The Hanging Club is the third in the DC Max Wolfe series by Tony Parsons. Tony Parsons used to write novels about family (his most famous being Man and Boy), which I always enjoyed reading, but in recent years he has turned his hand to crime novels. And you know I love a good crime novel.
The Max Wolfe stories are as gory and gritty as any thriller, but they are very easy to read and also have a very warm heart. Because Tony Parsons hasn’t entirely given up the family aspect of his writing. Max Wolfe is a single dad to a little girl and their family life is an essential element to the books. He is a likeable character and not like the usual hard-drinking literary detective, although he does have his own demons which come to light in The Hanging Club.
In The Hanging Club, a group of vigilantes is abducting evil men and hanging them. The hangings are filmed and broadcast on the internet. And many people think the vigilantes are doing the right thing, because these men have abused children and put pensioners in hospital. Would Max want to do the same if his own daughter had been abused?
Max finds himself unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight as acting senior investigating officer. Whatever the public think, he and his team still have a job to do. The law says it is murder and the vigilantes are murderers, regardless of the victims’ crimes.
But while the videos are there for all to see and the bodies are easy to find, tracking down the killers and the place the murders took place is proving challenging. Can the gang be stopped before they kill again? And is Max right to be suspicious of his own oldest friend?
This is a real page turner and a pretty quick read. Set in London, it is nice to have that familiarity with the setting. It should appeal to fans of crime novels, but also to readers who are new to the genre.