The Hanging Girl 

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       January 19, 2018


Author  Eileen Cook

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781471406485
Publisher:         Bonnier/Hotkey
Release Date:   January 2018  


This psychological thriller will keep you on your toes as a reader. Just when you think you can relax into the story, something most unexpected happens. The action is really more about the mental anguish of the characters, and how they cope with conflict. The main character is an eighteen year old (called Skye), who is graduating from school with her best friend, Drew. The girls, especially Drew, have been planning to move to New York after their graduation. Skye has a mother who has little money, and will be unable to support her daughter.

 Skye and her Mother both read Tarot cards, her mother seriously, the daughter just as a revenue raiser. Even then no money has been saved for the girl’s move interstate. One gets the feeling that the mother is fairly detached from her daughter. She was fifteen when she had Skye, and the father left very quickly, so single parenting was the only option. An opportunity now presents itself to Skye in the guise of Paige, the local judge’s daughter who has a proposition and needs Skye’s help to pull it off.

 What a dilemma! The reality is that Paige wants to give her parents an awful fright, to punish them for neglecting her. She needs Skye to give psychic clues to the police so that she can eventually be found. A large sum of money will change hands and Skye will be able to move out with her best friend. The best laid plans go astray, and the girls have to rework the initial plot.

 Meanwhile Skye is under suspicion by the Police, as well as Paige’s friends. She often feels as though she is being followed, and goes through the motions at school. She becomes more and more pressured, until her mother begins to take charge. Unfortunately, Mother does this by calling in the media, the last thing that Sky wanted. As the tension mounts and different plans are put in place, things become truly complicated. Skye and Paige want such vastly different things. For Skye, it is just the money, for Paige, it is revenge.

 There is so much uncertainty shown by the characters that we can feel the moral issues they are struggling with. The view of the real world is quite different for all of the women; for Drew “Money is just not a problem,” for Paige, “Revenge is everything,” and for Skye “Being able to change your future to one with promise,” is a goal to reach towards. As we follow their journey, and events unfold, we realise that nothing usually goes completely to plan. That they could go so drastically wrong rocks even the most complaisant reader. The main character’s age is certainly appropriate to the way she thinks and behaves, adding extra insight into the story.