The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons

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The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Detective Constable Wolfe is back for his third outing and this is quite possibly his best yet. Parsons brings us a gritty, British glimpse into Max Wolfe's homicide squad where rules are meant to be broken.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Century
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1780892375

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When the three yobbos who brutally kicked to death a young husband and father are given a perfunctory sentence, DC Wolfe finds it hard to hold his true feelings in check. Confounded by the injustice of the British Courts and legal system, DC Wolfe spends a good while soul searching and wondering why he invests so much of his life in fighting crime, finding murderers and bringing them to justice when the integrity of the criminal justice system is so sorely lacking. Luckily for DC Wolfe he has his bright and funny daughter Scout to keep him from looking too hard into the darkness that DC Wolfe knows lives inside every dutiful cop; until the videos start being posted on the internet.

Justice is no longer something that the Judges are meting out it seems – a group of individuals who kidnap and hang those who have seemingly escaped with a judicial clip round the ear, even though their crimes are heinous, are finding no mercy at the hands of The Hanging Club.

Max Wolfe is a likeable kind of character; he is, like most good detectives, deeply flawed, he takes on too much responsibility, he hands his daughter over to the childminder at the drop of a hat (or online posting of a video of someone being hanged or leaves her in the flat by herself, sleeping, to go and walk the dog!!!), puts a roof over the head and clothes on the back of an old friend and all the while shouldering an awful lot of the victims of crime's burdens in the name of being a great bloke and sterling police detective. Parsons gives Wolfe an air of fallibility that is totally relatable and, well, for want of a better word, endearing. Although Parsons doesn't linger over the backstory, there is enough to learn about the central character and his life - without simply cutting and pasting it from the previous novels featuring DC Wolfe – to make it a very decent standalone read. As I haven't read any other DC Wolfe novels I can speak from experience and I didn't feel like I had missed something in not having read the set.

Having said that, I am not sure I will be rushing off to read them either; I like Tony Parsons but I liked him because of Man and Boy, which is quite off-genre considering what he has been writing about more recently. I like the way he structures his stories, with a beginning, middle and an end. There is always a conclusion and it is generally satisfying enough to merit a return to his writing and I'd suggest to you that The Hanging Club is no different and Max Wolfe will make a return and it will most likely be even better than the preceding three by that point. Without wishing to sound patronising, I think Parsons is getting the hang of a recurring character and I look forward to reading No. 4.

If you have read a DC Wolfe book before then you should definitely read The Hanging Club and you should also take a look at Catching the Sun and The Slaughter Man both by Tony Parsons, as he really does write a good Crime Thriller. We've given The Hanging Club 4.5 stars and suggest you pack it in your suitcase for your holibobs as a super poolside read.

Our thanks go to the kind folks at Century for sending this copy to Bookbag for review.

Booklists.jpg The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons is in the Top Ten Crime Novels 2016.
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Buy The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons at


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