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Hangman: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Stephan Talty
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $16.01 (62%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty’s acclaimed fiction debut, Black Irish, won him comparisons to such thriller masters as Jo Nesbø, Karin Slaughter, and Tana French. Now, his chilling new novel brings back intrepid heroine Absalom Kearney, a driven police detective with a haunted past, trying to make a difference in a troubled town.
Hangman, Hangman, what do you see? Four little girls, as cute as can be. The eerie schoolyard chant still sends ripples of horror through North Buffalo. Not so long ago, serial killer Marcus Flynn preyed upon the community’s teenaged daughters—until he was cornered and shot in the head. But Flynn lived, carrying to prison the nickname “Hangman,” along with the secret of his last victim’s fate. Homicide cop Abbie Kearney wasn’t around during Hangman’s reign of terror. She hadn’t yet come home to wear her dad’s old badge in the tough Irish American stronghold known as “the County.” Abbie had never experienced firsthand the horror of Hangman. Until now.
Hangman, Hangman, where do they go? Down on the ground, where the daffodils grow. A corrections officer lies dead, a prison van stands empty . . . and somewhere out there, the monster who condemned innocents to death at the end of a rope watches and waits to strike again. Abbie leads a desperate manhunt through a city driven to its knees by fear, matching wits with a predator as brilliant as he is elusive. But as more victims are claimed, a rising tide of secrecy, paranoia, and politics forces her to realize that stepping beyond the law may be the only way to find justice. Because with each passing hour, the stakes grow higher—and Hangman’s noose gets tighter.

Praise for Hangman
“An expertly judged dose of adrenaline.”Kirkus Reviews
“Stick with this one; it delivers.”Booklist
“Detective Abbie Kearney is back in this explosive thriller featuring not only a brutal serial killer, but also complex characters. . . . Plot twists will keep readers guessing right up until the grand finale.”RT Book Reviews
“[Stephan Talty has] a writerly knack for constructing compulsively readable narratives that can be consumed with considerable velocity and contentment. With flying colors, the fellow passes the ‘what happens next’ test.”The Buffalo News

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers will recognize this opening scene: a vicious killer is being transported to a ­maximum-security prison. The driver stops the van on a lonely stretch of road, frog-marches the killer to cliff’s edge in one last attempt to learn the location of a victim’s grave. What happens next, though, is not exactly what we’re expecting. Talty’s sullen novel is like that, deploying conventional situations and then upending them. Buffalo homicide detective Abbie Kearney is called in to hunt the psycho, and she meets an almost-but-not-quite-­standard cast: the police chief under pressure, the prison psychiatrist with a revealing file, the reluctant partner, and a boozy old cop with access to a shadowy world distressingly close to the killer’s. Fights, chases. Time spent in the mind of the killer—happily, very little time because Talty knows that madness is dull—then an irrelevant observation about an irrelevant detail that busts the whole case open. Finally we learn what really happened at that cliff’s edge, and the author brings this grim tale to a grim and satisfying conclusion. Stick with this one; it delivers. --Don Crinklaw


“An expertly judged dose of adrenaline.”Kirkus Reviews
“Stick with this one; it delivers.”Booklist
“Detective Abbie Kearney is back in this explosive thriller featuring not only a brutal serial killer, but also complex characters. . . . Plot twists will keep readers guessing right up until the grand finale.”RT Book Reviews
“[Stephan Talty has] a writerly knack for constructing compulsively readable narratives that can be consumed with considerable velocity and contentment. With flying colors, the fellow passes the ‘what happens next’ test.”The Buffalo News

Product Details

  • File Size: 3174 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1472200187
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 13, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F1W0DGI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,253 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Matter Warping March 13, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Buffalo, New York, a city off one of the Great Lakes that receives the lake effect every year in the amount of snow that accumulates. Here, this city, that Homicide Detective Abbie Kearney calls home. We first met her in the author, Stephan Talty's, first book 'Black Irish'. Born on the wrong side of town, she never felt like an insider to either group, the working class or the wealthy. She is intelligent, made it to Harvard, and because of that, she was not accepted by her kind. She also found difficulty being accepted as a police officer in the Buffalo, PD. Her father a retired policeman gave her some credence, but she had to earn the rest.

I found this novel, 'Hangman' to be an exciting second book in the series. I wonder, however, if it can really be a stand alone book. Too much background about Abbie and the Buffalo 'Network' is needed to fully understand where and why Abbie operates as an outsider. However, on this day, a serial killer known as the 'Hangman' has escaped a police convoy transferring him to Attica. Everyone associated with police work is gathered to hunt this man down. He has killed 3 young girls, kidnapped one, whose body was never found. Abbie is asked by her superior to be the lead detective on this case, IF, the man is not found in the next 24 hours. You can guess what happens. Abbie is intelligent, knows her job, and runs her team with great expertise.

Lots of twists and turns in this crime series. Abbie is offered help by the Network, the consortium of old boys and retired cops in Buffalo. They work outside the law, and find justice their way. Abbie runs her team by the book, often alone, but she does accept help from Billy Raymond, another detective who needs to prove his worth. One by one clues are looked at, and examined.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Okay For Me June 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Hangman offers us a slightly different spin on the serial killer crime novel. The story is a bit psychological suspense and a lot crime/police procedural. We follow Abbie in her investigation, which unfolds at a fairly fast pace.

This book is very much about the setting. The story takes place in Buffalo, New York, which the author obviously knows well. We're given an intimate feel of the place and the people who live there. The investigation often leans heavily on specific areas and the class of people living there.

When I started this book, I didn't realize it was the second in a series. I have not read the first book - Black Irish - and I have to assume my enjoyment of this story suffered because of that. My major complaint is complete lack of character development. Despite most of the story being written in Abbie's viewpoint, I didn't feel I knew her at all. Her motivations and misgivings were a mystery to me. The author made no effort at all here in helping us understand her character.

As the story unfolded, I felt a few things were simply too convenient in the way they occurred. I won't say which, because I don't want to give any spoilers. These issues weren't major, but they were enough to make me pause and question the details.

If you love plot-driven crime stories, you'll probably love this book. If, like me, you need a connection to the characters, this book doesn't work well as a stand-alone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hangman May 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wow, didn't think Talty could have two master thrillers in a row, but his success, my enjoyment. I've gone back & picked up a couple of his past writings, all are without doubt, superbly written. Black Irish so enthralling, couldn't put it down, wanted it to last longer. Again, same problem with Hangman. I know i'm into a good read when my imagination can transport my senses of hearing, sight, smell and taste to the dark places being visited on the written page. I love feeling I am alive and safe and yet still have that fear of what if it were me.... Sorry Stephan, you should be chained to your writing desk, now i'm anxiously waiting for the next Detective Kearney case. No doubt, it too, will be a non stop pulse raising read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly splendid! May 13, 2014
By Gordon
Format:Kindle Edition
This was my first Stephan Talty book and it was quality from beginning to the brutal end. The characters were nicely developed; the storyline held my attention with the appropriate quantity of mounting tension; the chapters were short, to the point and crisp and there is a different feel here.

If you are looking for a good, solid mystery there is probably nothing better than to have a semi-brain dead, already convicted psychotic killer on the loose from prison. After all, we all know that past relevant conducts are often used to predict present and future behaviors. And with a body count already on the books of three (and one unaccounted for), young and brunette women, (all of which were hanged and none of which were sexually assaulted) from wealthy families, a convict nicknamed the Hangman has not likely absconded from the confines of a lockup to perform any type of compassionate deeds.

I thought the storyline was very solid. The characters seemed realistic and the setting in Buffalo was noteworthy. There were just enough plots twists to keep me guessing and as usual, I could not figure out how this would resolve until the very end. But it all came together with the Statement (no confession) from the Hangman himself. And even though there seemed to be a lot of hustle and bustle, like the ending of most mysteries, the Statement did make this story more realistic and provided for the correct metering of justice.

The only real and annoying distractions were Mills, the boyfriend and the brother. Both played small and insignificant roles and in MHO the boyfriend should stay in Canada moose hunting and the brother’s character should just be scraped. Neither materially contributed much.

I would rate this story with 4 stars. I thought the writing style and the pace of this mystery flowed well. The story kept me on the alert and guessing with several surprises at the end. Talty is carving out a place for himself among elite mystery writers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved this book story line was great read it in no time.... :O)
Published 15 days ago by gloria
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommend
Very good, fast read. Strong female lead. I didn't realize it was book 2 until I was already hooked (about chapter 3), so now I am going back to read Black Irish. Read more
Published 16 days ago by The Face
4.0 out of 5 stars Just an all around good book that had me guessing until near the end
Just an all around good book that had me guessing until near the end, which is as it should be
Published 17 days ago by Blanche E. Booker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good read!
Published 26 days ago by Tracy fowler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery/thriller.
Warning: If you plan on reading the first book in this series, read first! This book contains spoilers for the first novel!! Read more
Published 2 months ago by P. Zack
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely suspenseful and well written; loved it!
I enjoyed the heck out of this book. It is extremely suspenseful. The author 'plays by the rules,' giving the reader all the information to figure out the mystery BUT it is done... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kristi
3.0 out of 5 stars Hangman
"Hangman" is a competently written, somewhat formulaic thriller. I didn't feel like it brought anything new or notable to the genre, nor were the writing,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. C. Bowman
4.0 out of 5 stars scary like "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris
Set in Buffalo, "Hangman" is an exciting murder mystery focused on a serial killer of upscale young girls in which the investigating female police detective, pressed by time of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jedrury
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!!!!!!
This book really grabs you! Great story line, great characters and an twist ending that'll keep you going to the very end! This author had a very well thought out plot. Read more
Published 3 months ago by V A Hughes
4.0 out of 5 stars Great plot
I really enjoyed the book because I could picture the physical locations of the scene since I'm a native Buffaloian. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joyce A. Trautman
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More About the Author

Stephan Talty is the NY Times bestselling author of six acclaimed nonfiction books, as well as two crime novels, "Black Irish" and "Hangman," set in his hometown of Buffalo. He's written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Playboy, the Chicago Review and many others. Talty's ebook, "The Secret Agent," was a #1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in nonfiction.

Talty lives outside New York City with his wife and two children. You can visit his website at

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