REVIEW of The Hanging Psalm by Chris Nickson

The Hanging PsalmWhen Simon Westow is hired to find a missing girl, he doesn’t realize just how close to home this case will hit. A thief-taker in Leeds, Simon is used to finding missing property. But the villain who took the factory-owner’s daughter has hidden her more carefully than any stolen locket or ring of gold. Aided by Jane, a young girl who knows how to become nearly invisible on the streets, Simon must thwart this master criminal and avoid losing his family to the vengeance of a longtime enemy.

This novel, although set during the same era as many Regency romances, is far from a cozy mystery. Its gritty atmosphere and gruesome detail make it a historical thriller of the first order. Can Simon bring justice to the corrupt city of Leeds? And will he lose his wife and children in the process?

Throughout the book, Simon is as hard as nails but surprisingly tender with his wife Rosie and his three-year-old twins. Although he is not omniscient, he is indefatigable about running down all the red herrings that crop up in the case. Jane is a fascinating sidekick, a wraith-like adolescent who has lodged with Simon’s family for two years but refuses to let them into her secrets or her past. She blames herself for everything that goes wrong in the case and is just as merciless about exacting punishment on herself as she is in hunting down the evildoer.

All in all, this book was a well-written page-turner with intriguing characters and a promising launch to a new mystery series. Recommended for those without weak stomachs.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Negalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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