A Penny for the Hangman

     Author: Tom Savage

     Publisher: Random House

     Rating: 5 stars

     Buy Links: Random House                                       Amazon

     Type: Standalone

     Received from Publisher


Blurb: In Tom Savage’s chilling novel of suspense, an ambitious reporter is beckoned to an island paradise for the story of a lifetime. But this scoop might just be the death of her.

Fifty years ago, on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, two teenagers born to privilege were convicted of slaughtering their parents in cold blood. Today the men are free and a Hollywood movie has been made about the murders. For Karen Tyler, an eager New York journalist, the case is irresistible. She has been invited to the Virgin Islands for an interview that’s too good to pass up . . . and sounds too good to be true.

Karen packs her bikini and her digital recorder and follows an ingeniously designed trail that leads her to a wealthy, mysterious figure. The man claims to be one of the notorious boys, but Karen soon learns that all is not as it seems. On this isolated utopia of sun and surf, a young reporter far from home fights for the truth—and for her life. Because the shocking secret behind the infamous atrocities has remained hidden all these years. And the killing isn’t over yet.


Review: I loved this book!  I really don’t think there’s anything  more important to tell you than that.  This is my first book by Tom Savage, so I have no idea if every other book he has written is this compelling, entertaining and nerve wracking!  The tension toward the end of this story is so intense that I had to close the book and walk away…..for about a minute!  That was all I could stand before I had to go back.

I liked Karen Tyler from the very beginning.  She’s smart, educated and ambitious.  She’s a staff reporter for Visions, a weekly entertainment magazine that features stories on books, movies and stage performances.  When the story begins, Karen is working on a story that could be the highlight of her career, a story about murders that occurred 50 years earlier on the island of St. Thomas.  As the anniversary of those well known murders approaches, a new movie about the old case is near release, the first part of Karen’s article  about the case has just been published and she is invited to visit St. Thomas by who, she hopes, is one of the killers from so long ago.  She is pumped up for the interview of a lifetime!

She is dropped at the airport by her boyfriend, Jim O’Brien.  Jim is an author and the son a world famous novelist.  He and Karen are happy, contemplating marriage and enjoying their lives in NYC.  When Jim watched her walk away, eagerly anticipating her adventure on St. Thomas, he had no idea what she was walking into.

This is Karen’s story, but it is Jim’s tale to tell.  Through a series of old journals, letters and police reports, we are led through events of the past and the present.  We slowly learn more about the teenage boys who committed a horrible murder so many years ago while simultaneously, through multiple povs, experience events in the present.  We have no idea throughout the story why Jim is telling this story.  What happened to Karen?  What?  I was almost desperate to know!  Did I mention multiple povs?  We hear from everyone remotely connected to this mystery.  We hear from the store clerk in Taos, New Mexico and the taxi driver on St. Thomas.  We hear, through journals, about Karen’s early life and the “watcher” she has been aware of since she was very young.  I love that!  I love seeing every angle of a story.  But what the hell happened to Karen?  That’s the question that drives this story and nearly drove me to distraction.

I can’t ignore another important character in this story.  St. Thomas.  I know absolutely nothing about that island except what is written in this book, but…..I. Want. To. Go!  Bucket List!

This author, Tom Savage, wove a complicated story in a way that made me feel that I was there, with Jim, as every new and horrifying detail is revealed.  It was captivating!  If you love a good mystery with a side of suspense, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Tom Savage has a brand new fangirl.  I am going to search out all of his previous books and just eat them up!

And I want to go to St. Thomas!  Oh.  I already mentioned that.

One thought on “A Penny for the Hangman”

  1. LOL! Now you’ve made ME wonder what happened to her and why she isn’t telling the story! ACK! I guess I’ll have to read it too 🙂

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