Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literature, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Blog Tour: Book Review – The Hanging Women by John Mead

Blog Tour

The Hanging Women by John Meads

The Blurb!39104053

Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation. 

As a result of Jack ‘stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremest factions of the workers movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret ‘nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim. 
With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late. 

Goodreads Link – Here

Amazon UK Link – Here

17891273Author Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

His inspiration for his debut novel came whilst attending a lecture in Denver about the history of the American midwest, describing a time and place that was very different from that espoused by popular culture, which started him thinking this would make a excellent period in which to set a crime story.

His book describes how Chicago was a prototype of much that we consider both good and bad in the current age, it had a vibrancy and decadence that allowed a few enterprising individuals to prosper whilst violence and intolerance held back many others. The situation for some African Americans and women was improving but it was still a time when to be anything other than white and male made you a second class citizen.  The city was the manufacturing and transport hub of America, the vast influx of immigrants swelling its already booming population brought great wealth but also corruption and criminality. The midwest and Chicago typified a way of life, the ‘gun culture’ which is a euphemism for individualism, from which much of modern American social values have grown. 

John is currently working on a trilogy of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city: a Whitechapel noir. 

Goodreads Link – Here

Twitter – @JohnMeadAuthor

My Thoughts! 

From what I have read recently this has been a bit of a change. A welcome change though. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve read a good crime fiction novel. Let alone one set in the heart of gang ridden Chicago in 1886! This was definitely a first for me.

I loved the “who done it’s” the twists and turns. And who actually done it… you’ll never guess!

Jack to me seemed a bit of an arse if I’m honest. Definitely an alcoholic, he didn’t treat his wife, Martha, that well. But he was good at his job. I was actually quite sad at the end, no spoilers from me I’m afraid. I didn’t like Nina at all. Kitty I thought was fantastic! Her willingness to live as a man was brilliant and if I’m honest I think she was my favourite character in the whole book.

It is definitely worth a read, fast paced, and if you like America in the late 1800’s then it’s a great incite into how hierarchy’s of gangs worked. I’m giving this book a 4/5 rating.

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