If you’re looking for a dark, twisted psychological thriller, then ladies and gentlemen, this is the best they get.
The Hanging Girl is complex, and mind-twisty, and horrifying. And I love it.
Here’s the thing: my goal for 2017 was to find the best of YA thrillers out there. This is one of those genres with a very scarce number of members, and what little thrillers do exist .. do not thrill me. #SorryNotSorry I’ve picked up One of Us Is Lying (which I adored for the characters, and not so much for the mystery aspect. Oh, the irony), and Here Lies Daniel Tate (in which I was a little bit more than disappointed with the MC and his lack of thriller anti-hero-ness), before finally landing on The Hanging Girl. And of these three, I’d crown The Hanging Girl as the best thriller of 2017.
Doesn’t it feel so good to find exactly what you’re looking for in a book?
Character-wise, this book nails it. I really liked our MC, Skye, mostly for all her moral gray-ness. Yes, she does questionable things. Yes, she feels guilty … yet doesn’t wish she could change what she did. And not once did Eileen Cook try to justify Skye’s actions, or manipulate the reader into thinking Skye is a heroine, when really, she isn’t. Her actions are presented without any bias, and for the reader to decide whether to support these actions morally, or not.
Also: Skye has anxiety and is prone to panic attacks, and this wasn’t used as a convenient plot device to stir up some drama or whatnot. This = appreciated.
Other characters, too, were adequately fleshed-out. We have Drew, Skye’s friend; Susan, her mother; hell, even Detective Jay, who is quite a minor character, had enough depth to him too.
And here I’d like to applaud the absence of a romantic subplot (when Ryan showed up, I half expected him to be suddenly pushed into the role of Convenient Love Interest #1, but thank God Cook isn’t that kind of author), because this genre of books simply does not need that. I mean, really. Who has time for romance when you have accusing and blackmailing and murdering going on all around you?
The plot, too, was fast-paced and oh-so-twisty. The chapters end with evil mini-cliffhangers, so you simply cannot just read one and put the thing down; you have to go through at least five in one sitting. Which is good, if you want an engrossing read, but it is the actual worst thing when you’re a student trying to sneak in a couple of chapters between college courses. Whyyyyy must life be so hard, someone tell me.
If classes aren’t killing you, then you a) obviously won’t have this problem of mine, and b) you’ll probably finish this in one sitting. This book is addictive. Ye have been warneth.
Buuut I did kind of feel like the ending did not pack as much punch as the rest of the book did. It felt kind of .. abrupt? Loose? It’s not open-ended, but a maybe a couple of wrap-up chapters wouldn’t hurt.
The writing was crisp and smart and quotable (particularly those first line that draws the reader in pretty quick), and all the elements of mystery were on point. What I particularly loved was all the red herrings. I fell for them, I did. I’m used to predicting novels like this (which is why I’m so so picky with this genre), but I honestly kept going WAIT WHAT with every plot twist.
Me: I’ve seen it all. Nothing surprises me.
Book: What if Truth #1 that I said was an actual fact –
Book: was FALSE
Me: But I thought it was –
Book: YOU THOUGHT WRONG, YOU AMATEUR
So, all in all? A pretty solid read. I loved the mystery aspect, and the MC, and the writing. I especially loved the fact that tHIS THRILLER WAS ACTUALLY THRILLING. As I said, this is the best mystery/crime novel of the year.
[Yes, I get to make that statement. 2017 is almost over, and I know most of the books coming out next.
THIS BOOK HAS STOLEN THAT CROWN AND SHALL NOT RELINQUISH IT.]
In short: read this. Love this. And join me in flailing over it.
Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions arehelping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readingshave always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnappingwas supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs tostart a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes thepeople she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discovertheir true identity before it’s too late.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of The Hanging Girl (US only!) SO I BID THEE ENTER. This book is more than a little bit awesome.