Hangman by Jack Heath, Audiobook: Nail biting suspense

Hangman is the first nail-biting crime thriller in Jack Heath’s bestselling series starring one of a kind protagonist Timothy Blake. Read my audiobook review.

Hangman by Jack Heath, Audiobook Review

Publication: Bolinda Audio Publishing , 2018.

Audiobook narration: Christopher Ragland, 9hrs 21 mins. Listen: Audio sample

Genre: Thriller, Crime-Detective, Action, Mystery, Audio

Hangman Publisher Synopsis

Timothy Blake, Book 1

A mesmerising dissection of the criminal mind and a bulletproof thriller.

A 14-year-old boy vanishes on his way home from school. His frantic mother receives a ransom call: pay or else. It’s only hours before the deadline, and the police have no leads.

Enter Timothy Blake, codename Hangman. Blake is a genius, known for solving impossible cases. He’s also a psychopath with a dark secret, and the FBI’s last resort.

But this time Blake might have met his match. The kidnapper is more cunning and ruthless than anyone he’s faced before. And Blake has been assigned a new partner, a woman linked to the past he’s so desperate to forget.

Timothy Blake has a secret, one so dark he will do anything to keep it hidden.

And he also has a price. Every time he saves a life, he takes one …

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My Review

What makes us choose to read stories about serial killers? Is it curiosity; the opportunity to witness or experience terrifying situations from the safety of our reading chair? Or, is it a fascination with the question of ‘why’, and what goes on in their minds?

I do not personally seek out serial killers in my reading. I’d even say I generally avoid them. But, what I am drawn to is complex characters with compelling inner narratives. And, when that’s combined with a crime puzzle to solve, as in the case of Jack Heath’s Hangman, you can count me in.

What is atypical about this novel though is the duplicity our protagonist, Timothy Blake. On one hand, he is the diamond in the rough, risking it all to save victims of child kidnappings. But few people know that his motives for doing so are not entirely pure…

“Thistle flashes a wicked smile. “Oh, you haven’t heard that one? The government struck a bargain with a cannibal, and they use him to dispose of bodies after executions.” 

“Who told you that story” I ask, trying to sound casual. “The supermax prisoners use it to scare each other up in Huntsville. Better watch your step or a man from the government will come and eat you.” She shrugs. “It doesn’t make much sense, but conspiracy theories never do.”

“Right. It’s probably bullsh!t.”

Sometimes I think people can go overboard with trigger warnings, but really, if ever a book warrants one, it is Hangman. The violence is not just conceptual either; stomach-churning scenes are graphically depicted.

By the time the shock and gore really ramps up though, Jack Heath has ensured that readers are already engaged by Timothy Blake’s sharp intellect, resourcefulness and traumatic backstory.

“Homeless people talk to themselves because nobody else will.”

But it is Blake’s hyper-awareness of how wrong his compulsions/actions are, his ongoing battle to control his urges so as not to hurt those who don’t deserve it, along with his continual fear of being exposed, that makes this story so compelling.

Audiobook narration

As an Aussie listener, I did find the strong southern US accent employed by Hangman‘s audiobook narrator Chris Ragland a little grating initially. But, I quickly became accustomed to it, hooked as I was to Blake’s narrative.

Overall, it was a great performance by Ragland; one that highlighted the ironic, often deadpan humour woven through this story to balance out the horrific, and really amplified the audience’s capacity to engage with this most unusual character.

Despite its gruesome content, I can now fully appreciate why this series has so many fans. Jack Heath does not just rely on the allure of his unusual lead and shock value. He backs that up with clever plotting, pacing and dialogue.

For those with strong stomachs, I highly recommend consuming this novel in the audiobook format.

My Rating

Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5 ; Narration 4 / 5

Where to get your copy of Hangman:

In Audio Bookshop US Amazon eBooks.com Booktopia AU
Hangman by Jack Heath, Timothy Blake Book 1
Timothy Blake #1

More adult titles by Jack Heath

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Click on book covers for full reviews of each novel.