Hanging Hill – Mo Hayder

Lorne Wood is discovered dead next to a canal. Brutally murdered.

Her murderer has left a message…on her body…”all like her”…but what does it mean?

Detective Inspector Zoe Benedict is one of the first on the scene in relation to this case. Something is not right and she cannot work out why. Investigations lead to some discoveries of Zoe’s past and it becomes a race to ensure that Zoe’s past life does not come out into the world she has created now. Lorne Wood looked to be following a similar path. 

Millie, knew Lorne, they were friends, they weren’t friends. A typical teenage friendship. Millie’s mum becomes worried about her daughter, and protecting her from the evils of the world, whilst trying to maintain some stability, but with the lack of money and being a single parent, everything is against her. But Millie seems to know something about the death but she cannot talk about it until she walks in to talk to Zoe…

Who also happens to be her aunt.

Mo Hayder adds to the story of Lorne and the capture of her killer, the past of these two sisters, Zoe and Sally. They have not spoken for years, they were brought up very differently, taking different paths after an incident when they were young. You are never quite sure what the incident actually was, although there are hints, which makes for a more intriguing relationship between the two. Through Millie, because of Lorne they are thrown together and have to get the best answer for everyone.  “Is it okay to do the wrong thing for the right reason?”

This was the first Hayder book I have read, and have nothing to compare it to. It was very gruesome and not something I would have chosen, but it was compelling, it held my attention, and I had to find out what happened, even though a lot of it was very unpleasant! The book is also in some ways a reflection on the relationship between sisters, and the one that gets the best of everything whilst growing up, whilst the other has to make do. Private or Comprehensive education? Day or Boarder? The questions are still relevant for the dead girl and her friends. Is one child being treated more kindly than another? Is there jealously and when one of their group is so tragically removed. Do these youngsters have the skills and emotions to deal with it?

Sometimes doing wrong means you are doing right.

I received this book from the publisher and thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to read it. I would never have considered this book in a bookshop. It was a page turner, and I would like to read more by Mo Hayder. It is very realistic and I did not feel she was treating the reader as somewhat backward and not be able to handle detail. No need for imagination here. Graphic detail hammered home the point, the death, the atmosphere so much so that the book stayed with me long after I had put it down, going “Oh……”

I intended to read this for the letter ‘H’ for the Crime Fiction Alphabet but did not finish the book in time for the letter that week but I will mark it accordingly on my link above.