A serial killer with a gruesome M.O. taunts an already damaged London detective.
If there’s one thing that takes the wind out of fictional serial killers’ sails it’s when they deliver exactly what they threaten. Especially when this involves a kill list, such as the one in Cole’s predictable debut, which earns high marks not for originality but for the number of clichés utilized. DS William Oliver Layton-Fawkes (no wonder he goes by Wolf) is only just back on the job after a demotion and a stint in a mental hospital following a violent blowup in court, where, after a verdict didn’t go his way, he beat the newly vindicated man nearly to death. Turns out that Naguib Khalid, whom Wolf was positive was “The Cremation Killer,” was bad news after all, as he went on to set a child on fire (the squeamish should not read this book; Cole seems to delight in being gruesome without the benefit of furthering any salient plot points). Wolf’s new case isn’t any less grim: in an empty apartment, a strange corpse is discovered with the singular distinction of being one body comprised of pieces of six victims sewn together like a psychotic poppet. Wolf and his former partner, DS Emily Baxter, in charge of training the team’s new guy—who seems to be the only one capable of real police work—determine that the chopped bits are all related to Wolf’s previous case. And the killer isn’t done: a list is delivered containing six names and six dates, presumably the so-called Ragdoll Killer’s next victims. And Wolf's is the last name on the list.
Unnecessary blood and guts can only go so far to obscure the fact that this is a well-trod plot lacking in any real twists or substantive character development.