Review: Hangtown by Karen Sandler

 

Title: Hangtown { Janelle Watkins, Private Investigator #2}

Author: Karen Sandler

Published: Sadly the publisher of Hangtown, Exhibit A, shut its doors just days before the book’s publication date and it was not released.

Status: Read from August 04 to 05, 2014 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Karen Sandler’s Hangtown is the second gritty mystery novel to feature private investigator, Janelle Watkins, picking up about a year after the events that took place in Clean Burn.

Janelle is still in Greenville, California, living in a trailer on the property left to her by her father, but with every intention of heading back to San Francisco as soon as she can scrape together enough money. In the meantime she picks up whatever work comes her way, from surveillance gigs to insurance jobs and skip traces, argues with the County building service, and reluctantly keeps an eye on her on and off again lover’s teenage niece. It’s Cassie who discovers the body of nineteen year old Zach Stinson hanging from a bridge on the border of Janelle’s property. At first the police, including Sheriff Ken Heinz, assume Zach committed suicide but something about that scenario doesn’t seem right and when Janelle is asked to investigate the disappearance of a young man who knew the victim, instinct tells her her the two cases are connected.

Fast paced and action packed, Hangtown is a well crafted, complex mystery. As Janelle begins her search for the missing boy, and it becomes obvious that Zach was murdered, a local doctor is killed in a suspicious accident, a nurse is hit by a runaway vehicle and Janelle, who has been receiving a series of threatening text messages, is attacked by an unknown assailant. Janelle, with the help of Ken, has to figure out what connects these seemingly unrelated incidents before someone else dies.

Though still in near constant pain, as the result of an accidental firearm discharge by a rookie cop that all but destroyed her leg and forced her resignation from the police force, Janelle seems to have quieted some of her demons after the last case and has managed to curb some of her more self destructive tendencies. I was really glad to see this growth in her character which I think is rendered believably. One of Janelle’s past vices does haunt her in Hangtown however, and has the potential to drive a wedge between Janelle’s tentatively renewed relationship with Ken.

Hangtown isn’t as dark as Clean Burn but it does offer a more elaborate mystery. I found it to be both entertaining and exciting and read it almost straight through. Janelle in particular is an intriguing character and makes a terrific protagonist, I’m already looking forward to joining her for her next case.

Sadly I just learnt that the publisher of Hangtown, Exhibit A, shut its doors just days before the book’s publication date and it was not released.  I hope that Karen Sandler is able to put it into the hands of a new publisher with all haste.

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Danielle Binks
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 19:57:48

    What?! The publisher shut up shop before the book could be released!? Aw man, that sucks! It sounds awesome!

    Like

    Reply

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