by Daniel Cole
Publication Date : July 24, 2018
Pages : 384
Synopsis from Publisher :
Detective Emily Baxter is still reeling from the Ragdoll case, and from the disappearance of her friend William “Wolf” Fawkes. Despite her reluctance to jump into another gruesome case, she’s summoned to a meeting of a new FBI/CIA/UK law enforcement task force in New York. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up from the Brooklyn Bridge, 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, again with a victim inscribed with a word—“PUPPET.”
The murders continue to grow in spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, and the team helplessly plays catch-up. Baxter must shake off the grief and fear that have paralyzed her for the last year so she can stop another terrible killer before it's too late.
The serial killer thriller genre is being revitalized. Authors Dot Hutchison, Ashley Dryer, M. W. Craven, and Daniel Cole have found new and innovative ways to breathe life into a genre which for me at times seemed predictable and anti-climactic. While Hutchison, Dryer, Craven, and Cole each remain true to the standard serial killer thriller formula; they each have found a way to incorporate their own subtle yet impactful twists on the serial killer thriller. Over the last few months I have read or listened to books by Hutchison, Dryer, Craven, and Cole. I have enjoyed each new release by these authors. Daniel Cole’s latest release Hangman depicts some of the most gruesome murders I have ever read. It is these gruesome descriptions that set Cole’s work apart from classic serial killer thrillers creating shocking yet, exciting tales of a killer who is sending a deadly message.
A rash of murder suicides are spreading terror through London and across the Atlantic to New York City. While none of the victims appear to be connected, the manners of death link the crimes. On the body of the murder victim the word “BAIT” is carved and on the body of the murderer “PUPPET” is carved. Members of the FBI, CIA, and the London Met have joined forces to solve these murders and catch the killer. Representing the London Met is newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Emily Baxter. The small amount of evidence the investigators are able to uncover leads them to the recently solved Ragdoll murders, in which Emily played a key role. Still traumatized by the Ragdoll case, Emily is doing her best to move on with her professional and personal life. When she is ordered to participate in the investigation of the murder suicides, she is forced to relive the horrible events of the day the Ragdoll killer was caught as well as all the complications that came with it.
Have you ever read a book that was filled with gore, at the end you wondered why all the gore was necessary? It did not add meaning to the story. It served no purpose other than shock value. This is how I’ve felt after reading a lot of serial killer thrillers up until recently. I have no issue with gruesomeness and gore in the books I read, but it has to serve some purpose. The murders described in Ragdoll and Hangman are appalling, but the killer is using the bodies of his victims to send a message to law enforcement. While no less horrifying the gruesomeness was necessary and would not have been the same story without it.
Emily Baxter is your typical police procedural lead detective. Contrary, rude, stubborn, ill-mannered, and haunted. She is mostly disliked but respected amongst her fellow officers. Hangman is just book two of the series so we are still getting to know Baxter, but there is something that sets her apart from other lead detectives. She does not care about police politics, being polite, nor how she is perceived by others. You may have read other books with a similar character, I have as well, but I can honestly state Detective Chief Inspector Emily Baxter is the rudest police detective I have read. From the lowest of rank to the highest, friend or foe, Baxter could not care less and does not adjust her attitude for anyone. Emily’s rudeness would be seen by many as a character flaw but I truly enjoyed this part of her personality. When she did let her guard down and was kind it made her more endearing.
Readers who want to learn more about Baxter, should start the series with Ragdoll. In addition to being a wonderful read, readers will learn more about Emily’s relationships with her best friend Alex Edmunds and the illusive Wolf. Hangman is a stimulating, action packed, grisly story full of relatable characters. Hangman has the perfect amount of emotion and gore which left me longing to read book three of the series. Fans of Helen Fields and J. D. Barker should add Hangman and Ragdoll to their list of must reads.
**Thanks to Ecco for my free copy of Hangman**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars