The Hanging Tree

Doctors of Darkness, Book #2

By Ellery A. Kane

ISBN# 9780692053591

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

She saw him strangling her best friend, Cassie.  She was up in the tree witnessing the whole ordeal taking place below, and then nothing…   She woke up the next morning, battered and bruised, on a bus to L.A. having completely forgotten what happened.

It’s been 23 years and Evie still can’t remember what happened that night.  It was as if Cassie completely disappeared.  She knows the man killed her that night under the hanging tree, but there was never a murder investigation and she never saw Cassie again.  She can’t see the man’s face in her memories.  She has been trying all this time to find a way to remember that night, but has failed so far.

Evie is a therapist now, working with sexual predators.  Her beloved husband, Jared, has passed away, just one more victim of the curse of Evil Evie.  She is convinced to regain her memories of that horrible night, she must be in the same state of mind: terrified!  So, she hitchhikes along the same path she and Cassie did that night.  The night they were picked up by the faceless man.  And, finally someone just as evil picks Evie up and she’s nearly raped.  She was saved by her childhood crush fresh out of jail who happened to be nearby when her attacker made his move.

Now another young girl has been found murdered at the hanging tree.  Could it be the same man that killed Cassie?  Or could it be the new member of her therapy group?  Or could it be the only boy she trusted from her childhood, Butch?  One thing is for certain.  Evie is going to find out even if it kills her!

This was another enjoyable read in the Doctors of Darkness series by Ellery Kane.  I found the beginning to be a little confusing, but I think it was meant to be.  Then, the author untangles the story a little bit at a time like the knotted roots of that gnarly hanging tree.  I really started liking the story when Butch was introduced.  I couldn’t help, but feel for him.  As a teenager he was thrust into an impossible situation losing his family all at once and being on his own with more money than he knew what to do with and full of hormones and foolish teenage desires.  All of which led him to do something he could never undo.  He killed a girl.  He served his time and now he’s out.  But could the prison shrinks be right?  Could he kill again?

Kane weaved a wonderful creepy tale for us all to enjoy.  She was especially detailed with the man (if you can call him that) that tormented Evie throughout her childhood, Trey.  She had described him so well that I felt his foul breath on my face and could almost touch his stringy greasy hair.

My heart broke for the women that Trey damaged.  From Evie’s mom and especially Cassie and all of those that followed, like Violet, who never stood a chance.

I enjoyed Butch’s point of view.  I liked seeing the struggles he was having through his eyes on how to adjust to life on the outside after spending so long in prison.  And, how he didn’t even know if he could trust himself.  It was an interesting insight and is probably more real than most would suspect.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Daddy Darkest, but I think I may have enjoyed this one even more!  It was brutal, twisted, and shines a glaring light on some of the darker sides of society.  The parts we like to pretend aren’t happening all around us from the spoiled rich kids getting away with everything to the forgotten castoffs that are living in their own hell.

I thought for sure the story was heading to certain events happening at the end of the story, but I was wrong and I enjoyed being wrong.  Granted these particular events were rather minor in the grand scheme of things, but I liked that the story kept you guessing and wasn’t predictable.  It doesn’t detail life after the murders were solved, but I’m sure you can imagine your own happily ever after.

Another brilliant book from Kane and I can’t wait for more!

You could imagine this book’s soundtrack with all the music mentioned.

“Whatcha listenin’ to?”

“Oh, you probably wouldn’t like it.”

“Try me.”

He shrugs as he passes the headphones across the slim space between our beds. This is gonna be good. I’ve got him pegged for a Yanni diehard, and I smirk a little as the music starts. One of my cellies had a thing for electronic rock, so I recognize the song right away. With the heavy breathing at the start, it’s unforgettable and creepy as hell. Seriously. Like stalker-level shit.

I want you now, tomorrow won’t do. There’s a yearning inside and it’s showing through.

“Depeche Mode, huh? Cool, man. Wouldn’t have figured it.”

Reach out your hands and accept my love. We’ve waited for too long. Enough is enough. Like I said, stalker-level.

His laugh is jittery, quick as the cockroaches in Folsom. “It’s my favorite song. Reminds me of being seventeen again. You know, when sex was all you could think about.”

I pretend I’m not totally skeeved out when I return his headphones and shut the lights.”

This soundtrack would have a little Depeche Mode (and I agree with Butch about that song being creepy af) and a whole lot of Kiss!  Seriously just turn on a Kiss greatest hits album and you’ve made the soundtrack since they were Butch’s favorite band and it was always blaring through his ‘Cuda!

However, I would have to add a few more.  Cocaine Blues and Folsom Prison Blues from Johnny Cash … From the first mention of Butch’s time in Folsom prison I kept imaging that scene in Walk the Line when Johnny Cash went to perform at Folsom and commenting on their yellow water!

*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*