A detective with no one to trust A killer with nothing to lose 18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest. In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis. Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?
Hangman had been burning a hole in my kindle for about three months and it was SO worth the wait! I almost didn’t care what the synopsis was: after Ragdoll, I would practically read the phone book if Daniel Cole had re-written it in his particular style.
“Freaks be freakin’”
The first few pages drop you straight into the story and it was brilliant just to be back in the dramatic, twisted and darkly comic Ragdoll universe. Cole wastes literally zero time before dropping in a couple of surprises and the pace rarely slows down from there.
I’m not going to say anything more about the plot than can be seen from the blurb because I don’t want to spoil even the tiniest of the book’s surprises. Suffice to say that nothing is ever quite what it appears but it is great fun trying to put all the clues together.
“I think we need to be more concerned about whoever it is who’s holding the strings”
Cole’s style is pretty unique and Hangman is another great combination of murder mystery, action thriller, gruesome horror and black comedy. It is brutal, clever, tense, witty and shocking.
The story is brilliantly plotted, the characters are three-dimensional and believable and the book is full of twists and turns. Cole also has his tongue knowingly planted in one very self-aware cheek throughout:
“She finally decided on Home Alone 2…The first movie was, secretly, one of her all-time favourites, but she found the second an uninspiring imitation, falling into the age-old trap of believing that by relocating the same story to New York City, they would create a bigger and better sequel”
I strongly recommend that you do not read this as a standalone book, because a) why miss out on the wonder that is Ragdoll, and b) the events of this book are so very closely related to the outcomes of the first; you could probably follow it ok but you would definitely be spoiling Ragdoll for yourself in the process.
Hangman is an excellent sequel and I highly recommend it to anyone with a strong stomach, a dark sense of humour and a detailed knowledge of the first book! Is it gory? Yes. Is it disturbing? Hell yes! Will you ever trust a complete stranger again?? No! Was I left with any questions? Actually yes, but I don’t care. This is a spectacularly warped and entertaining ride and I loved it – there’d just better be a third book coming round the corner soon!
Thank you to NetGalley, Orion and Trapeze for the ARC of Hangman.