Although this is the second book by Talty to feature Abbbie Kearney, I think that this book could be read as a stand-alone novel. The one thing that the reader may not get is as much of an attachment to Abbie as there is quite a bit of character development and background given about Abbie in the first book which you miss out in this book. The first book Black Irish was really interesting and delved into the history of Buffalo quite a bit and secret societies there, so I recommend it for those reasons. However, there is very little within this book that relates back to the first book so if you are unable to find Black Irish no worries, I think that you will still be able to enjoy The Hangman.
Serial Killer Marcus Flynn, also known as Hangman, preyed upon the teenage daughters of the wealthy families of Buffalo, until he was backed into a corner one night he shot himself in the head. Somehow Flynn survived the gunshot wound and was sentenced to life in prison. He was always asked what happened to the last girl, whose body was never found, but Flynn had no recollection of his actions. Years later, a correctional officer has one last chance to make Flynn tell the secret of the girl when he is transporting him to another prison. The transfer goes wrong and there is a dead correctional officer and the Hangman is on the loose. A man hunt starts statewide but homicide officer Abbie Kearney knows it is only a matter of time before he makes it back to his old stomping ground of North Buffalo. She is tasked with to getting to know Hangman and what his next move will be as she may be their best chance at recapturing him.
This was a good follow up to the first novel and really cemented my enjoyment of Tatly's writing style and the creation of his plots. You never really know what is going to come next or who your killer is going to be. The evidence did at times seem to come a little bit too easily for Abbie but I like the way that she follows every lead that she can find even if it is the wrong one. I found that Hangman was a very interesting serial killer, especially the fact that he attempted to kill himself at the beginning of the book (which I do not see as typical for serial killers, most want to bask in the "glory" they had created) and you have to wonder how that injury affects his killing plan and abilities to kill. It was interesting to have chapters from Hangman's POV in which he talks about the stalking of his victims and the intelligence he uses to get access to them.
I felt like the POV fo Abbie was a little disjointed at times and I wish that the reader got to be more inside her head. There were times when you knew Abbie's thoughts and times when you did not. It was just a bit confusing as Talty was dictating which thoughts the reader could know and some that we could not as well as when she followed this lead and not others. As I said it was a little confusing and I just hope in the future Talty is more consistent in his novels.
I really like Abbie as a character, and we get to see a different side of her in this book. She is normally play by the rules of the law kind of girl (she does not want to be like her father), but in this book she puts it all aside just to find Hangman. It was an interesting shift in morals with the use of the Network in Buffalo (an underground group that an get anything done, but there is always a cost, and normally that cost is not always a legal one) and it makes you wonder what the cost will be in the long run. Within this novel we get to see more of Abbie's tenacity but compared to the first book there is not that much character development about her.
Talty is able to weave a very interesting read, although I missed the history aspect about Buffalo that was so prominent in the first book, however, I liked the addition of the Network (probably my favorite addition to Abbie's world), where if you needed something done off the books you know who to call. This was a really good follow up novel to the first one and I look forward to seeing what type of serial killer that Talty can come up with next and where it will take Abbie and just how far she is willing to go to catch a killer.
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