Thursday, 19 October 2017

REVIEW - THE HANGING GIRL BY EILEEN COOK

Title: The Hanging Girl
Author: Eileen Cook
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre, Hot Key Books/HMH Books
Release Date: 19th October 2017/3rd October 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK

REVIEW
After two really good paranormal shape-shifter books I felt I should have a change of genre and settled on this book. After reading With Malice also by Eileen Cook, I have high expectations for this one. I am also curious about the psychic and tarot elements mentioned in the blurb.

The cover I have chosen to describe as part of my review is the one I have pictured above and it is also featured below within my Cover Compare feature. This cover has a tree as it's major feature, with a very dark and what may be described as a more sinister feel to the cover.  Then there is a depiction of Eileen Cooks version of the "hanged man" tarot card which is nailed onto a tree. The card has the book title on it. This cover features the byline which says, "Trust No One, Deceive Everyone" at the bottom of the cover.

The main character of this book, who is also my favourite character is Candi Skye Thorn, though she uses her middle name of Skye in everyday life hating her real first name Candi! Skyes lives with her mother in an apartment in an increasingly run down area. Skye isn't in the popular gang at school, in fact after the "incident" she tries to keep a low profile and generally keeps to herself. During the "incident" she was caught lying. Skye dreams of getting out of her home town. In fact Skye and best friend Drew have been planning their escape for years. their dream is to move in together, Drew will attend college and Skye will find a job. Drew doesn't need to worry about money as she has rich parents so will have their financial support throughout college. 

Skye's attempt to make some money is to utilise the "gift" her mother and grandmother say runs through their family of being psychic. Skye doesn't believe on the "gift" she thinks she is just very good at reading people and the tarot card meanings. Skye finds that most people project within their actions the answers they want from Skye. Skye is good at setting the scene for the mystical tarot card readings her grandma handed down to her. Her tarot cards may look they have been handed down through generation after generation but she bought them brand new from Amazon. Skye is clever and a little cunning which she believes runs in her family more than psychic abilities. When the new tarot cards arrived Skye aged them. Skye soaked each individual tarot card in a weak tea and then dried them on a low setting in the oven. The part Skye hates most about giving a reading is asking for the payment, it feels wrong, slimy but not so distasteful that Skye would do readings for free. Skye is panicking about how she is going to tell Drew that she doesn't have the money to move away with her as they had dreamed and planned to do. Would Drew forgive her? Was she destined to be stuck here in Michigan forever. Though Skye thinks she is smart she does get drawn into helping someone with a "kidnapping" scheme. Skye and the "kidnapper/s" exchange notes by placing them in a large reference book in the library. The kidnapper insists on having a code name which is Pluto. The whole reason and choice of the code name is explained within the book much better than I can, and I really do not want to reveal anything really spoilery as that would in my opinion spoil your individual enjoyment of the book.

The other main character and the character we are supposed to love to hate/dislike in this book is Paige. Paige is a young woman who is used to getting her own way and being given anything she wants no expense is spared. Unfortunately the very thing Paige craves is her fathers attention, and its the very thing she doesn't have. Paige has run away before, so that's what everyone thinks she has done again when she suddenly disappears. 

There were many points in the book I wanted to shout at Skye to rethink the things she was about to do. When she finally caves in during a rash moment and agrees to be part of the kidnap plan! In fact a couple of my Goodreads updates explain how I felt at the time of reading the certain sections of the book dealing with the kidnapping. At around 18% so fairly early in the book was "What on earth has Skye got herself into?!" The morning after agreeing to the scheme Skye does attempt to back out of the agreement but Pluto will not allow her to and even hints that Skye could be blackmailed into going ahead with the plan!

To begin with the disappearing part of kidnap plan goes ahead without a hitch. It's as tie goes on that things start to go awry. Skye soon feels like she is being watched and followed and at a later section of the book she feels her own life and even that of her mother may be in serious danger! Which is when I make my second update comment on Goodreads which was at 75% my comment was "Wow what a mess, what a twist"! I have read two books written by Eileen Cook this one and With Malice, I truly adore Eileen Cook's writing style. As you read and become more invested in the characters of the book you feel submerged into their lives and problems. I seriously wanted to grab hold of Skye and shake her whilst asking why she ever agreed to being part of the kidnapping scheme. Then as you read more of the book Eileen reveals Skye's motivation for being involved. I guess some people will view Paige's character as an attention seeking, spoilt child but Eileen then shows us, the reader, why Paige feels as she does. In fact you begin not really liking Paige to feeling sorry for her and wishing you could just hug her. One thing the girls have in common is wanting something they don't have and having somewhat distant relationships with their parents. With Skye she has no father on the scene at all, and she views her mother as a charlatan psychic who she has little in common with and who she doesn't find easy to talk to. By the end of the book Skye's opinion does change towards her mother and Skye grows into a more mature character herself accepting who she is and where she comes from. I really loved this book I felt pulled into the action early and held there to the very end. The tension builds and then just when you think you have sorted out everything in your own mind, Eileen Cook delivers another twist. There were certainly at least a couple of twists in the latter part of the book that I didn't see coming! I will certainly be checking out other titles by Eileen Cook and recommending her books to others.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book, that was my last Goodreads entry was "Once again Eileen Cook gives plenty of suspense, tension building and keeps you guessing to the very end with lots of twists and turns along the way". 


COVER COMPARE
Below are the two different covers I have seen for this book.
A                                   B
COVER A is a closer view of a tree or wood that is read and brown, so perhaps an old propery or run down wood. There is a scrap of paper, perhaps torn from a notebook or a the back of a receipt is nailed onto the tree/wood  and has the byline of "Trust No One, Deceive Everyone" on it. The cover does match an area that is described in the book well, so it's almost a scene from the book.

COVER B is as I described within my review, has a tree as it's major feature. Then there is a depiction of Eileen Cooks version of the "hanged man" tarot card which is nailed onto a tree. This cover also features the byline which says, "Trust No One, Deceive Everyone" at the bottom of the cover.

I do honestly think both covers are attractive and would catch my eye when on a book shelf in a bookstore which is their primary job. Both covers work, in that I'd notice them and want to pick up the book to read the blurb, then obviously want to buy and read the book!
Having said that I do have a preference, having now read the book I feel the cover with the tarot card fits the content of the book very well. 

Which cover do you prefer?

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