Hangman by Daniel Cole

Hangman (Fawkes and Baxter #2) Published: July 24th, 2018

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 373

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon 

Rating: 4/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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.


 

Note: So this has been sitting in my draft folder since I finished the book in September. Nice job Stephanie, nice job. 

Hangman by Daniel Cole is the follow-up to Ragdoll and takes place 18 months after the bizarre series of murders. I like to keep my reviews simple and without to many details as to avoid spoilers. However, to be safe, if you have not read the first book then skip ahead or better yet, just put off reading this review until you have.

This book takes place in London and New York as a pattern begins to emerge between gruesome murders happening in both cities.

Baxter is asked to travel to NYC to help the FBI and NYPD track down the person responsible for the murders which leave behind bodies scarred with the words “PUPPET” and “BAIT”. She is teamed up with Rouche and Curtis from the FBI and they struggle to work together as a team and to get any closer to answers. After a catastrophic failure to prevent an attack that makes the body count jump to a staggering amount, Baxter returns to London to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen there.

The pacing of this book was much slower than the first and gave off less ‘Seven’ vibes that I had loved so much, but I still enjoyed it. It’s another compelling read for those of us who enjoy things more twisted and don’t mind bodies piling up. I still don’t love Baxter but I really love her friendship with Edmunds! Edmunds is my favorite character and would love to see book three follow him as a lead detective, if he ever gets the balls to quit Fraud and return to homicide…he’s brilliant and fascinating.

Speaking of book three, I was quite pleased to find out that Daniel Cole is working on a third book! I’m really looking forward to see where Cole takes the characters next. Who brings back, who he doesn’t…I can’t wait!

Thank you again to Ecco books for sending me a copy of this book! I truly appreciate it and can’t wait to see what Cole delivers next.

Happy Reading!

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Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Fawkes and Baxter, #1)Published: April 4th, 2017

Publisher: Ecco

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 374

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Buy: Amazon | Book Outlet

Rating: 4.5/5

One body. Six Victims.

William Fawkes, a controversial detective known as The Wolf, has just been reinstated to his post after months of psychological assessment following allegations of a shocking assault. A veteran of the force, Fawkes thinks he’s seen it all. That is, until his former partner and friend, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims sewn together like  a puppet –  a corpse that becomes known in the press as the “ragdoll”.

Fawkes is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that gets dicey when his reporter ex-wife anonymously receives photographs from the crime scene, along with a list of six names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to murder them. The final name on the list is Fawkes. Baxter and her trainee partner, Alex Edmunds, hone in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer strikes again. 

But for Fawkes, seeing his name on the list sparks a dark memory, and he fears that the catalyst for these killings has more to do with him – and his past – than anyone realizes. 


Have you ever watched the movie Se7en by David Fincher? It features Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as the two detectives and Kevin Spacey played the psycho mastermind behind the seven deadly sin killings? Anyway, it’s one of my favorite movies and Ragdoll by Daniel Cole draws a lot of parallels to it in such an awesome way.

Detective William Fawkes is recently brought back onto the force after almost losing everything after he knocked out a high-profile suspect at the end of his trial when he was found ‘not-guilty’. The case nearly destroyed him and he served time in a psych ward only to be release when that same ‘innocent’ suspect killed again and Fawkes was vindicated.

Fawkes and his former partner Baxter are called onto the scene of a most gruesome crime – a body comprised of sewn together body parts hanging from the ceiling. The head belonging to the same man that Fawkes leveled in the courtroom.

To add icing to the cake, Fawkes’ TV journalist ex-wife gets involved when she receives a package containing photographs of the body and a list of the next victims, which includes Fawkes himself.

Phew this book. So much drama and craziness, it really is a thrilling ride! There’s also this strange sexual tension between Baxter and Fawkes that leaves you wondering if you should be routing for the two of them or not. Even his ex-wife believed the two were having an affair which played a big part in the falling apart of their marriage. Generally I don’t find that there’s room for romantic relationships in books like these but Cole does it really well (it’s subtle) and to me, it really helps you get to know the characters. They feel more human.

So there’s this personal drama that sort of unfolds between the lines of the gruesome Ragdoll case, which begins to play out like a bad reality show thanks to the ex-wife who uses it to leverage her career. It’s a race against the clock, and the media, for the team to figure out how these victims are connected and track down the killer before Fawkes becomes the final victim.

Oh and that ending! Wow!

This book is fast-paced, full of great characters and even some British dark humor for good mix. I really enjoyed this book and rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I can’t wait to start reading the second book in the Fawkes and Baxter series which supposedly picks up right where Ragdoll leaves off.

Happy Reading!

 

Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell

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Release:  April 24, 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Series: Detective Jennifer Knight #1
Length: 318 pages
Buy:  Amazon | Book Depository
Format: Kindle
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Crime, Paranormal
Rating: 6/10

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You don’t know him. But he knows you.

‘Soon he would be able to touch her, to feel the warmth of her blood. And when the time came, nothing would stop him.’

As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave.

When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked. What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict.

Jennifer can no longer ignore the personal connection. Is there a copycat killer at work? Was the wrong man convicted? Or is there something more sinister at play…

With her mother’s terrifying legacy spiraling out of control, Jennifer must look into her own dark past in a fight not only to stop a killer – but to save herself and those she loves.


Don’t Turn Around is Caroline Mitchell’s first fiction novel – which is incredible, because as a debut it’s pretty solid. Paranormal Thrillers are a mixed bag for me – I tend to shy away from them because it can take a really good book, and turn it into cheese really quick. I’m both happy and relieved, that the blend of supernatural and crime fiction was smooth which made for an enjoyable read – no eye-rolling necessary.

DC Jennifer Knight is a high-heel wearing, OCD Detective with a tiny little unwanted problem – she hears voices. This “gift” landed her a transfer and a visit to the mental health counselors the last time she expressed her concerns on a case, so when these voices begin to appear again after a spate of questionable deaths, she doesn’t know where to turn. She knows how her DI will react – but will her partner and longtime friend, Will Dustan, believe her?

In an alternate perspective we meet Frank Foster. His childhood is a nightmare: his mother’s a whore, his father left because he couldn’t deal with it, and there is a darkness in Frank that overwhelms him. We follow Frank from a young boy to a dark and dangerous man with ties to DC Knight’s dead mother.

Then things start getting strange and eerily familiar.

The story for me isn’t flawless, but there’s a lot I love about it. Take Frank, for instance. He’s evil and creepy and I enjoyed watching how his story unfold (not sure what that says about me but hey…don’t judge). It made switching the POV work for me because I was always anxious to get back to his perspective. Overall, I just loved Mitchell’s well fleshed-out characters. Aside from Jennifer and Frank, there are a lot of peripheral characters and they all work and feel integral to the story.

Not only are the characters in this thriller well written, there are some great twists that I really appreciate as well. And I won’t lie…there are a few “I just had to read that twice … with the lights on” moments in the book.

For me, the ending left a little to be desired. There was so much buildup that when the time came for the showdown, it just felt rushed. With that said, though, Mitchell nails it when it comes time to tie up loose ends and builds up the anticipation for the next novel – because I’m already itching to read it!