An ARC was provided to me by the author and publishers via Netgalley but my opinions are not at all affected by this. 🙂
TITLE: The Hangman’s Secret
BY: Laura Joh Rowland
SERIES: Victorian Mystery #3
GENRE: Mystery, Crime, Historical Fiction
PUBLICATION: January 8th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Set in 1890 London this novel features Photographer Sarah Bain, a photographer for “Daily World” newspaper though she usually ends up like a detective solving crimes even before the police do. She do this with her friends Lord Hugh Staunton and Mick O’Reilly. The books opens with Sarah called to a gory crime scene. A hangman named Harry Warbrick somehow died hanged and decapitated. The police, which includes Sarah’s boyfriend Barett, believes it’s a suicide but they can’t ignore the clues. Someone has hanged the hangman. And
Sir Gerald Mariner, owner of the Daily World, wants Sarah and her crew to find out what really happened. But suddenly, a name Amelia Carlisle, a “Baby-Butcher” showed up in their investigation and Sarah, Hugh and Mick never thought that they might be solving the most dangerous crime they ever encountered so far.
First, when I requested this book on Netgalley, I wasn’t aware that this is third in a series. But it didn’t affect my reading and comprehension at all. In fact, the author did an amazing job on inserting past information to give the reader more understanding.
Second, I was fascinated by the concept of this book. A hangman murdered by hanging and I haven’t really read anything with a hangman before. And then as the story goes on, I realized, I got more than I bargained for. There are plenty of twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I love how layered the mystery is. And it was well done. Even more complex because of Sarah’s personal problems in the way. The pacing is good and I’m usually entertained.
Third, the characters are unique and diverse with their various backstories. I love the friendship between Sarah, Hugh and Mick. It’s fascinating how much they love their job. 🙂 I also enjoyed the character of Barett. The romance between him and Sarah is shadowed by the mystery and crime aspect of the book and I think the author did a good job for doing so.
Now why I rated this a star short? There’s one character that I don’t understand the purpose except for antagonizing Sarah and her crew. The writing though overall is okay, it took me a while before I get into it. And for me, this book needs a serious editing. Just the first paragraph almost threw me off. I read the word ‘Window’ three times. That can be changed. There are also paragraphs where most of the sentences starts with the same pronoun. If I read it aloud, it won’t be good to my ears. BUT I AM READING AN ADVANCE READER’S COPY so I’m sure it’ll be fixed on the final copy.
Overall, I enjoy this book and this won’t be the last book I’m gonna read from this author.