The Hanging Psalm
By: Chris Nickson
Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: January 01, 2019
The Hanging Psalm is a historical suspense-mystery novel set in Leeds in the early 1800s. The main character, Simon Westow, is a thief-taker, a man who recovers stolen property. Simon is hired by a wealthy businessman to secure the return of his kidnapped daughter. Simon, with the help of his young, streetwise assistant, Jane, seek out the young lady. The case grows into far more than a simple kidnapping though, and Simon finds himself embroiled in his toughest assignment yet. Simon and Jane must be careful because there is danger lurking around the far too many dark corners of Leeds.
This is the first book I’ve read by Chris Nickson, and I’m very impressed. The novel was exciting from start to finish. It was a hard book to put down because I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. Each chapter brought exhilarating plot developments. The book also made me think about what defines something as right and wrong. I’m hooked, and I plan on reading any future titles in this series. His other books sound equally as intriguing and I plan to read them as well.
The author did a great job describing both the tangible and intangible facets of 1820’s Leeds. It wasn’t hard to imagine the dark and gritty town that Simon and Jane are dodging in and out of. The characters are very complex and gripping. Simon had a hard life growing up in a workhouse from a young age. There he was mistreated, overworked, and underfed. Simon had to be strong to make it through those kinds of conditions. That toughness that he acquires carried through to his adult life and it is useful as his job as a thief-taker. Yet, that toughness does not define his whole person. He is a loving family man and is driven by the differences between right and wrong. Jane seems impenetrable. She is both street-smart and street-tough. As tough as she is on the bad guys, she is even tougher on herself. She holds both her secrets and her past close to her chest, and doesn’t let other get close to her.
Thanks to Net Galley and Severn House Publishers for an ARC of this book. #NetGalley #TheHangingPsalm