Book review: Hangman by Daniel Cole

Friday, March 30, 2018 Permalink

I read Daniel Cole’s debut novel Ragdoll about a year ago. I enjoyed it and liked the lead character, Detective William Falkes (Wolf). I remembered little about his offsider Detective Emily Baxter, which was unfortunate as this book – although labelled Falkes #2 – predominantly features Baxter and the former probationer we met in the first outing (Alex Edmunds) as well as a few new faces.

Book review: Hangman by Daniel ColeHangman
by Daniel Cole
Series: Detective William Fawkes #2
Published by Orion
on March 22nd 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Police Procedural
ISBN: 1409168794, 9781409168799
Pages: 384

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.

I was a little surprised at how easily this book drew me into its unfolding plot. I didn’t remember a lot about the first book in the series but it didn’t matter as – although reference is made to it – we’re given enough information that we’re not floundering because of the lack of context.

I really liked Baxter and think Cole does a great job at putting us in her head. She’s a sympathetic and likeable lead – also flawed – so very real.

We spend a bit of time getting to know the FBI-newcomers and I enjoyed the trip across the globe, from the UK to the US and back again… though wasn’t entirely sure of the logistical feasibility of the killings – however it soon becomes obvious that those involved in these crimes may merely be puppets at the hand of a hidden master. One who ‘may’ have links to the case from the first book in the series.

There were a few tiny plotholes that didn’t entirely make sense and I note that Cole again ‘head-jumped’ on occasions. (We’d be told how a character was feeling but – as we weren’t in their head / the book unfolding from their point of view – we shouldn’t know.)

I’m enjoying this series however and raced through this easily in a couple of nights. I liked the ‘growth’ we see in both Edmunds and Baxter here but found it a little weird that Wolf was AWOL – kinda like reading a Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot book, with no Poirot.  (Having said that it may have done the trick as it heightened my anticipation for his return next time around.)

Hangman by Daniel Cole was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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