Publication: Trapeze on 22 March 2018
A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose
18 months after the ‘Ragdoll’ murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word ‘BAIT’ carved into the chest.
In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word ‘PUPPET’, forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis.
Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?
If you have read Ragdoll, you will know why this was one my list of highly anticipated books.
Daniel Cole has taken a pretty massive risk with this one, because although it is billed as the second in the William Fawkes series, in fact Fawkes hardly figures in it at all. This book features Emily Baxter, newly promoted from D.S. to D.I. for her work on the Ragdoll case. She feels like a fraud, since the really inspired work on that case was done by her colleague, Alex Edmunds. Ever since Ragdoll, Emily has had major trust issues and lives in fear that someone in authority will find her out.
Emily is a fantastic character, full of flaws, completely unable to kow-tow to authority and entirely unsuited to her new position. When she is teamed up with the seemingly insouciant Damien Rouche of the FBI and his colleague, po-faced, straight laced, Special Agent Elliot Curtis to investigate a killing in NYC that has links to Ragdoll, she feels like she has been dragged across the Atlantic for nothing more than PR reasons.
It’s not wise to cross Emily Baxter, as the NYPD soon realise. She is acidic and cutting when she is thwarted and very, very funny with it. Though she feels her Special Agent colleagues are not telling her the whole truth, as the hugely gory and very inventive murders stack up, the three have no choice but to work together closely on both sides of the Atlantic.
These are highly staged, orchestrated killings and the killers and their victims have their chests carved with either Puppet or Bait. The hunt for the maniac behind this mass killing initiative can only be successful if the team understand what links the killings – what do all these people have in common?
I really enjoyed this book, but it is only possible to do that if you are prepared to go with the flow, suspend your disbelief and revel in the wit and black humour that abounds and helps to distract the mind while the gory descriptions puncture any sense of wellbeing you might have found within the pages.
Hangman clatters along at a rip roaring pace and there’s no shortage of character revelations to keep you utterly engrossed as the body count rises. As thrillers go, this one is utterly thrilling!
I couldn’t help but love Emily Baxter even more in this book and Cole’s risk has paid off. More Baxter for me, please – and soon!
About Daniel P. Cole
He has received a three-book publishing and television deal for his debut crime series which publishers and producers describe as “pulse-racing” and “exceptional”.
Daniel currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book three in the Nathan Wolfe series instead.
Follow Daniel on @Daniel_P_Cole