Title: Hanging Girl
Author: Sharron Grodzinsky
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Hanging Girl by Sharron Grodzinsky follows the story of Sergeant Matt Monahan and Officer Wendy Song as they respond to a call in Coronado, California that disturbs the peaceful town: a young woman’s naked body is found hanging from a chandelier. This incident is the first of many that spirals out of control, including a dead body washed up in a cave and the explosion of a power plant. Matt and Wendy piece together an unraveling string of clues that includes corrupt politicians and terrorists.
Grodzinsky’s novel is a fast-paced, easy read. The short chapters, near-constant action, and tight scenes lend well for a thriller. All these features combine to create a page-turner that even readers who don’t pick up a book often would likely enjoy.
From the first chapter, the author hooks the reader with action. By opening with the officers arriving on the scene of a young, naked woman hanging from a chandelier and thus wondering if it was suicide or homicide, Grodzinsky doesn’t waste a moment grabbing the reader’s attention. The action mounts as the story unfolds, and just when we think nothing worse could happen, another atrocity plays out on the page, keeping the reader’s interest throughout.
Hanging Girl tells the story from not only the perspectives of the good guys, but also from the bad guys. The author’s choice to reveal to the reader who is behind the horrific events that happen may not be the typical method in storytelling, but it works for this novel. Although the reader knows some facts that the protagonists don’t until the end, not all is revealed how each death and the explosion connect until the conclusion, leaving the reader with plenty of questions and thus reasons to keep turning the pages.
Grodzinsky writes plot and characters equally well. While Hanging Girl is mostly plot-driven, which is typical for genre fiction, the main characters, Matt and Wendy, are still given plenty of personality with how they play off each other as partners. He eats meat, and she is vegetarian. He’s a widower who is oblivious to the attention women give him, and she keeps trying to set him up with women despite this. He is a slob, and she is a neat freak. The author employs dialogue effectively throughout to engage the reader and feel like part of the conversation between various characters.
The author uses a wide array of emotion throughout with several characters, exploring the range of emotion real people feel. The storyline isn’t easy for the characters. They must work hard to overcome not only solving crime, but also intra- and inter-relational matters.
There are a few minor parts that are repetitive, such as sentences too close together that say basically the same thing, but this doesn’t detract from enjoying the overall novel.
Hanging Girl is a mystery-thriller that delivers a fast-paced storyline that will keep the reader gripped from the first page. Sharron Grodzinsky writes a compelling novel with realistic and interesting characters. Fans of both mysteries and thrillers, especially those of crime, will enjoy this easy-to-read story.
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