The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton

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The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Dark, creepy, Gothic story of crime and possession set in Victorian London. A super and shivery tale for all those who like things that go bump in the night.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 085707864X

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2013 Costa Children’s Book Award shortlist

The Wigman is at large, murdering children. You'd think this would be the first concern for Titus Adams, as he's only fifteen, his parents are incorrigible drunks and he has a young sister, Hannah, to look out for. But in London in the late 1800s, there are more pressing concerns than serial killers on the loose. Like how to pay the rent. Like where the next meal is coming from. Like staying out of the workhouse. Like keeping your sister on the right side of the law. Thankfully, Titus has a friend in Inspector Pilsbury. He doesn't arrest Hannah when she's caught with pickpockets. He feeds her and keeps her safe at the station until Titus comes to collect her.

But then, everything goes wrong. Titus's parents die in a fire. And even after the Wigman is arrested, the murders continue. Now everyone is a suspect - even the good inspector himself. If Titus can't find a way to end the killings, he will lose everything...

Ooh, this was a truly creepy story. There's murder and mayhem, spirit possession, and putrid ectoplasm on almost every page. And, set against the murky background of Victorian London, the whole thing has an air of rottenness, against which the fight for good is a hard one. But the good in the story shines very brightly, so we can hold on to hope - always a good thing. Titus is a great central character. He is brave and loyal and intelligent, but he is so taken up with the business of trying to survive that he has no idea of just how great he really is. We love reluctant and unassuming heroes here at Bookbag, and Titus is a perfect example.

The book has a credible Gothic feel but is still accessible. Something I particularly enjoyed was the historical accuracy. There are all sorts of details - from Ragged Schools to bare feet with soles so worn and thick that nails barely penetrate - that build up a vivid picture of what life was really like for London's poor in the nineteenth century. Even better, this stuff never gets in the way of the story, which is intense and unnerving.

This type of traditional Gothic horror is very popular at the moment and if you are a fan, then you'll think The Hanged Man Rises is absolutely great. We certainly did!

If you like Gothic stories, I think you might also enjoy The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric, which is set in Venice. And there's also the fantastic The Eyeball Collector by F E Higgins which has a beautiful classical style. You might also enjoy The Blood List by Sarah Naughton.

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Buy The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton at


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