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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mo's Standalone is a goodie
In what I assume is the third 'stand-alone' novel from Mo Hayder (after the outstanding Tokyo and opinion-dividing Pig Island), Hanging Hill is set in the author's current-day homeland in and around Bath and is based on two long-estranged sisters Sally and ZoŽ Benedict who by something of a credibility-stretching coincidence are brought together by a combination of the...
Published on 2 May 2011 by OEJ & SKY

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An average thriller.
Sally and Zoe Benedict are two estranged sisters, living in Bath. Sally, recently divorced, is working for a cleaning company, while Zoe is a detective. Their paths come together, as one of Sally's daughter's friends is murdered, and Zoe is investigating the crime.

This book is not as hard hitting as some of this author's other works. There are also a lot of...
Published on 7 Sep 2011 by J.Flood


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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mo's Standalone is a goodie, 2 May 2011
By 
OEJ & SKY - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Hanging Hill (Hardcover)
In what I assume is the third 'stand-alone' novel from Mo Hayder (after the outstanding Tokyo and opinion-dividing Pig Island), Hanging Hill is set in the author's current-day homeland in and around Bath and is based on two long-estranged sisters Sally and ZoŽ Benedict who by something of a credibility-stretching coincidence are brought together by a combination of the murder of a teenage girl and the seemingly unrelated disappearance of a wealthy but sleazy businessman. ZoŽ is a headstrong police detective with a shadowy past, Sally a very different easy-going single-mum struggling to make ends meet. The thread to the story begins with the brutal murder of sixteen-year-old Lorne Wood, a former schoolfriend of Sally's daughter Millie - and ZoŽ is brought in to investigate. Meanwhile Sally gets an opportunity to boost her income by working part-time in the mansion of a man who has made his fortune in the world of pornography but who may or may not be targeted by a London-based man suspected of trafficking girls from Kosovo.

Although most of the fundamental components of a good story are carried off with professional aplomb - prose, character-building and the creation of suspense and tension - it never quite gelled until the final quarter when it became quite gripping. One of my main concerns had been that while ZoŽ is a police detective she rarely seemed to act like one and in fact very nearly all of her activities within this tale are independent and outside of the murder investigation; it felt as if being a cop was almost an incidental part of her make-up even if as a character she was more than interesting. One of the more intriguing elements to her persona was the habit of self-harming, and the author should be commended for not flinching in her willingness or ability to describe it quite intimately. There is another scene that is also narrated with almost disturbing intimacy, I won't mention it for fear of spoiling things but it was a welcome return to the style of writing that made Mo Hayder a success from day one. I can't help but wonder if in a future story ZoŽ could meet up with Mo's well-known Bristol-based detective Jack Caffery, another tortured soul if ever there was one.

It's interesting to read Mo Hayder's comments on her own forum and how she withdrew from regular online interaction with her readers following her first two novels Birdman and The Treatment because she "had months of online abuse which very nearly stopped me writing altogether. I can't lie - writers aren't superhuman and we do get hurt by criticism. Hence my decision not to read anything online which is why my contributions to this site and to Facebook are so painful and limited." It makes me wonder if the very visible 'toning-down' of her storylines later on, making them less controversial and provocative, is a consequence of this. I continue to regard Mo as a very good writer of crime fiction tales, she's still one of the best, but I do wish she would shake off those self-imposed restraints in the way she did some ten years ago, when she wrote cutting-edge narratives with hardly a care for what reaction they might cause. These days she's a better all-round writer but the self-censorship is still apparent. Hanging Hill is a good story and I'm glad I pre-ordered it in hardback. It hasn't put me off doing the same thing again this time next year, but I keep hoping she'll dare to write in the dark, ruthless way that she did when she first came onto the scene.

Thanks to Roman Clodia for saying "Excellent review! Thanks for giving a feel for the book without giving away the plot - I haven't read this yet but am looking forward to it" and to Rosie Reader for saying "An excellent review and i couldnt agree more with every word - thank you"
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as dark and intense as some of Mo's earlier works, 9 Mar 2012
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Hardcover)
Karen: www(.)bigbooklittlebook(.)blogspot(.)com

Oh how I love Mo Hayder. She's one of those authors where if I see that she's released a new book, I'll instantly purchase / borrow the book without even bothering to read the synopsis as I just know I'll enjoy it!

For those of you who have not yet found Mo's literary charms but like crime thrillers then a word of warning. Mo's stories are pretty dark and disturbing and she is one of the few writers that actually made me so scared when reading her earlier works, 'The Birdman' and, 'The Treatment' I actually debated whether to skip a few pages as I was struggling to cope with the intensity of the action and the grim realisation that Mo has absolutely no qualms about favoured characters or vulnerable innocents suffering unspeakable horrors.

It was then, a few chapters into reading 'Hanging Hill', that I got that sense of foreboding that I was once again being invited into a very dark world. This time it involves adolescent young girls who are usually forced into the sex industry and get involved with some very nasty characters indeed who operate both in the UK and abroad.

The story focuses on two estranged sisters in their 30's. ZoŽ, is the beautiful police officer with Amazonian attributes. She's a fighter but emotionally stunted and self abusive when she needs to regain control. Sally is the stereotypical well to do housewife who has become overly reliant on her husband, that is, until he leaves her and starts a new family. She then has to learn the hard way that her carefree ways don't necessarily serve her well when she has a teenage daughter to look after and ever increasing bills and repairs to pay.

Separately, these women become involved in the tangled web that occurs after a local schoolgirl is brutally and sadistically murdered. They each have to make dangerous decisions and work together to try and keep themselves and those that they love, safe from harm.

Verdict: Probably not as dark and intense as some of Mo's earlier works but still a very intriguing (I shouldn't say enjoyable should I....?) read and I was very pleased with the final, 'plot twist finale' even if I will be forever wondering, 'What happened next?!'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An average thriller., 7 Sep 2011
By 
J.Flood (Dublin,Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Hardcover)
Sally and Zoe Benedict are two estranged sisters, living in Bath. Sally, recently divorced, is working for a cleaning company, while Zoe is a detective. Their paths come together, as one of Sally's daughter's friends is murdered, and Zoe is investigating the crime.

This book is not as hard hitting as some of this author's other works. There are also a lot of coincidences in the plot, which I found annoying. Having said that, overall, the story is not too bad, and it kept me interested, but it is not the best novel by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) Dark and gripping, though sometimes unconvincing, 21 July 2011
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Hardcover)
This has quite a few of Hayder's trademarks: a dark, sometimes scary narrative - yet at times it goes too far and becomes completely unconvincing. I don't want to give away spoilers but Millie's `problem' and Sally's `predicament' were just not believable for me. The attempt, too, to turn Zoe into a female version of dark Jack Caffery didn't really work, and her `off-road' behaviour was unconvincing.

That said, if you can put your disbelief on hold, there is a gripping narrative here - and I loved the ending. Hayder's ability, too, to delineate character through speech works particularly well.

So I'm mixed in my response: in lots of ways Hayder doesn't quite manage to pull this off, and yet deserves the credit for refusing to just settle into the usual clichés of the genre. She's more interesting and less predictable than many thriller writers out there - but this is not the best that she can do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really disappointing, 22 Nov 2013
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Paperback)
I found this book really hard work to read. The characters seemed one dimensional and none of them worth liking. Such a shame as I've enjoyed previous Mo Hayder books. Will be a while until my next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hanging hill, 27 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Hanging Hill (Hardcover)
Although I enjoyed this book to some extent, it lacks the oomph that Mo's previous books have had. All in all I was disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a rule breaker, but perhaps not in a good way?, 26 April 2014
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed reading the majority of this book and I appreciate Mo Hayder's writing. I think she produces really gripping thrillers. However, I don't enjoy too much violence in my mysteries and if I do have to put up with some gore then I want to be rewarded by an ending which ties everything up and sees that justice has been done. Teasers are fine, but I don't relish being left with the feeling that it's all been for nothing. I think this is one of the unwritten rules of detective fiction. I don't want to give anything away, but Hayder breaks that rule in Hanging Hill and, sadly, it left me cold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 4 Jun 2013
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Kindle Edition)
This was the first book I had read by Mo Hayder and unfortunately it will definitely be my last. An unbelievable plot with far too many coincidences in it, at times the plot appeared to be flawed and the characters behaved in a highly unlikely manner. Don't waste your time / money on this book - there's so many more out there that are better!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, 4 May 2012
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This review is from: Hanging Hill (Paperback)
Almost hard to believe Mo Hayder had anything to do with this book. Dreary and dull, with terrible characters and bland dialogue. All the brilliant things about Mo Hayder are missing from this book. Sad really.

If you haven`t read any of her previous novels, you would be highly recommended not to start with this one.

Best thrown in the trash.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great., 9 Sep 2012
This review is from: Hanging Hill (Kindle Edition)
This is a good read but i felt that it does not live up to her other books such as Skin, Gone, The devil of Nanking. The story was too obvious, i could feel what was going to happen before it happened, never the less the book is interesting in the way the characters develop throughout the story. If this is your first read by Mo Hayder i don't recommend this one.

Good but not great.
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Hanging Hill
Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder (Paperback - 29 Mar 2012)
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