Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Hangtown - The Second Detective Janelle Watkins Mystery

by Karen Sandler
ANGRY ROBOT Ltd - Exhibit A - 24 juin 2014
416 pages - 6.99 $ (kindle edition)

Hangtown is the second book with Janelle, ex-cop now private detective, who fight against the consequences of an injury and her demons. Demons that change radically from what we usually see in a private detective! When I read Clean Burn, the first book in the series, I already enjoyed the characters and humor distilled in the book which made ​​me want to read the second installment to follow Janelle and Ken in their investigations.

The blurb

Marooned in her despised hometown of Greenville, California, private investigator Janelle Watkins wants nothing more than to keep her head down and make enough money to move back to the City. But even in the sleepy town of Greenville, the edgy, smart-mouthed private investigator seems to attract mayhem.

It starts with the apparent suicide of a nineteen year-old off a highway bridge. Then another young man goes missing and Janelle begins to suspect that there might be a connection between the incidents. With the help of her former SFPD partner and occasional lover, Sheriff Ken Heinz, Janelle begins to follow the convoluted trail, not realizing that the darkness of her past might finally be catching up.

What's good in that book

The first advantage is that it's not necessary to have read the first book to read this one. Although the two volumes relate to the same city and the same characters, it's two independent stories. I also liked to know more about Janelle's past. In Clean Burn we learned more about Janelle's childhood and in Hangtown, her most recent past is revealed. This book talks about the secrets that can hide in a small town, the silences and unspoken. Although the plot is not the strength of this novel it's precisely the unspoken history of Greenville that allows to make it plausible. 

Again, several investigations which seem separated eventually become one, adding more victims and suspects to the list of characters involved. Janelle and Ken, who team from the begin, are investigating a suspicious death and a suspicious disappearance, Janelle also receives mysterious and aggressive texting from a person from her past that she does not recognize, add to this an accident that should not have taken place and another corpse... we really don't get bored reading this book! 

Janelle is THE central character of the book. She's complex and has more depth than the others. Even Ken seems fairly bland beside her, although he's the town sheriff. I love the way the author portrays Janelle and how she approaches her demons. Janelle, because of her past, sometimes needs to burn herself to calm her emotions but Ken managed - more often now - to make the need go. There's no misery in the way this issue is addressed and this is what I like. This makes the character less typical than usual ("Hello, I'm PI so I drink / play / hit on pretty girls / have problems with my ex / etc.) and more human. 

In a nutshell

Another good book from Karen Sandler, whose strength lies in her characters - mostly Janelle Watkins, a very endearing character. A book where the action never stops and where humor is always present. It's a 4/5 for me.

Warning: An e- galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review has been promised and chronic above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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