Author : Daniel Cole
Title : Hangman
Series : Detective William Fawkes #2
Pages : 304
Publisher : Trapeze / Orion Publishing
Publication date : February 8, 2018
How do you catch a killer who’s already dead?
Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.
DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.
As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.
As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings.
Hangman is the second book in the Detective William Fawkes series, although that’s slightly misleading as it’s not exactly been a well-kept secret that *gaps*, he’s not actually in it. Shock, horror! Still, don’t let that put you off as Hangman is brilliant and you really don’t want to miss out, do you? No, you don’t.
It’s been eighteen months since events in the previous book, Ragdoll. Which I’m sure you’ve all read by now. If not, for crying out loud get your act together! Personally, I don’t feel you should treat Hangman as a stand-alone. Especially not as it’s obvious from notes at the back of the book, that this was meant to be a trilogy and you want all the information available, right? Yes? Good.
In that time, there’s been a spate of copycat killers. The latest one has happened on the other side of the Atlantic and DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting involving US Special Agents Curtis of the FBI and Rouche of the CIA. There are two victims. Both have words carved into their chest. One has “bait”, the other “puppet”. As the bodies start to pile up, the race is on to figure out who’s pulling the strings.
There’s something I quite like about investigations taking place on two different continents, involving various different law enforcement agencies. Things aren’t always done the same way and often there’s that level of competition even though everyone is working towards the same goals. On top of that, Emily Baxter doesn’t exactly play well with others.
I really liked Emily in this story, though. More so than in the previous book. She still has the scars, physically and mentally, from the Ragdoll case and has some serious trust issues. Obviously she carries quite a lot of baggage around with her but she’s fierce, determined and makes some fantastic retorts. The stand-out character for me though was most definitely Damien Rouche. I absolutely loved him. He’s a bit odd, quirky if you like, but incredibly relaxed. Despite a heartbreaking background story, he made me laugh on numerous occasions.
Set in two major cities, London and New York, this dark and disturbing tale was a thrill a minute. Stuffed full of action, it had me utterly absorbed and glued to the pages. Sometimes a tad gruesome, sometimes even pulling at my heartstrings and yet somehow infused with humour. It doesn’t seem like it would work but it actually does and I wholeheartedly approve of funny banter or one-liners bringing some relief.
Hangman is an incredibly gripping and compelling book that I just couldn’t put down. Second books are always so tricky but I must say that I enjoyed this one even more than Ragdoll and I can’t wait for the third instalment in this series and see where Daniel Cole takes the team, and the reader, next. Exciting times are ahead, I’m sure!
Hangman is available for purchase!
My thanks to the publisher for my review copy!