things from the perspective of the media and not just the POV of the police)  in the book which I highly appreciate.  This book made me laugh with characters’ funny comments and it made me scared for the victims. The executions of the victims were very interesting because of the ways the author did them. The ending could’ve been done better but I guess it needed to end that way because without it there wouldn’t be a sequel.  Cole has a way of pulling the reader into the story and not letting go of them until the very end. There will be two more novels in the future which I am very much looking forward to read! The TV series based on this novel is in the works and I hope that they stay true to the book and don’t ruin it.

Ragdoll’ is an engaging, funny, filled with plot twists kind of a thriller which everyone can enjoy.

Thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Collins: Ecco and Daniel Cole for granting me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

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At 33 years old, 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 has received a three-book publishing and television deal for his debut crime series which publishers and producers describe as “pulse-racing” and “exceptional”.

Daniel currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book two in the Nathan Wolfe series instead.

Ragdoll is his first novel.

Find him on:  Website (publisher),  Twitter,  GoodReads

 Click below to read my interview with the author.


BTP: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to answer some of my questions!  ‘Ragdoll’ is your debut novel which is absolutely amazing – witty, filled with mystery, lots of plot twists – Can you tell me how did you come up with the story?

DC: Firstly – thank you. But to answer your question: no. I actually can’t. Ragdoll started life as a television screenplay I wrote about seven years ago. Although it has expanded immensely in its transition from screenplay to novel, all the basics were already there – the characters, the tone, the premise. So, I just picked up from where I’d left off and continued the story, but I honestly don’t remember where the inspiration came from.

BTP: I love the way you switched narratives from one person to the other because it gave them a voice and it made their stories seem real and not one dimensional – Can you tell me how did you come up with writing it like that? Did you always plan on writing ‘Ragdoll’ with switching narratives?

DC: I think my utter ignorance on the subject of writing a novel is to thank for that. The book plays out in my head like a movie, so that’s how I wrote it down; however, it was always important to me to have an entire cast to play with rather than just one main character. Although Ragdoll is undoubtedly Wolf’s story, book 2 is someone else’s, which lets me take it in a fresh and unexpected direction.

BTP: Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes is a great character with a troubled past – What made you write him like that?

DC: Wolf is a combination of all my favourite heroes/anti-heroes. I love a bit of moral ambiguity – pushing the boundaries to see how far you can take things with a character while still keeping them on side, and that’s equally true of Baxter and Edmunds in their own ways too. It’s been interesting to discover that everyone who has enjoyed the book has a different favourite character.

BTP: ‘Ragdoll’ is rather dark and wonderfully crafted – Was it hard for you to go from writing the dark scenes and go back to regular life and socialising?  What was your mindset like?

DC: I can’t say that I ever really thought about it. Ragdoll is littered with humour and genuine warmth between the characters, so I don’t think writing it was ever very dark for very long.

BTP: Are you an introverted or an extroverted person?

DC: Definitely introverted, which is why I thought being a writer would suit me… But then they started putting me in television adverts and on the radio and up on stage and… I may have made a horrible mistake. 

BTP: How long did it take you to write this novel?

DC: Again, I’m not being evasive on purpose. I just genuinely couldn’t say. The first quarter of the story was in that original screenplay, which had several rewrites and additions. I wrote the novel through the night between shifts and then that too went through several different drafts and edits.

I can tell you that book 2 took me a year though.

BTP: How often do you write and do you have any strange writing habits?

DC: No one should ever emulate my approach to writing. I am embarrassingly undisciplined, will only write if I’m really, really in the mood and can go months without doing a thing… But then, all of a sudden, I’ll do it obsessively for weeks at a time, grow a big beard, and start looking a little homeless and sleep deprived (as I tend to work best at night).

As for strange writing habits – only that I tend to handwrite chapters in rough first.

BTP: Was there a particular scene which you found hard to write?

DC: Somewhat predictably – the ending. I went through several rewrites to ensure the conclusion lived up to the rest of the story that preceded it.

BTP: I wonder – did you research certain things while you were writing the book? I know that you have some knowledge in the medical field.

DC: To a degree, I did, but Ragdoll isn’t a straight police procedural. It’s hyper-real. It’s escapism and entertainment. I had to put in enough of the investigation work to give it some grounding while skipping through as quickly as I possibly could to the next bit of excitement/character development/humour.

BTP: Can you tell us the title of the next Detective William Fawkes novel and what awaits us in it?  Will it be released in 2018?

DC: I doubt I’d be allowed to even if I’d decided on one.

For the time being, it’s simply titled: Ragdoll 2: Ragdollier.

…and yes, it’ll be out next year.

BTP: ‘Ragdoll’ is becoming a TV series (congrats!) – Who would you like to see portraying your characters?

DC: In an ideal world, I’d like Mark Ruffalo for Wolf, Domhnall Gleeson for Edmunds, and my little sister Melody for Baxter (on whom the character was loosely based).

BTP: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing a novel?

DC: J.K. Rowling, Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, Ken Follett, Ali Shaw – to name but a few.

BTP: What are your favourite books and what are you currently reading?

DC: From the above list – The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Last Kingdom, Wolf of the Plains, Jackdaws, The Girl with Glass Feet.

I’m not currently reading anything because I’m deep into the edits on book 2.

BTP: It was a thrill interviewing you for my blog – hopefully we’ll do this again when the next book comes out! Good luck with your book and I hope it gets the attention it deserves! Looking forward to chatting with you again. Cheers!

DC: Cheers!

Thank you to Daniel Cole for answering my questions and to Ben Willis for making this Q&A possible.

11 thoughts on “[REVIEW + Q&A with the author] Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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