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!

 

Wrap-Up | July 2018

Is anyone else shocked that we’re at the end of July already!? Now I’m sitting here looking at my calendar, at everything we have going on in the next few weeks, and realizing I have to fit back-to-school shopping into the mix! My daughter is starting Kindergarten so it’s going to be a very exciting time of year for us…well for her, I’ll be crying over in the corner.

But let’s get to the books shall we? Here’s everything I read in July:

  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter – ARC, Paperback (Review to come)
  • The Body Counter by Anne Frasier – ARC, eBook
  • Sleepwalker: A Keyhole Novel by Sarah A. Kenney – eBook from Author
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • Dark Water by Koji Suzuki – Hardcover
  • Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell – ARC, eBook
  • Providence by Caroline Kepnes – Audio, Hardcover
  • The Gaslight Stalker by David Field – ARC, eBook
  • Nailbiter Vol. 2 by Joshua Williamson – Graphic Novel

Picture1I’m quite pleased with everything I read in July and the actual number of books I read! It’s hard to pick a favorite but I was really blown away by Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. This was an ARC that the publisher sent to me and is scheduled to be released on August 21st. I’m working on the review now, but you guys…it was SO good! If you are a fan of Karin Slaughter then I will say that this is a little different then her typical books but the same outstanding writing is there. It’s a fast paced, edge of your seat, kind of read.

The least impressive for me was Sleepwalker by Sarah A. Kenney and I think it’s just because it needs a good editor to help clean it up. It’s a self published psychological thriller that I received from the author. The premise is that the main character, Ashley, ran away from the only home she ever knew because of an abusive uncle and an aunt who looked the other way. Her parents had died in an accident so her and her brother were sent to live with them. Fast forward and the aunt passes away in a strange manner and left the old family farm house to Ashley. Ashley sees ghosts and some strange things start happening around the house. The general concept of the book was good but the plot was full of holes. She was also super repetitive and that sort of drives me nuts in books. I gave it a generous two stars on Goodreads.

Currently I’m finishing up Ragdoll by Daniel Cole so that I can read his new book, Hangman, which is the second book in the Fawkes and Baxter series. It was just released here in the US last week. I love this book so far and am so excited to read the second one! I’ll definitely post a review for each once I’m finished so stay tuned for those.

Now I’m planning my TBR for August which I think will be a little less thriller and a little more fantasy and historical fiction, since that’s the mood I’ve been in. I’m also still working on my goal of cleaning up my NetGalley shelf and have some books that were released over the summer that I’d like to get to.

What’s up next on your TBR?

Happy Reading!