Title: THE HANGING GIRL
Author: Eileen Cook
Pub. Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads
Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.
I loved With, Malice the author's last thriller and so I was so excited to read her next book. And I definitely was not disappointed by this book. It was a really good read with an atmospheric setting with a good mystery and complex characters.
One of the things that I liked most about this book was the setting. For one thing The Hanging Girl has a small town setting, something that I love when it comes to mysteries. It's the kind of location that lends it self well to a mystery because everyone knows everyone and is in their business. Plus it had this really great subtle fantasy feel to it that made it the perfect read for fall. There was no real magic here but there was enough atmosphere to give the book the perfect amount of mystery and wonder. I really enjoyed that.
But the best part for me was the plot development and mystery. I am such a plot driven reader and I really need a strongly engaging plot to keep me engaged and I definitely found that here. I would say that they book and the mystery was split into three sections. In the end of each third there is a twist, the first one which caught me completely off guard. That's right, a third of the way in there is a fantastic plot twist. It might seem from the outset that the book reveals things too quickly, and I would be the first person to say that, but it doesn't get in the way of enjoying the book. In fact it has the opposite effect and made want to keep reading. It made for an incredibly engrossing read that had me wanting to find out what the twists were going to lead two. I did however find the final twist a little bit obvious but I still really enjoyed it. Eileen Cook is really good at throwing her readers for a loop and she definitely did that here.
I also enjoyed the characters here. I feel like Cook does a fantastic job of writing characters that are complex and odious. So many of these characters are doing terrible things for the right reason, or maybe for the wrong reason, but they are still incredibly sympathetic. There are some really terrible characters in this book but I still found my self rooting for them. But the person I rooted for the most was of course Skye. She is one of those characters who wanted to get out of her small town and do more with her life but wasn't sure how to do that. I really identified with her and her struggle in that way. When things went badly for here I was nervous for what that would mean and when things went well I was really happy for her. Cook succeeded in developing characters who were sympathetic in spite of, or maybe because of their mistakes and the mistakes of people around them.
The Hanging Girl is a really fast read. It's only about 320 and because of how engrossing the mystery is I flew through it. I didn't expect to finish it as quickly as I did. With everything that is going on with my life I thought I would have to spend the weekend reading it but I really could not put it down. I finished the book in a few days. Now I do think that maybe that is the book is a little bit more simple than I expected. I didn't find the ending a bit rushed. It seemed like there wasn't really enough attention spent on the big finish and with a book that had great twists throughout I expected the ending to hit just as hard and it didn't. But on the whole that didn't impact my feelings of the book.
The Hanging Girl is a fantastic book with a atmospheric small town setting, a plot full of twists and mystery, and complex and sympathetic characters. It was the perfect fall read for fans of thrillers or anyone looking for a good YA mystery.
I give The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook 8.5 out of 10 stars
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you enjoyed With Malice than I would definitely recommend the author's second thriller. I liked that one more but this is still a really fantastic thriller full of surprises that fans of YA mysteries and thrillers should check out.
Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her newest book, WITH MALICE, will be out in June 2016. She’s an instructor/mentor with the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program. You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two very naughty dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.
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