Hanging Hill Paperback
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The Victim: A teenage girl has been brutally murdered on her way home from school. The cryptic message 'all like her' is crudely written on her body. The Silence: The dead girl's friends are deeply shocked and upset, but they all refuse to reveal anything about her last movements. Who are they protecting? And what more do they know? The Fear: Headstrong Detective Inspector Zoe Benedict knows exactly how she wants to work this case. But Zoe's own dark past, if exposed, may jeopardize the search for justice ...and destroy her too. Tense, thrilling and brilliantly original, "Hanging Hill" reveals the evil side of human nature and the terrible things normal people can do...
Top Customer Reviews
The story is more about the various characters'the two sisters, their lovers, their own background and history'and how each is affected, rather than the crime and ensuing investigation which seems to be an afterthought to contribute to the main plotline.
Written with verve, the novel seems to drag along except for some more 'exciting' portions. Much of the descriptions of one sister's divorce and subsequent life seem labored, and the ending was to this reader quite unsatisfactory. In fact the title of the book might be a fit description for its conclusion: It seems to just hang without any wrapping up. That notwithstanding, the novel still bears reading, and is recommended.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If there is no heaven or hell, then is there retribution for serious moral slippage, even when done with (mostly) good intent, in our world? Hayder's ending to HANGING HILL leaves you with such a question rattling around in your noggin. Let me add: her ending surprises, which means you may wish not to read the final couple of pages ahead of starting or finishing the novel.
A high school girl, Lorne Wood, turns up dead on a canal towpath in Bath. Detective Inspector Zoe Benedict and her partner and lover Ben, along with a team of investigators helped by a supercilious bombshell of a psychologist, get on the case. The team, swayed by psychologist Debbie Harry, races off in a logical direction that seems anything but to Zoe who decides to pursue her own theory. Meanwhile, her estranged and wholly different sister, Sally, freshly divorced, plunged from affluence to subsistence, raising a teen daughter, takes on work as a cleaner. Her daughter Mille, as well as a cast of male teens, was a friend of Lorne and suspects. Sally also has a lover, the mysterious Steve. And Sally catches the interest of a cleaning client, the odious international pornographer David Goldrab, who entrusts her with household management duties.
Of course, Zoe bites off more than she expects as her route brings her closer to her sister, forcing her to examine her past, her relationship with her parents and sister, and the incident that led to the sisters' separation. For her part, Sally must examine herself in search of what she has lacked for years: a backbone and a sense that she can carryon as an independent person. Searching for, trapping, and using Lorne's killer to hide the less than pristine past of one sister and the accidental commission of murder by the other brings the sisters to reconciliation and some solace. Until, that is, the second ending, which Hayder has readers write in their own minds.
No more said on the subject of characters and plot. You'll have to see what I mean by reading the book yourself.
But a few more words about Hayder. I've said in my review of BIRDMAN that she and her work is a cut above the typical crime fiction. Her descriptive powers are formidable, especially of characters. She develops characters that possess depth and she explores their psyches brilliantly. Partly this is a display of her understanding of the human mind and human motivation, but also of her keen powers of observation, of mannerisms, of settings, that serve to bring scenes to life and cloak them in realism, no matter how farfetched. Finally, she writes very good dialogue that, unlike exchanges written by some crime writers, varies by character and reflects their individual personalities. She's a writer who deserves a wider readership in the U.S. Highly recommended.
Early in the novel, detectives wonder if Lorne's murder might be the work of a serial killer, as her body exhibits signs of such, in particular the writing on her body. Let me just say that HANGING HILL is as much about Zoe and Sally's insecurities, challenges, and estrangement as it is about murder and serial killers. I mention serial killers to say that if fiction featuring them is of interest to you, I am compiling a list of the greatest. You'll find my KILLER CRIME FICTION by clicking "See all my reviews," and then Listmania in the left-hand box.
The story is more about the various characters--the two sisters, their lovers, their own background and history--and how each is affected, rather than the crime and ensuing investigation which seems to be an afterthought to contribute to the main plotline.
Written with verve, the novel seems to drag along except for some more "exciting" portions. Much of the descriptions of one sister's divorce and subsequent life seem labored, and the ending was to this reader quite unsatisfactory. In fact the title of the book might be a fit description for its conclusion: It seems to just hang without any wrapping up. That notwithstanding, the novel still bears reading, and is recommended.
Towards the end of the story,I thought I knew who the murderer was, as was Mo's intention, but then out of nowhere it turned out to be not the case....when the identity of the killer was revealed, I literally got chills and thought "Oh,my God-I didn't see that coming"....really good twist.
I highly recommend this book if you like crime fiction-not a lot of really gruesome stuff in it,which was a bit disappointing, as I like that sort of stuff, but a really good,juicy read.Luckily I downloaded this book while on days off, as I literally did not stop reading till it was finished.Poor dog didn't get walked, the housework didn't get done, husband got no attention at all apart from "mmmm?" and "yep".
One of the best books I can remember reading-ever.
Starting with the discovery of a murdered teenager, it draws together the stories of two estranged sisters: Zoe and Sally. Zoe is the detective investigating the murder, Sally is a struggling single mother with a daughter who knew the victim slightly. As the novel progresses both Zoe and Sally's lives take far darker turnings and connections. Hanging Hill is a murder mystery, but it is also about lies, relationships, connections, and the secrets we cannot bear to have brought to light.
If you enjoy British writers such as Sophie Hannah, and like your mysteries dark and twisty, you should read Hanging Hill. I only wish Mo Hayder wrote more often.