The Hangman’s Hold

The Hangman’s HoldThe Hangman’s Hold (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 4) by Michael Wood
on January 1st 1970
ISBN: 0008311625
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Matilda Darke and her team have a new killer on their hands. A killer who seems to know how and where to locate his victims. He’s smart, he’s patient and lies in wait at the victim’s home waiting to serve as their executioner. You see, he feels that his victims have not paid enough for their crimes. He is a vigilante who has sentenced those he feels have not paid enough by death by hanging. This killer leaves no forensic evidence behind. and further taunts the police by contacting DCI Matilda Darke and a local journalist, Danny Hansen, who is more than eager to write about the murders using the information given to him by the vigilante.

Matilda is deeply drawn into the case as her best friend, Adele, had just gone on a date with the first victim of the Vigilante killer. Adele had a lovely time on her date and was shocked to learn that the man she had dinner with was a criminal who was found murdered in his home after their date. As the body count rises, Matilda struggles not only with solving the case but with a growing attraction to the expert hired to help provide a profile of the killer.

This book does have a lot of characters ranging from the many victims and their family members to new members on Matilda’s team. I found it easy to keep track of them and did not feel that they bogged down the story. I found this to be very realistic. With any investigation, the police are going to need to speak to many people, so this rang very true and felt authentic.

When the profiler mentions that the killer may be someone that Matilda knows, the tension mounts. I liked how the detectives were torn with looking at their fellow officers with doubt and distrust. I like how they want to trust and believe in each other. They need to, they are each other’s backup and trusting each other may make the difference between life and death.

I also liked the character development of Matilda as she struggles with feeling attracted to someone since the death of her husband and her inner turmoil over what that might mean. Her struggles over moving on and perhaps dating again.

Another thing I appreciated about this book was how it showed the dangers of vigilante justice. How people can get caught up in seeing people “get what they deserve”. How quickly people will react especially in a group with the group mentality of “get him” I am specifically talking about a scene in the book where a crowd of people attack someone they are told is a killer who is in fact not a killer but they choose to believe a stranger and attack and beat without giving any second thought. What happens when you are wrong? What happens if innocent people get hurt? What gives someone the right to act as judge, jury and executioner?

This book also examines public opinion and how people can turn on those in their lives just for being associated with a criminal. A relative may be a heinous criminal but that does not make you one but now you have become a pariah when your connection to someone becomes known. This book shows the sad and heartbreaking ways, people treat others and the impact such treatment can have on an individual’s life.

I thought this book was a nice addition to the series, but it did lack a little bit of the page turning appeal of the previous books. There was just that little bit of magic missing that the previous books had. Usually while reading this series I-am-on-the-edge-of-my-seat-in-a-I-can’t-put-this-book-down mode. While this book started and ended very strong, it did lag a little in the middle. I teetered between a 3.5 and 4-star rating but pushed my rating up to a 4 as I appreciate how Michael Wood tackled so many subjects – vigilante justice, judging others, police brotherhood, friendship, moving on after the loss of a loved one, friendship, etc.

Plus, the last couple of sentences in the book!!!!! I can’t wait for the next book in the series, again the last sentences……..WHAT!?!

Thank you to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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