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The Hanged Man is the first book all-new Gaslamp Fantasy series by P. N. Elrod.On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromisThe Hanged Man is the first book all-new Gaslamp Fantasy series by P. N. Elrod.On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, after the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up.Turning to some choice allies—the handsome, prescient Lieutenant Brooks, the brilliant, enigmatic Lord Desmond, and her rapscallion cousin James—Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic."Murder, mayhem and tea—a well-bred Victorian urban fantasy thriller. Prepare, o reader, to be enthralled."—Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times Best Selling Author of the Mercy Thompson series on P.N. Elrod's The Hanged Man...

Title : the hanged man
Author :
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ISBN : 23566887
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the hanged man Reviews

  • Gail Carriger
    2019-01-29 11:45

    Enjoyable read. It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslight fantasy, as opposed to steampunk, in the vein of The Native Star by M. K. Hobson. I found the plot enjoyable to follow, the side characters very intriguing, and the love interest (or is it interests) appealing. For me, I would prefer a little more nookie and a little less gore, but that's know how I roll.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-01-29 16:58

    4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/05/15/b...I have a weakness for gaslight paranormal fantasy and lady detectives, so when presented with P.N. Elrod’s The Hanged Man I found I could hardly resist this delectable mystery set in alternate historical England with shades of the Victorian era.The book begins on a cold and dreary Christmas Eve in 1897, and Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury of Her Majesty’s Psychic Service is called out to a house on Baker Street to do a forensic reading of a scene of questionable death. A man has hung himself, but by using her abilities to pick up on emotional traces left behind, Alex is able to rule out a suicide. And indeed, later they find the evidence that someone broke into the house, drugged the hapless victim and strung him up to make it look like he killed himself. What’s even more disturbing to Alex is the emotional signature left behind by the perpetrator…or rather, the lack of one. Whoever (or whatever) committed this murder, they did it without feeling anything at all.Then the identity of the hanged man is revealed and Alex’s world comes crashing down around her. This opens up a whole new set of questions, deeply personal ones that fill her with doubt as she struggles to keep her mind on the investigation. Her superiors remove her from the case, but Alex is determined to follow up on leads even if it means setting out on her own. Luckily, she’s not completely alone; newly recruited Lieutenant Brooks may be green but he’s behind Alex all the way, and Alex also has family to rely on, even if it’s her slightly insane cousin James. There are assassins and dark magic afoot, and both Scotland Yard and the Psychic Service are going to need all the help they can get.I’ve read a lot of books that take place in this historical time period, but more uncommon are the authors who can write convincingly enough to make me believe we’re really there. It says a lot that The Hanged Man grabbed me right away with its impressively rich prose, plunging me into its setting. I’ve actually never read anything by P.N. Elrod before this, but looks like I’ve been missing out, give me more! Her writing really shines here; not only is the language deeply immersive, it also exudes an atmosphere of magic and mystery – perfect for an evocative tale such as this. The dialogue is well-written too, and I was amazed at the variety of voices. The author uses period jargon and unique speech patterns to make all her characters stand out, whether it’s the main protagonist Alex or a side character like Police Inspector Lennon. There will be no skimming this book because you’ll want to slow down and soak up every word and expression.Then there’s the story. I knew this book was going to be a mystery when I first picked it up, but I think I expected a slower take-off followed by a gradual unraveling of the case’s clues and intricacies. What I got instead was a bombshell dropped on my head at the end of the very first chapter, and before I could even recover from the shock, we’re whisked away on a horse carriage race through the streets in a shower of gunfire. It is almost impossible to review this book without revealing any spoilers, because there’s just no end to the twists and turns. For a book that’s written so evenly and this tightly plotted, I was surprised at how often it had me on the edge of my seat. We got to slow down a bit in the middle, enough to let me catch my breath, but then the ending had me reeling again. There’s no cliffhanger, but one last revelation before the book closes struck me like a punch in the gut and had me feeling no small amount of sympathy for Alex. This entire story was deftly told, leaving me a very happy reader by the time it was all done.I know I’m often bemoaning that all books these days seem to be part of a series, but in this case I’m actually hoping there will be more installments. The Hanged Man reads perfectly well as a standalone, but there’s still a lot left to ponder. Just what kind of secrets are the top men at Her Majesty’s Psychic Service hiding? I’d also love to get more background on the organization and its people. It appears that Alex and her Reader skills are just the beginning, seeing as the Service also employs Seers and Precogs and what sounds to me like a considerable R&D department. With all this supernatural talent flying around, I imagine there’s quite a bit of potential for future novels. And last but not least, I think Alex and Lieutenant Brooks have a good thing here going, and it would be interesting to watch their romance (which is just in the first stages of blooming here) develop into something more.I anticipated that I would really like The Hanged Man, I just didn’t know it would be this much. A blend of Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery and Romance all rolled into one, it’s sure to appeal to readers with a palate for bold twists and magical intrigue. The writing is simply wonderful, with P.N. Elrod’s prose bringing the period to life in a very expressive and authentic way. The story and characters are very well developed, and if I ever get the chance to catch up with Alex, Brooks, James and the other people in this world again, I know I won’t hesitate.

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    2019-01-28 14:08

    This is a review...of the first 4 chapters. I'm quite sure that when I saw and downloaded this book on NetGalley it didn't say it was a preview excerpt, but then it suddely did. I could be wrong. But that's not the point. The point is that I have read the first four chapters of a book that I really liked and then there wasn't anymore. I can understand reading a sample of a book, but still this was quite a lot of the book and I want more. NOW!So how was the book? The first four chapters where really good and I'm looking forward to read the rest of the book. I like the alternative world and the characters. Also the story is really intriguing with Alex being a forensic psychic reader whose job it is to "read" suspicious deaths.So I rate these four chapters 4 stars and hope that the whole book will be be up soon!Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with this preview excerpt. I want more!

  • Miriam
    2019-02-17 17:09

    This was my first encounter with Elrod since reading a couple of Vampire Files in my teens, and although the setting is different -- an alt-history Victorian London -- stylistically it is about what I remember: entertaining but not very complex* plot, sympathetic but not very rounded characters, competent but not noteworthy prose style. Fun beach read sort of thing. *In fact, so not-complex that some twists I was expecting turned out to be wishful thinking.

  • ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
    2019-02-21 12:58

    I rather enjoyed this book. It was steampunkish murder mystery/+ bigger plot in an alternate England. Alex is an engaging main character that works with Her Majesty's Psychic Service. She is level headed but impulsive, sensible yet often throws caution to the wind in order to solve the mysteries surrounding the case. Hers is a world where some have paranormal abilities, many of which work to keep England safe. Late at night she is called to the scene of murder that hits close to home. Soon she is involved a swirl of conspiracy, running from hidden assassins with silent guns, and dealing with relatives she'd just as soon never see again (and don't we all have those relatives?)There were so many memorable supporting characters that I would love to see later in the series. After receiving only the first four chapters from Netgalley, I read the rest when the book was available at the library.Thank you Netgalley for a free digital copy of the first four chapters in exchange for an honest review.

  • ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
    2019-02-05 17:50

    Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for a eARC 4 chapter EXCERPT in exchange for an honest review.I'm dying to read the rest of this book. Alex is a Reader. She is called to "read" deaths and suspects to bring about justice. She is part of a department of psychic readers under Her Majesty's service in this alternate, mildly steampunk England. She is strong, stoic, smart, lonely. She is Sherlockian in observation and lives on Baker street. I'm also in love with the brusque and intimidating Inspector Lennon - because you can tell he is compassionate despite the exterior he projects to the world. There are so many memorable characters that I want to learn more about, including her own insufferable relations.It turns out she knows the murdered man, and that only invites more questions. The adventure quickly takes off and the person/people behind the murder seem intent on taking more people down. I'm enjoying the lexicon in this book: words like "surfeit", "grostequery", & "horripilations"(!)I have the book on hold at the library for when it comes out on the May 19, 2015. If it's not waiting for me on the 19th, I will buy the thing because I have no self control or patience - and at $11 bucks, that doesn't make me happy!

  • Melliane
    2019-02-03 14:47

    Mon avis en FrançaisMy English reviewI saw some very good reviews about this book and I admit that I was impatient to begin it to discover the whole story. It must be said that it had it all: a fantasy aspect, a good investigation, murders and all that taking place during the Victorian period. What more can we ask for?So we discover Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, a young woman part of the secret services and helping the police to solve some murders. Indeed, her gift allows her to feel the emotions of others, of a place, helping her to find more effective clues. At the beginning of the novel, our heroine is called to investigate another murder that will completely change her life. Without realizing it, Alexandrina is present on the murder scene of her father whom she has not seen for 10 years … a great upheaval you will tell me. Yet from that moment, life will completely change for our agent and it will only get worse over the situation. Forced to return to live with her family who does not appreciate her, she is accompanied by a newcomer to the secret services: Brooks. Together, they will embark on an investigation that will change their life.I loved Alexandrina. This is a young woman full of qualities and she does not hesitate to try to do the best whatever the situation. She tries to be strong at the loss of her father and yet this is far from simple. It must be said that all her life, her father’s, her family’s will be questioned and our heroine will have to determine whom she can turn to and whom she can trust. Fortunately for her, she will not be alone in this adventure and Brooks will always be here to help her, whatever he might think. He will also have to face some events which he had never imagined the possibility. It was pretty cute to see that the two were slowly attracted to the other, and that this agent was always available for the young woman. This is also very easy to understand Alexandrina, to see her doubts, hopes and desires.Through this survey, which also holds many surprises, we discover our heroine, her past, the trials she must go through but also her hidden secrets throughout the years. I confess also that the end of the novel really touched me and it is true that we fully understand the resentment of the young woman.You can understand that it was a very good book with a very good plot and a story that keeps us going throughout the chapters. I had a lot of fun with this first novel and I confess that I am very curious to read more now.

  • Jacob Proffitt
    2019-01-26 11:49

    I didn't connect very well to this book, which is kind of a shame. The world is interesting and the story is well constructed. There are interesting elements and I can't help thinking I should have enjoyed this much better than I did.The obvious weaknesses are the uneven pacing and an emotionally distant main character. Alex Pendlebury is a "Reader"—someone who reads the emotions of others (including lingering impressions left on objects and locations). To keep from being overwhelmed, she has learned to fortify herself and erect shields. Elrod does a good job conveying that emotional distance, but that had the side-effect of putting an emotional distance between me and the main character, as well.This is nowhere more evident than in her interactions with Lieutenant Brooks. This is a crying shame and crime against the novel because Brooks is by far the most interesting character in it. He's stalwart and kind and unflinchingly honest and that's an incredibly engaging combination. Elrod pulls off his character supremely well, as well, and that's something of a miracle (as it's really easy to sacrifice one of those virtues for the sake of the others). Sadly, this, too, has an unfortunate side-effect as I spent more than half this novel wanting Alex to lighten the heck up and actually see the gem that was standing right next to her the entire trying night and day and night that comprise the story.Between the uneven pacing, puppy-crush on Lt. Brooks, and the emotionally guarded heroine, I had a hard time letting myself simply immerse in the story. It's good enough that I was never tempted to put it down, but it wasn't the pure win it might have been.So yeah, 3.5 stars, but without enough Oomph to push the rounding up.

  • Shelley
    2019-02-13 16:42

    *GENRE* STEAMPUNK, MYSTERY, ALTERNATIVE HISTORY*RATING* 4.0*My Thoughts*On Christmas Eve 1879, Alex, a top of the line Psychic reader who works for Her Majesty's Psychic Service, is called out by the gruff Scotland Yard Inspector Lennon who tells it like it is, and isn't afraid of offending anyone's sensibilities or political correctness. He has himself a pickle, and can't get anything done until Alex clears the scene for him. He believes the victim is a suicide, but needs Alex to verify that fact before removing said body.*FULL REVIEW POSTED @ GIZMOS REVIEWS**http://www.gizmosreviews.blogspot.com...*Borrowed from Library* Published May 19th 2015 by Tor Books

  • Jamie Collins
    2019-02-20 11:44

    I picked this up because I like Elrod’s Vampire Files series, which are entertaining books about a vampire private detective living in 1920’s Chicago.This is something different: a “gaslamp fantasy”, or perhaps steampunk lite: we have Victorians with modern attitudes, airships and a little fancy weaponry, but no excessive gadgetry. It features an agent in Her Majesty’s Psychic Service who, in the course of solving a murder mystery/conspiracy, discovers that there are more supernatural forces at work in London than she realized.This is mildly humorous with just a hint of a romance. The alternate history setting is nice, although I’m more willing to believe in psychics than I am to believe that a youthful adventure undertaken by Queen Victoria could lead to equal rights (not to mention the wearing of trousers) for women in the 1870’s. The plot is okay - neither the mystery nor the conspiracy is exceptional, and I thought there were rather too many superhuman things tossed into the mix by the end. Still, a fun read.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-07 18:07

    My review of this just went up over on B&N!: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sc...

  • AE
    2019-02-17 16:51

    My emotions: Chapter 4: Oh whoa! Cool introduction. This is going along well! Chapter 6ish: huh this is slowing down a bit. What are we doing again? Who is this person?Chapter 8ish: okay this used to be interesting. I'm going to press on. I'm sure it'll pick up. Chapter 11: I'm bored and I really can't go on. Should I quit? Should I finish? *leaves to sleep and comes back a day later* Well, I could just skip to the final chapter (15) and just see how it goes.Chapter 15 skips: Huh. Well, I guess that's who did it. Meh. OK then. What a rough and muddy ride to an boring ending. I feel bad giving it a 2 when it started off so strong, but man, it just went from interesting to plain old boring. I can't in all fairness say that I liked it, when I didn't.

  • Hilary
    2019-01-28 11:47

    4.5I got a tantalizing preview from Netgalley... but I don't feel I can publish a review for an excerpt. What I read is well worth the 4.5 stars though! Can't wait for the complete book. (Tor, please don't make me wait till May!)Updated after I read the complete book: it did not disappoint. This book has a unique, engaging protagonist for a murder mystery set in the Victorian era - but with a twist: Victoria didn't marry Albert, and has set up her own Psychic Service for those special investigations. Alex and her assigned aide Lt. Brooks are forced to use Alex's own past and connections while they discover yet more unusual aspects. Although the identity of the bad guy wasn't a complete surprise (it should never be), the reasons behind it most definitely were.

  • Kara-karina
    2019-01-29 11:01

    Obviously I cannot review or rate this as I was provided with the preview except of the first four chapters, but if they are any indication of what the book is going to be, this will be a phenomenal, lush and dynamic read! I am looking forward to reading the whole story.

  • Victoria
    2019-02-05 15:04

    Imagine Sherlock Holmes but now he's a girl who carries a gun, lives in Baker Street, has the ability to read people's emotions, helps the police with cases and lives in a semi feminist Victorian London. And she is twenty five years old, mature, independent and clever.ISN'T SHE BLOODY MARVELOUS?I also adored the writing, it's really atmospheric, specially in the 'quiet' moments of the story. The mystery aspect didn't fully convinced me but I would totally read more from this world.

  • Andree
    2019-02-06 11:43

    Default three star rating.This isn't terrible, but it isn't spectacular either. I like parts of it, and there are some great details, but I also have issues.1. It's one heck of a case of likeable characters being good, and unlikeable ones being evil. To the extent that I'm wondering how some things remained hidden. There is also not sufficient explanation for the reasons behind some of the characters actions. I accept that some people are really just terrible, but (view spoiler)[Adrina seems ridiculously extreme: ordering her own uncle's murder, pretending to be Alex and answering her father's letters for years, while Alex thought her father forgot about her, there's a level of malice to no purpose there. (hide spoiler)]2. This starts as being a fairly straightforward alternative history, and one where psychics exist. And then about midway through the novel, it takes a sudden veer into supernatural territory. And I'm not entirely sure why. I get that the main character wouldn't know about the existence of such things because they're a state secret, but it felt very random. I also have no objection to supernatural being inserted into a novel like this; I just think it needed to be better done.3. Something about the writing style, or the pacing doesn't work. I was intrigued at the start, but didn't really get into it until more than midway through (I'd been reading it bits at a time).4. I really wish I liked this better, because some of the characters are great. James (my favourite), Inspector Lennon, Sir Richard, Sibyl the Seer, Brook, and Alex herself, are pretty excellent. And I think I like the world. I'm just not entirely sold on the writing style, and some of the character choices, I think.5. Oh wait, I didn't like the set-up. The whole ordering Alex to her relative's house (relatives she doesn't get along with, so it won't be restful to her), after she's just found out about her father's death was not well enough justified. Just, no. There's a whole section that starts about 50 pages in that did not work for me. And then it gets better again past the midway point, once she manages to actually get back to the Service.

  • A Reader's Heaven
    2019-02-15 15:49

    (I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)This was a *SNEAK PEEK* copy - only the first four chapters.On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, after the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up.Turning to some choice allies--the handsome, prescient Lieutenant Brooks, the brilliant, enigmatic Lord Desmond, and her rapscallion cousin James--Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic.This preview does exactly what it should do - got me interested in the story, and now makes me want to read the rest of the book!A wonderful cast of characters, led by Alex, makes this enjoyable story come to life amid the late 19th Century of politics, assassinations, weird family connections and, of course, a touch of magic.Having read Elrod's Vampire Files through the 90's, I was quite aware of the style of writing - and was pleased that she didn't venture too far from that. Her characters are "quirky", her dialogue was tight and razor-sharp at times but the thing that I loved most was her sense of place. At times through the story, I could really feel like 1879 wasn't that long ago!!A great introduction to this book and one I want to finish!PaulARH

  • Hilary
    2019-01-31 13:45

    This book has a unique, engaging protagonist for a murder mystery set in the Victorian era - but with a twist: Victoria didn't marry Albert, and has set up her own Psychic Service for those special investigations. I was fully engaged, with the plot steaming on at full speed... and then I came to the end of the preview. In my eagerness to try P.N. Elrod's new book, I hadn't noticed this was just an excerpt.Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Elspeth
    2019-02-19 17:07

    I got the excerpt from Netgally, and it was really interesting.

  • Gail
    2019-02-12 13:46

    What caught my eye was the title since it indicates a Tarot card. Nothing to do with that. Nevertheless, this steampunk novel with romantic elements is great. It's got a very strongly built reworking of Victorian England. The young queen defies convention and marries a peer of the realm and lives happily married with four children. A strong believer in the rights of women and men, she works to grant the vote to everyone in the realm. The England under this Queen flourishes around the world, as does science and the emerging acceptance of psychic powers. She establishes an agency for psychic ability which assists the police in their investigations as well as combats evil and political machinations, for all is not perfect in this alternative, steampunk England.Alex is a Reader, one of the Bureau investigators assisting the police. She lives quietly and peacefully on Baker Street. Her "gift" is to read the emotions of others, particularly those at the point of death. She is also a keen observer and an indefatigable investigator. She is called out, late at night, to read a hanging, an apparent suicide. It is not but only her keen observations convinces others. And then begins an adventure, a political war, an intrigue of massive upheaval, and the revelation of even stranger supernatural beings. Alex learns things that change her forever. There are revelations about her family, and an intrigue that goes all the way to the palace.Alex is a heroine of bravery, flaws, and is very likable. I devoured this book, sacrificing a good night's sleep to finish it. Looking forward to more in what looks to be a new series.

  • Katharine Kimbriel
    2019-02-04 14:57

    What if Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (the future Queen Victoria) had a wake-up call prior to her crowning—one that caused her to battle for the rights of her citizens? What if British women had the vote in the 1850s, and their own property rights? What if Victoria had insisted on marrying a peer and not a prince?What if this all happened in a world where a Psychic Service was critical, because enemies dark and networked were attacking the roots of the empire?This is the world where The Hanged Man takes place, as we follow Alex Pendlebury (forensic psychic reader, daughter of a peer, and namesake of the queen) deep into a gaslamp adventure featuring dark magic, devious family, and layers of conspiracy.Elrod uses every trick in her arsenal to weave a totally believable tale of magic grounded in Victorian England. We have wonderful characters, intriguing magic talents, and more deception than we can toss a cloak over. Everything has a second—and a third—meaning, and the plot twists are not over until the last paragraph.If steampunk is your cuppa, and you love depth to your characters and story, this one is for you. Both fantasy and mystery, this tale will both give you everything you need to solve the game and also fool you until the end. Pick it up rather sooner than later. You won’t be disappointed.I checked it out of the library, but I'll be buying my own copy--and I'm looking forward to Alex's next adventure!

  • Jessica Strider
    2019-02-16 18:51

    Pros: great protagonist, interesting mystery, subtle romanceCons:Alexandrina Pendelbury is goddaughter of Queen Victoria and a member of Her Majesty’s psychic service. On Christmas eve she’s called in to do a Reading for a suicide, but the emotions surrounding the crime scene are strange, and the identity of the victim propels her into investigating a series of mysteries.In many ways this book reminded me of Jaime Lee Moyer’s book, Delia’s Shadow. Though this one takes place further in the past and in England, rather than San Francisco, there’s a similar feel to the books, with their minimalistic paranormal elements and light romances (The Hanged Man’s being very subtle and unobtrusive).I loved Alex. She’s intelligent, no nonsense, and prefers fight to flight. Her difficult family relationships add a touch of sympathy and edginess to her character. She’s not afraid of breaking the rules if it gets her closer to her end goal and she knows how to compartmentalize tragedy, dealing with it at appropriate times.The mystery was entertaining and had several good twists, including the surprising inclusion of a rare paranormal creature that was a joy to see in a book again.It’s a quick read and the start of a new series that I will definitely be following.

  • Nina
    2019-02-06 11:52

    This book is....a lot of things.My favorite thing? Alex. She's intelligent, knows how to fight, has a hunger to travel the world and explore, is strong-willed and a little bit petty. Any heroine with a sharp tongue and a pistol is going to be a favorite of mine. TBH, all these characters are pretty great. They're well rounded, most of them. Brook feels a little generic, but everyone else has a decent level of depth.The plot kept moving along pretty quickly, with enough plot twists and dramatic reveals to keep me glued. Every time you think you've finally got a grasp on the magical rules and limits of Elrod's England, something new gets thrown in.There was a lot more action than I expected! Which was wonderful. Lots and lots of shooting and fistfights. And Alex doesn't hang back because she's not quite a proper lady and frankly, she can handle herself better than the rest. I'll be over here, waiting patiently for the sequel.

  • Margaret
    2019-02-19 17:00

    Fantastic new novel by P. N. Elrod.Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, named for her godmother, Queen Victoria, works for Her Majesty's Psychic Service. Mostly Alex works with Scotland Yard as a Forensic Reader, but when a close family member is murdered, Alex finds herself confronting terror and treason at every turn.Set in a Victorian England where Victoria married an English peer, not a German prince, and where women got both the vote and equal rights in 1859, "The Hanged Man" is best described as historical urban fantasy with steampunk overtones.The book is a joy to read from start to finish. The characters are well rounded and delightful. I am hoping future books will have more of Alex's cousin James and his doctor friend Hamish, whose first name actually appears to be John... We didn't learn his surname, but I'm pretty much betting it happens to be Watson.A well plotted and fun read.Highly recommended.

  • Denise
    2019-02-08 17:10

    3.5 stars, rounded down because the entire book happens in one day, which would not normally be a problem except that this book was 336 pages of just adventure and nothing else. It would have been better had the author given the characters (and by extension the readers) some time to breathe and reflect. Instead, it was chapter after chapter of adventure, and there was too much 'showing' and not enough 'telling' in my opinion. I know a lot of readers often complain that authors 'tell' too much, but in this case I felt like it was the opposite. The author gave just a tiny bit of info, but not the full story, leaving me unsatisfied, not in the hunger-for-more kind of way, but in the what-the-hell-this-is-incomplete kind of way. A lot of things were left a mystery, not important things, just tiny little details here and there. Of course these might be explained in the second book, but this book was published in 2015 and up til now there is still no sign of a sequel. In addition, this book already cleared all the big mysteries. The murderer was found, the person behind the murder was found, the big evil organisation behind the murder was found, everybody was arrested, all's good in the world... I think it would probably have been better if the author just spent some time fleshing out the minor (but no less important) links, spread the book over a week so that the characters have some room to breathe, and finished the book as a stand-alone. (Merely my personal opinion of course.)To be fair, this book was pretty solid. The world-building was solid, the writing is beyond critic, the characters were likable, but there was just something missing, which was why I didn't round it up to 4 stars. Maybe it was the main character, who was emotionally distant, and had to be so because of her psychical abilities, but because of that I wasn't emotionally invested in her character and her story, and I'd always personally preferred engaging characters over an engaging plot.

  • Linh
    2019-02-03 11:46

    A terrific book. It was intriguing, exciting, and mysterious the entire ride. I loved it.

  • Dani - Perspective of a Writer
    2019-01-27 14:02

    In The Hanged Man we meet Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, or Alex for short, a forensic psychic reader, as her past catches up to her. She can read heightened emotions lingering in a room, on people and objects. This case catapults her into a shadowy plot that she is determined to uncover even as she becomes a target herself.The writing was very dense to me right from the get go. I don't like dense because even if you like a premise and are enjoying events for the most part it can still cause a story to draaaaggg. This was the case for The Hanged Man for me. It really became a problem for me when I noticed that pages of description were being taken to walk from the front door of a home to a room in the interior with nothing new being imparted. That's when I really realized why it was taking me soooo long to read this book. The writer is obviously experienced, her action scenes are fun, forward moving and take into account all of the characters. Whenever we hit a moment in between an "action"scene is when the story drags. Too much description of what I already know and not enough of the stuff I'm intrigued about makes for a dull story. If you can overcome the writing or if you enjoy such dense writing there are unfortunately still problems.The plotting of the story is superior to the more run of the mill stories. Like I said, an obviously experienced writer, but this doesn't help some of the logic issues and lack of character continuity, especially in Alex. Alex is her own worst nightmare! She caused many of her problems (or her author did in creating her backstory) that I failed to feel any sympathy for the determined feminist. This is one of those characters that insist on being so equal and so capable that she fails to take into account that she has a nose on her face! Her gift is such that she need not agonize over Lt. Brooks - she need only feel and she can quickly put aside her feelings or allow them to bloom depending on what she learned about his feelings. She is not sufficiently mature enough to do so. And that is her problem throughout the book. She simply needed to NOT act like a child around her cousin Drina to "read" the situation yet in 10 or so years she NEVER did so! What?! And you want to be taken seriously? She has walls and barriers and such, you say! Well what does it matter she can read people if she doesn't use it? And why agonize over Brooks like a freaking schoolgirl if she can't read people to such extent?! The two contradict each other. Please, get your ability straight before you share it in a first person narrative!!Her back history bothered me from the beginning and it became a glaringly big hole the more I learned. I thought there was a twist that her father was hiding because why else hadn't he insisted on contact with her? And 10 years is a great amount of time to not see a daughter you adore, letter or no! And if Alex is such a feminist go-getter then why the hell hadn't she tracked down dear old dad and confronted his neglectful butt?! She didn't even bother to confront her uncle about it! The sum total of her "break" with her family was she hated her cousin and disagreed with her aunts priorities. Contrived! I was all set to okay this book - the plot was good, the world was decent and I didn't hate Alex and I loved Brooks and James, but then the last "twist" of the book happened. And I PLAIN DON'T BELIEVE IT! So many other actions would have been taken BEFORE Drina went that far. 10 years of letters is no mean history with a person. The reveals about the plot, and the villains were obvious to me. I didn't expect one of the villains (he really was the only successful twist of an entire story filled with twists) and really enjoyed that aspect of the end. The murderer of her father felt very anti-climatic. I hate when I think: "that's it!?! no, no, I must have missed something..." Only to find out no I hadn't missed anything. Having an affinity for murder mysteries the whodoneit part of the story was simplified, the clues of the most basic kind. Not bad, but not inspired either. I really liked the balance the author made between Alex, Brooks and James. Brooks wasn't just a stand in during the actual mystery and I really enjoyed that. If only he worked so well as a love interest, though it might progress better in the following books. James too had his part to play, as a family member from her mother's crazy side and the only one who supports her choices.The world isn't bad. The alternate Victorian Era world is spot on. You feel the era, the changes to the history are fun. The urban fantasy elements were humorous to me at first but they mostly work if a little bit overwrought. The psychic service helping solve murders element was a great idea. I liked the glimpses of the seers and precogs we got as well as Alex's reading ability (all over the map that it is). It had a steampunk feel to it with the machinery and weapons. Mostly it worked.BOTTOM LINE: Great ideas not developed with dense writing.

  • Hannah
    2019-01-28 16:10

    GIVE ME MORE.I wish I could just end the review like this because writing reviews for good books is awfully difficult, but a book as good as The Hanged Man deserves the full treatment. This book is what I've been craving for a long time - it's a gaslight fantasy/mystery done right. The Hanged Man is set in a clever alternative twist on the Victorian era, where an enlightened Queen Victoria married a Lord Arthur instead of Albert and had herself championed the passing of the bill that gave women the power to vote. P. N. Elrod has an deft hand at the Victorian period turns of phrase and other aspects of the times; I'm not exaggerating when I admit that after reading the first page, I instantly messaged a friend exclaiming how pleased I was at finally finding another gaslight fantasy with language that flowed so easily and sounded so natural. It's not perfect - I question the frequent use of first names with the peerage, such as "Lord Daniel" and "Lady Lindsey" instead of "Lord and Lady Hollifield" as it should have been - but I can happily overlook these minor flaws. Plot-wise, we have a delicately-woven mixture of mystery and paranormal elements - Lady Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury is employed as a Reader (one who reads emotion, both directly through physical contact and traces left behind) by Her Majesty's Psychic Service, a branch of investigators as shrouded in mystery as some of the grisly cases they handle in partnership with the police. At the outset, the premise reminded me somewhat of Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris' The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, but rather than a ministry dealing with peculiar cases, this story gives us an agency whose staff possess peculiar talents and powers and use them in their investigations on the relatively mundane. (Or mundane until this case, at least.) I was initially uncertain whether I liked the paranormal spin, but so far it seems to blend in quite well in the established context. I say "seems," because we've only touched the tip of the iceberg of what mysteries lie both within the Service and outside of it in The Hanged Man; I assume we'll see more of that in succeeding books. The mystery was intriguing; what initially appeared to be a case of murder turned out to be far more complex (and with far wider national implications) than the demise of one "hanged man." I liked that the author never shied away from the horror of the crimes - not so much the circumstances of the killing(s), but rather the effect it had on the people left behind. Not only was there a lot of "oomph," but it made me immediately sympathetic with Alex, who was confronted in the worst manner possible by one such (view spoiler)[personal (hide spoiler)] tragedy. What made the mystery all the more clever was that the villainy was complex and multi-layered. We weren't limited to the stereotypical cackling Big Bad; (view spoiler)[more realistically, there were multiple people involved, all having contributed to varying extents to the terrible crimes that took place (hide spoiler)]. Sometimes the most horrifying crimes are committed for the pettiest of reasons and this is shown to great effect here.Alex Pendlebury is an engaging heroine, one more given to calm reserve, logic and iron-will than flights of emotion - a fact for which I am grateful. Not that she's without emotion, but as a Reader and a professional, she's able to exercise self-control and use her judgment before she acts. Not that she doesn't make her fair share of mistakes and she isn't above some snippy exchanges with her awful cousin Andrina, but it only makes her more real. I liked Lieutenant Brook as well, though I'd like to know him better. The (light, light) romance that is gradually introduced over the course of the story is the very definition of slow-burn (Alex is a very busy young woman, after all) and remains a sub-subplot at this stage, but I loved it. It's sweet, subtle and very promising; I can't wait for the next book to find out more.At least, I hope there will be more? Please tell me there'll be more! I'm usually the first to complain that the "standalone novel" has gone the way of the dodo with the recent fixation on series and trilogies, but this case is an exception.

  • M.L.
    2019-02-11 17:04

    Rating: 3 1/2 stars. I was provided a preview excerpt by Netgalley.3 1/2 starsI was expecting a historical mystery but got paranormal instead. So for those fans of paranormal mysteries - and they are legion - this might just be for you. Alternate history is presented here to make the premise of government psychic investigators during Queen Victoria's time period logical. This was a great time period to explore and the characters were likeable and engaging. The plot was intriguing, as well.Normally I'd give this a four star rating but there was something annoying that happened a few times. When a witticism or subtle humor or sarcasm is presented to an audience it is essential that the audience knows the basis for the humor. If it's a pun it only works if people are familiar with the turn of phrase being parodied - for lack of a better word. A familiarity with the society or customs is essential for some humor, which is why non-native speakers seldom get jokes based on the oddities of the English language. Or, in other words, if a comedian's going to tell a joke, he needs to set it up. An example: when the reader meets the heroine's cousin, a doctor, she's just brought him a wounded man to heal He greets her with: "Thoughtful of you. Half a minute - I recall you don't like me." Then, "I have a houseful of doctors, you might like one of them." As you read on you understand there is a rift in the family relationship but at the time you're struggling to understand why the cousin makes that statement. This happens quite often as the writer indulges in a lot of badinage between characters. Without a background, sometimes the reader is left in a quandary, struggling to catch the implications and made to feel stupid. Now as the writer is caught up in a story this is where it behooves her/him to have a beta reader unfamiliar with the series, genre, time period, or plot. The beta can point out areas that need some prior hints to ground the reader in what's coming up. This may seem a small complaint but since I read only the excerpt provided, and that situation came up a few times, I conclude that it will come up more before the book ends. And when the reader isn't in on a joke or reference and may feel stupid, it's not good.Another reason for my hesitation in giving a higher rating lies in the fact that it was just an excerpt. The suspension of disbelief, I.e. giving the benefit of the doubt that there was a good reason for the father of the heroine to abandon her when she was 10 years old really needs to be rewarded in the end with a really good explanation. That's kind of iffy and without knowing how it's successfully concluded I couldn't speak to the resolution of a major plot point.Nevertheless, the book had a lot going for it I like the cadence of speech the writer achieves in the dialogue as well as the aforementioned enjoyable features of this excerpt.

  • Katie Sholty
    2019-02-04 15:52

    Reasons that it is a must read:Queen Victoria marries a commoner, forever altering The British Empire. *i really wished this happened.*The key players; Alex, Brooks, James, Sybil, Teddy, and Sir Richard are larger than life. Each use their set of unique abilities to foil their enemy's agendas whether on purpose or accidental, that will keep you laughing and intrigued. Brooks is new to the Psychic Service, and as such you learn along with Brooks what is required of an employee of the Service. The details of job are neither boring or explained in an over complicated manner. Please, hire me. The family dynamics of Alex's less than normal relatives makes you feel that maybe, just maybe my family isn't that bad James and Sir Richard are very similar, in their actions. They talk in circles and their actions are bizarre in nature, but the results are outstanding and quite frankly astonishing. The supernatural is always lurking in the background like any good Victorian novel, and The Hanged Man will keep guessing at the close of every chapter. The inner workings of a Reader, is aptly described as wearing armor. The armor blocks the feelings and thoughts of the thousands of people Alex passes everyday. To Read, she must slowly peel the armor away, in order to get to the heart of liars and murderers. The book takes place over the span of Christmas, and we watch as Alex becomes a bit of a mentor to Brook. The relationship between them evolves rather quickly from coworkers to friends, through a series of misadventures and Alex's need to allow the escape of a suspect. Sybil is a wonderful edition to the cast of characters. She is an outcast treated better than most in her condition during that time period. Most write her off, as an oracle, but She is fierce and all action. I would love a short story in her perspective. Teddy is that cousin we tell our friends was adopted when found out in the dumpster being guarded by a family of raccoons. (Heed this warning: the guy would make an excellent con artist.)