Review: Hangman by Jack Heath

Hangman by Jack Heath, Paperback, Allen & Unwin, January 2018, 379pp. A$29.99 RRP.

4 stars.

Hangman is a thrillingly dark novel by an author who thus far has been entertaining the YA crowd. In Hangman, Heath has delivered an FBI thriller with a twist I didn’t see coming. It’s certainly not aimed at the regular readers of Heath’s previous works, or anyone with a delicate constitution.

Timothy ‘Hangman’ Blake is a sociopath. He also happens to be the FBI’s last resort when a high-profile kidnapping occurs. In Hangman Blake is quickly out of his depths and facing a nemesis who might be as screwed up as he is. Mix in some trauma and characters from his very messed up past and this plot has all the makings of an exceptional thriller.

The execution of this novel is interesting – there is the ubiquitous romantic subplot that seems to thrive in these sorts of novels, but this time there is certainly a couple of complications that make the romance hilariously dangerous. I found myself interested in the developing relationship, but at no point did it distract from the primary plot.

Overall, Health has delivered a well-constructed plot that is well paced and twisted enough to create intrigue and excitement.. There are some parts of the novel that are rather full of background information on Blake’s life, where the author is going to considerable lengths to try and get the reader to understand and possibly even like the protagonist. That is the difficult task that Heath has set out for himself in Hangman – to create a leading man that the audience will root for while also making it clear that, in this story, the hero is not really a hero at all. A lot of that exposition could have been omitted to be revealed through the action and events in following novels.

Of which I hope there will be many.

I am excited this novel has been optioned for a TV show, as I think it’s an excellent premise for a very dark show that would certainly get me to tune in. I am unsure if this book is going to have a sequel, but I sure hope that there will be. I want so much more of Jack Heath’s adult novels in the future, and in particular, the return of Blake.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the review copy of this novel.

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