Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Hangman's Song by James Oswald

It appears to be a simple suicide but Tony McLean thinks something is off.  His supervisor tells him to forget it and close the case, there's nothing to suggest anything else but suicide.  Tony has never been good at following directions.

Mariner Books and Edelwiess gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has just been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This story was unusual.  It mixes spirits in with a police procedural.  I'm not quite sure I liked it but it did make interesting reading.  When you settle in to read it, just loosen up your mind and go with the flow.

Tony is working two jobs.  He's on Vice (prostitution and the like) and still has a hand in murder investigations.  While he's been told to stay out of it, there are more hangings and there appears to be something in common with them.  The rope and the knots are all the same.  None of the victims have any hemp on their hands.  They couldn't have hung themselves without touching the rope.  The superintendent doesn't care.

On the Vice side, they are watching a ship that an informant has identified as a smuggler.  He's on stakeout and is looking for human trafficking.  What he finds is that they aren't bringing people in, they're shipping them out!  None of the women will tell the police anything.  Only one even speaks to him and she won't do it while the other cop is in the room.  When Tony tells his supervisor about it, she tells him she knows the cop is dirty but she needs him.  The budget is tight.  If he leaves, there will be no replacement.

Amidst all this trouble, Tony's girlfriend finally comes out of her coma from her ugly injuries in a fire.  There's only one problem: She doesn't remember him and she doesn't remember her past.  She's acting like a young child.  He doesn't desert her, but he has to find help to care for her.

Add in Madame Rose (who is actually male) who speaks to the spirits and you have a spider web of clues about the murders, about the spirits and about much more.  This tangled web brings you in and makes you feel sorry for those involved.  Part of justice is served, but this story isn't over yet.  I'm sure the killer will surface again in a future book.

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