One morning in picture-perfect Bath, England, a teenage girl’s body is found on the towpath of a canal: Lorne Woods – beautiful, popular, and apparently the victim of a disturbingly brutal murder. Zoe Benedict – Harley-riding police detective, independent to a fault – is convinced the department head needs to look beyond the usual domestic motives to solve the case. Meanwhile, Zoe’s sister, Sally – recently divorced and in dire financial straits – has begun working as a housekeeper for a rich entrepreneur who quickly begins to seem possibly dangerous. When Zoe’s investigation turns up evidence that Lorne’s attempts to break into modeling had delivered her into the world of webcam girls and amateur porn, a crippling secret from Zoe’s past seems determined to emerge
Oh how I love Mo Hayder. She’s one of those authors where if I see that she’s released a new book, I’ll instantly purchase / borrow the book without even bothering to read the synopsis as I just know I’ll enjoy it!
For those of you who have not yet found Mo’s literary charms but like crime thrillers then a word of warning. Mo’s stories are pretty dark and disturbing and she is one of the few writers that actually made me so scared when reading her earlier works, ‘The Birdman’ and, ‘The Treatment’ I actually debated whether to skip a few pages as I was struggling to cope with the intensity of the action and the grim realisation that Mo has absolutely no qualms about favoured characters or vulnerable innocents suffering unspeakable horrors.
It was then, a few chapters into reading ‘Hanging Hill’, that I got that sense of foreboding that I was once again being invited into a very dark world. This time it involves adolescent young girls who are usually forced into the sex industry and get involved with some very nasty characters indeed who operate both in the UK and abroad.
The story focuses on two estranged sisters in their 30’s. Zoë, is the beautiful police officer with Amazonian attributes. She’s a fighter but emotionally stunted and self abusive when she needs to regain control. Sally is the stereotypical well to do housewife who has become overly reliant on her husband, that is, until he leaves her and starts a new family. She then has to learn the hard way that her carefree ways don’t necessarily serve her well when she has a teenage daughter to look after and ever increasing bills and repairs to pay.
Separately, these women become involved in the tangled web that occurs after a local schoolgirl is brutally and sadistically murdered. They each have to make dangerous decisions and work together to try and keep themselves and those that they love, safe from harm.
Verdict: Probably not as dark and intense as some of Mo’s earlier works but still a very intriguing (I shouldn’t say enjoyable should I….?) read and I was very pleased with the final, ‘plot twist finale’ even if I will be forever wondering, ‘What happened next?!’
Reviewed by Karen