THE HANGMAN

Written by Chris White

Review written by Ron Ellis

Ron Ellis is a journalist and author of the Johnny Ace books


THE HANGMAN
Runic Hill
RRP: £9.99
Released: 01 April 2012
Pbk Original
The hero of this story is D.I. Peter Armitage, an ex-military man, who finds himself pitted against a female serial killer who is murdering people who have committed terrible crimes but have escaped punishment. 
         
Beside every body, the killer leaves a sign depicting a hangman plus a letter addressed personally to Armitage explaining why the latest victim had to die and ending with same hangman  in red ink as a signature. 

After a series of gruesome murders, by which time Armitage has fallen in love with a young member of his team, Samantha Caine, the plot accelerates to a climax with a dramatic finale.

So far, so good.

What ruins the book are the offensively detailed descriptions of the nauseating and unnatural methods used to kill the victims, all of which involve indescribable suffering. Try molten gold poured down a victims throat or rats eating into a person’s stomach for size, to name but two.

On the plain front over, the book is described as ‘a crime thriller’. I would venture to offer a better description. ‘Murder Porn’. This was recently used by Telegraph TV critic, Serena Davies, to describe an episode of the BBC programme  ‘Luther’ because of its gratuitous violence.

Maybe these exhibitions of sadism are meant to excite the reader in the way hard core pornography excites sexual voyeurs. Perhaps the writer gets off on that sort of thing himself in which case, sharing it with others is rather like organising a group masturbation exercise by proxy.

Just don’t count me among the wankers. I’ll stick with Miss Marple.
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