Review: Hangman by Stephan Talty

Friday 30 January 2015
Title: Hangman
Author: Stephan Talty
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 4th December 2014
Pages: 384
Source: bookbridgr
ISBN: 9781472200204
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon

When serial killer Marcus Flynn last haunted North Buffalo's streets, horror rippled in his wake. Though imprisoned, his legacy - and the mysterious fate of his last victim - lives on.

Now the monster who condemned innocents to death has escaped and is poised to strike again. In a city gripped by fear, homicide cop Absalom Kearney is the only one who can stop Hangman's second reign of terror.

Abbie must lead the desperate manhunt to track a relentless predator because with each passing hour the deaths are mounting up and Hangman's noose is getting tighter...

There's something about books featuring serial killers that fascinate me, and they are the crime novels that I tend to pick up more than most. Perhaps it's what led me to study Psychology at university (briefly). Maybe it sounds wrong but it's the books featuring the more evil killers that I look out for. Chris Carter is the author I've found that can create fictional characters that instill genuine fear in me, yet the serial killer created here by Stephan Talty isn't far behind. This book immediately jumped out at me after I read its blurb, so thank you to bookbridgr for the review copy.

There's no shortage of crime novels out there so why should you pick this one up over those? It's thrilling, pretty much from the word go the action kicks in starting with the serial killer Marcus Flynn escaping whilst in the middle of a transfer. One minute he was securely restrained (even Houdini wouldn't have been able to escape) and being threatened by the transporting officer, and on the next page he had escaped, throwing the entire Buffalo PD into disarray and almost frightening most of the force. A criminal that has the police scared is a frightening one indeed, as they are the people tasked with protecting the public, if it gets out that one of the most evil serial killers there ever was has escaped, it won't just be the police running scared. The first question I had was how did he escape that? And then why did he escape? Absalom (Abbie) Kearney is one of the officers tasked with going back and looking at Flynn's history, to see whether they can predict where he will turn up, and whether he might pick up where he left off.

This was my first read from Talty, so I wasn't familiar with the character of Abbie Kearney but the book can be read as a standalone, enough information is given about the characters to get you up to speed, and enough is given away about the previous book to make you want to read it after this one (which I'll hopefully be doing soon). She's a very intriguing character, and in crime fiction some authors often struggle to write a character that isn't just a cardboard cutout of what a crime fiction detective should be. She's definitely a character I want to read more about in the future, so I'll be keeping a lookout for book three. From beginning to the end I found this book incredibly addictive, it's one of those books I would usually read in one sitting, but I couldn't with this one so found myself desperate to read it all of the times that I wasn't able to. There's tension, mystery, intensity and at times excitement as the story progresses and more is revealed about the Hangman, and the police pull out all the stops to try and apprehend him.

Overall I have no trouble recommending this book. Due to its fast moving plot and some brilliant characterisation and storytelling it's a quick and easy read, and a very enjoyable one at that.


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