Book Review: Hangman by Stephan Talty

18050076Title: Hangman

Author: Stephan Talty

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty’s acclaimed fiction debut, Black Irish, won him comparisons to such thriller masters as Jo Nesbø, Karin Slaughter, and Tana French. Now, his chilling new novel brings back intrepid heroine Absalom Kearney, a driven police detective with a haunted past, trying to make a difference in a troubled town.
Hangman, Hangman, what do you see? Four little girls, as cute as can be. The eerie schoolyard chant still sends ripples of horror through North Buffalo. Not so long ago, serial killer Marcus Flynn preyed upon the community’s teenaged daughters—until he was cornered and shot in the head. But Flynn lived, carrying to prison the nickname “Hangman,” along with the secret of his last victim’s fate. Homicide cop Abbie Kearney wasn’t around during Hangman’s reign of terror. She hadn’t yet come home to wear her dad’s old badge in the tough Irish American stronghold known as “the County.” Abbie had never experienced firsthand the horror of Hangman. Until now.
Hangman, Hangman, where do they go? Down on the ground, where the daffodils grow. A corrections officer lies dead, a prison van stands empty . . . and somewhere out there, the monster who condemned innocents to death at the end of a rope watches and waits to strike again. Abbie leads a desperate manhunt through a city driven to its knees by fear, matching wits with a predator as brilliant as he is elusive. But as more victims are claimed, a rising tide of secrecy, paranoia, and politics forces her to realize that stepping beyond the law may be the only way to find justice. Because with each passing hour, the stakes grow higher—and Hangman’s noose gets tighter.

Hangman begins with the escape of a pscyhotic serial killer known as “The Hangman”. Abbie Kearney is a profiler with the Buffalo Police, and she’s set on the case to find this twisted serial murderer before he makes another victim. But as the clock starts ticking, and terror rises in the otherwise sleepy town, Abbie and her team realize they may have more than one killer on their hands. What if the Hangman has an accomplice? And how the heck can they find out who he is? Abbie tries to get to the bottom of the Hangman’s personality. She wants to find out who he is, why he kills people, and why he targets a specific group of girls, and hopefully before it’s too late.

Abbie is an intriguing main character. With a haunted past, a healthy dose of determination, and a knack for profiling, she’s an enjoyable protagonist to read about. The pacing is set on high from the first pace, and the writing was brutal, suitable for the genre, and for the characters passing the revue. It’s dark, gritty, nail-biting suspense, just the way I like it.

As a downside though, there could’ve been more character development. Even though Abbie goes through a great deal from start to finish, in this book, her personality never changes or grows because of it.

Apart from that, I loved the book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery/suspense novel.

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