It is a huge honour to be taking part in this blog tour for Michael Wood’s fourth in the Matilda Darke series, The Hangman’s Hold. I’ve been a fan of this series since the start and like a fine wine, it simply improves as the years go on! Thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC to review.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Your life is in his hands.
In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.
There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.
He knows your darkest secrets.
The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.
And he is closer than you think.
As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?
Well, I’m kind of shocked into “almost” silence here! I have just finished The Hangman’s Hold, the latest Matilda Darke novel from Michael Wood! You know when you read a book that you don’t want to put down but it is also one you don’t want to end! This was that book!
In this fourth book of the series, DCI Matilda Darke is on the hunt for a killer who is acting as judge, jury and executioner as he delivers his own sentence on those he believes have not paid for their crimes. For Matilda, this case is personal, the killer has made it so and she is facing a race against time to bring him to justice.
Right from the very beginning, Michael Wood builds the tension and he had me in the palm of his hand right up until the very last page! Kicking off with Matilda’s best friend, Pathologist, Adele Keane, going on a date with a man she met online and from there, my spidey senses were on red alert and they were tingling all the way through the read! Seriously tense I could almost hear the movie soundtrack playing in the background!
DCI Matilda Darke is a complex character, she is not without her dark side and her own personal demons. In this book, we watch her almost unravel as the killer plays with her mind. She is clearly still mourning her husband, James, however, there is a sense that she is taking tentative steps to move on and I’m looking forward to seeing how her character further develops as the series goes on. She lets very few people into her inner circle and in this novel, she is struggling with the changes to her team; her mistrust is palpable and it is quite heart wrenching to listen to her self-recrimination. Matilda’s past comes back to haunt her a number of times throughout this book with previous cases and her personal life spilling over into the current investigation. She is a woman conflicted but I do think she is way more than the typical “damaged” detective. Michael Wood has created characters that have an authenticity about them; they are multi-layered and each book just exposes a little more about them.
Another character that engaged me was journalist Danny Hanson. Now, for fans of this series, you will know the press and Matilda are not bosom buddies, they have made plenty of attacks on her in the past and this time round-up and coming crime reporter Danny seems to be up to his neck in this investigation. I loved the way his character was written into this storyline, there was a real sense of conflict for me as a reader as to how I felt about him and his actions but they certainly had an impact on me. It is so hard to keep my lips sealed here, so much I want to say but you are getting no spoilers at all!
The Hangman’s Hold is a brilliantly crafted novel. A police procedural that reads authentically without being pedantic, it kept me guessing all the way through to the point I felt that I was a part of the investigation; I was seriously living and breathing this book as I read it. Exploring the whole idea of victim apathy when victims are those who have committed heinous crimes; it really made me stop and think about the attitudes we have towards justice and how police and others deal with those very human feelings. How difficult must it be to close down your own feelings and give your all to investigate a crime where part of you thinks they deserved it. This plot certainly gives food for thought!
Michael Wood has got magical fingertips as he weaved a perfect storyline with a cast of authentic characters. His narrative and pacing are spot on, perfect balance of twists, turns, red herrings and reveals. He has nailed the whole “show don’t tell” concept and delivers a novel that ticked all of my boxes and more! The Hangman’s Hold was a full-on, tension-laden, satisfying twisted read all wrapped up into one criminally awesome package! Once again he has proven to me that he is worthy of a place in the top crime writers list! If you haven’t read this series then I’d highly recommend you remedy this now!
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