Today it is my absolute pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Michael Wood’s latest Matilda Darke thriller, The Hangman’s Hold. My thanks go to the author for inviting me to join the tour and providing an advance copy of the book for review. This is the fourth book in the series but not to be missed. Before I tell you why, here is what it’s all about.
About the Book
Your life is in his hands.
In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.
There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness.
He knows your darkest secrets.
He’ll make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.
And he is closer than you think.
DCI Matilda Darke is running out of time. Fear is spreading throughout the city. As the body count rises, Matilda is targeted and her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?
Well now. If you are looking for a crime thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath more often than is necessarily healthy, you could do a lot worse than to grab yourself a copy of The Hangman’s Hold. This is only the second book in this series I have read but I am liking it more and more with each turn of the page (or in my case, touch of the kindle). With Matilda Darke, Michael Wood has created a protagonist who is equal parts fierce and vulnerable. One hundred percent dedicated to her job and her team, she has her own demons, some of which appear determined to come back to haunt with her a vengeance throughout her latest case.
Now it is safe to say that this latest case facing Matilda and Co is one which leaves somewhat mixed emotions amongst them all. On one hand they are faced with a brutal killer, one who is dispensing their own brand of justice, a kind of re-emergence of capital punishment as it were, but just who – or what – their victims are, remains to be discovered. The first victim brings the case very close to home for Matilda, its impact felt by one of her closest friends, but as the case unfolds, the killer seems hell bent on making this even more personal, leaving Matilda to wonder if she could be their next victim.
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest foray into Matilda’s world. She is a character I liked instantly from the first introduction in A Room Full Of Killers and reacquainting myself with the team this time around was like greeting old friends. There are some new faces amongst them, some folk who are somewhat less agreeable than Matilda’s key team, but also some old faces who come back into focus to keep the action sharp, the tension high and the list of suspects delightfully long. Michael Wood has created such a diverse and yet perfectly complimentary team, that you cannot help but like them, the camaraderie and the banter, as well as the dedication they show to their jobs. But Matilda is without question the stand out amongst them all. She is hurt, haunted even, and she is most definitely put through the ringer on this occasion, but she is quite formidable and not to be broken, no matter how close she comes. You cannot help but like her.
As for the story – well this one will play with both your emotions and your sense of morality. Can vigilante justice ever be acceptable? Is there a line which should not be crossed or if a victim is of questionable virtue, does the end justify the means? Certainly the author has done a brilliant job of creating the victim back story to make you understand why they may have been chosen, but ultimately also showing their present reality and overwhelming humanity so that, no matter what, you cannot help but feel sympathy for them as victims. And yet there is still that element of conflict, morally speaking, which is echoed in the story and the sentiments of the Officers tasked with finding them all justice.
This is a proper cat and mouse chase, with the killer taunting the police, not just through the blatant threats to Matilda, but also by engaging with the media to get their story out there. It raises the stakes for the police and also increases the tension, so skilfully crafted through a very tight writing style. Pacing ebbs and flows like the tide, changing as circumstance and story dictate, but all driving me as a reader towards the highly volatile and breath-stealing conclusion. But beyond the drama, the murders and the thrill of the chase, the book takes a look at not just the killer’s ultimate victims, but their extended family who are victims themselves, giving it an emotional edge beyond that of simple thriller. There is also an element of Matilda’s story coming full circle in this book, with names from her past brought to the fore in a devastating clash with her present.
There are just so many things I want to say about this book but some of them fall into spoiler territory, if not for this book then its predecessors, so really you are going to have to read it for yourselves and then we can talk. Trust me when I say that you really want to. From the very beginning this book drew me in, kept me focused on nothing but the story, and held me in its thrall until I turned that very last page. And what a very last page it was too. Seriously. Always a bitter sweet experience when you have really enjoyed a book, the best thing about that last page is that it promises more to come and I, for one, cannot wait.
If you would like to read The Hangman’s Hold for yourself, it is available now at the following retailers:
About the Author
Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield.
Follow the tour: