Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ARC Review: A Penny for the Hangman by Tom Savage

A Penny for the Hangman
Author: Tom Savage
Publication: Alibi (October 7, 2014)

Description: In Tom Savage’s chilling novel of suspense, an ambitious reporter is beckoned to an island paradise for the story of a lifetime. But this scoop might just be the death of her.

Fifty years ago, on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, two teenagers born to privilege were convicted of slaughtering their parents in cold blood. Today the men are free and a Hollywood movie has been made about the murders. For Karen Tyler, an eager New York journalist, the case is irresistible. She has been invited to the Virgin Islands for an interview that’s too good to pass up . . . and sounds too good to be true.

Karen packs her bikini and her digital recorder and follows an ingeniously designed trail that leads her to a wealthy, mysterious figure. The man claims to be one of the notorious boys, but Karen soon learns that all is not as it seems. On this isolated utopia of sun and surf, a young reporter far from home fights for the truth—and for her life. Because the shocking secret behind the infamous atrocities has remained hidden all these years. And the killing isn't over yet.

My Thoughts: What an excellent thriller! Young reporter Karen Tyler is given the chance at the story of a lifetime when she is invited to the US Virgin Islands to interview one of the two men who committed a spectacular murder there fifty years before. Rodney Harper and Wulf Anderman were convicted of the brutal murder of their parents and Rodney's parents' housekeeper. They were fourteen and fifteen at the time. Many books were written about the case; there was a movie; there was even a Broadway show. Now with the anniversary coming up, a new movie is being made. All indications are that it will be a blockbuster.

This story is told as excerpts from Rodney's childhood diary, excerpts from Karen's childhood diary, excerpts from a book written by the police sergeant who worked the case. It is told from the viewpoint of Karen's boyfriend Jim who finishes writing the story. It is told through articles that Karen wrote when she was researching the case. There are also Rodney's current diary entries on CD. All of these are woven together to tell a chilling tale of murder, obsession, and revenge.

The characters were all well-written and realistic. The plot was fast-paced and very engaging. The story was filled with mystery and danger.

Fans of thrillers will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
"Rodney Harper had been drenched," he whispered, "absolutely covered in blood. If you'd seen the victims, what was done to them, you'd expect that. Wulf Anderman was dressed the same as Rodney—a dark turtleneck and blue jeans—and he had all that shiny blond hair, but there was hardly any blood on him,. Just a little, on the right sleeve and the right knee of his pants." He looked away from Karen again, out at the nighttime view. "That place was a slaughterhouse. How do you suppose Wulf stayed so clean?"
I got this eARC through NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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