I really enjoyed Daniel Cole’s debut novel, Ragdoll, when I read it last year (you can find my review here), and I was thrilled when I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of his follow up, Hangman, which is published today!
I do recommend reading Ragdoll before making a start on Hangman – there is a little background included in this second novel, but you’ll miss a lot of the context if you start here, and, to be honest, they’re both so good that I don’t know why you’d deprive yourself anyway.
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 is a little different to Ragdoll, and anyone looking to catch up with Wolf (William Fawkes) may be a little disappointed, as it’s now the turn of Emily Baxter – newly promoted to Detective Chief Inspector – to take centre-stage, and I wasn’t disappointed by this at all. Anyone familiar with her character will know what to expect, and anyone thinking that getting to know her better may reveal a softer side to her nature is sorely mistaken. Whilst she’s a great character, she isn’t perfect, and comes across as all too realistic in saying the wrong thing, often at volume and with expletives. Bold and outspoken to the point of bluntness, I absolutely adore her, and even as the reader can see her making mistakes, you’re still very much in her corner.
Like Ragdoll, the plot moves along at quite a pace, and I enjoyed the dual setting of London and New York, which gave this novel something a little different to its predecessor. Forced to work with Special Agents Curtis and Rouche of the FBI and CIA respectively, the politics of working across multiple organisations soon becomes apparent, and this adds another layer to the story. She soon comes to appreciate these two agents, however, and Rouche in particular comes through as a great character. The plot is dark, twisted, and occasionally gruesome, and I did find it a little difficult to follow at times – there are so many people involved in the multiple murders that I did lose track, but it did come together nicely by the end.
And no book this dark should be so funny! There are some genuine laugh out loud moments in this novel, and I love the undertone of humour that Cole injects into his writing. If you liked Ragdoll, you’ll need to get yourself a copy of this come March!
Hangman is published today (22 March 2018) by Trapeze. With thanks to Susan Armstrong for the opportunity to read and review this title in advance of its publication.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐