Mysterious Book Report HangmanHangman by Stephan Talty

Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House, $26.00, 302 pages, ISBN 978-0-345-53808-6

Buffalo, New York is where the novels of Stephan Talty take place, and after last year’s breakout hit entitled Black Irish, his growing numbers of fans have been eagerly awaiting the next installment of his Abbie Kearney detective series. She’s been called “One of the most intriguing suspense protagonists in memory,” by leading crime fiction writer Tess Gerritsen, and I heartily agree.

Hangman, by Stephan Talty, pits Buffalo New York’s Irish-American detective Absalom “Abbie” Kearney against a serial killer named Marcus Flynn. He’s known as ‘The Hangman’ because he stalked teenaged girls in North Buffalo, then killed and left them dangling from a rope. Captured by police after he was cornered and shot in the head, he survived and was sent to prison . . . all before Abbie’s time. Now, he’s killed a prison guard and he is on the loose. It’s up to Abbie to catch the monster before he can make it back to Buffalo and resume his reign of terror. Flynn however, somehow makes it into the city and resumes his murderous campaign, and proving himself to be as brilliant as he is elusive, outwitting Abbie at every turn. With the number of victims rising, the city is paralyzed with fear, but “a rising tide of secrecy, paranoia and politics forces Abbie to realize that stepping beyond the law may be the only way to find justice.” Forced by the circumstances and a lack of leads due to traditional Irish secrecy, Abbie turns to the only other possible source of information: a network of retired cops who hold all the potential clues, and any chance she has of finding Marcus Flynn. Abbie has to stop the Hangman before he can kill again and at the same time . . . determine the final resting place of his last victim.

The hunt intensifies and the stakes are raised with every page as Kearney races against time to save the last victim from one of the most intelligent and diabolically evil criminals she has ever faced.


John Dwaine McKenna