A Book Spy Review: ‘The Hanging Club’ By Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons THe Hanging Club.jpgWhen justice fails, bad guys still fall. 

A group of vigilantes roams the streets of London looking for criminals who all but appear to be getting away with their crimes. Like a serial rapist, for example, who has never been caught and continues living a normal life. During the day he’s a father and a husband, but at night, well, he preys on the weak. He’s managed to stay out of the legal system, but that doesn’t mean he’ll avoid punishment–or the death penalty. 

They call themselves the Hanging Club, and they do the dirty work necessary to keep the streets clean and criminals at bay. So when they hear about a serial rapist or a drunk driver who killed a child after climbing behind the wheel when he shouldn’t have, they take justice into their own hands. There’s only one sentence for the guilty, a rope around their neck while gravity does the rest. 

The Hanging Club…literally

While some might argue the world is a safer place with this group running around cleansing the earth of scumbags, others might point out that these vigilantes have no legal authority to kill. That isn’t necessarily justice. It’s more like street retribution, with no judge or jury. 

At first, the gang performed their hangings in secret. Then they started recording them and putting them on the internet. Eventually, it progressed to live streaming, so people could get online and watch from all over the world. Some find the group’s actions gruesome and despicable, while others commend them for doing what they think the legal system should. 

Max Wolfe, an investigator with the London Metro police, is tasked with working the crime scenes mentioned above. Deep down, he struggles with which side of society he agrees with in regards to the Hanging Club gang and their actions. As a cop, he’s certainly tired of seeing criminals go free while victims suffer forever. When it comes to dealing with bad guys as an officer, his hands are tied. But these guys operate outside of the law, and it seems to be working. 

That’s the real magic of Tony Parsons’ latest novel–it will leave readers split and make them question their own stance on such matters. But this ain’t some Marvel or DC comic book story, it’s real. Brutal. Even disturbing at times. 

And then, just when you think you know how you feel about what’s happening, more details about the vigilantes emerge. Suddenly, Wolfe has to wonder if their motives are as simple and easy as they first made it out to be. Are they really just offing bad guys, or is there more to the story?

Some of the dialogue is below average, and the pacing is a tad choppy at times, but overall, this is a solid novel. The plot sizzles and the characters are well developed. Wolfe might be the protagonist, but the vigilantes steal the show with their morally questionable tactics. Once you start this book, you won’t want to stop. 

Tony Parsons has delivered a thought-provoking thriller that demands your attention and holds it until the very end. The Hanging Club is an adrenaline-pumping ride! 

Author: Tony Parsons
Series: Max Wolfe #3
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250052718
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: November 1, 2016 (Order Now!)

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