Book Review: The Hanging Women by John Mead #Blogtour

Blogtour – Monday 11th June

The Hanging Women
Hi all.

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to this fantastic, mystery-filled novel. It is both dramatic and haunting but such a great read.

Welcome to my stop on the fantastic Blog Tour for The Hanging Women!

I would like to thank the wonderful blogtour host, Rachels Random Resources and the Author, John Mead for inviting me to take part! This book was such an enjoyable read and I am so glad that I didn’t miss out.

Rachels Random Resources –
John Mead –


This was a book that was thrilling to read from the very first page! This book drew me in and held on tight, not wanting to let me go until I had digested every single page!

About the Author


John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

His inspiration for his debut novel came whilst attending a lecture in Denver about the history of the American midwest, describing a time and place that was very different from that espoused by popular culture, which started him thinking this would make a excellent period in which to set a crime story.

His book describes how Chicago was a prototype of much that we consider both good and bad in the current age, it had a vibrancy and decadence that allowed a few enterprising individuals to prosper whilst violence and intolerance held back many others. The situation for some African Americans and women was improving but it was still a time when to be anything other than white and male made you a second class citizen. The city was the manufacturing and transport hub of America, the vast influx of immigrants swelling its already booming population brought great wealth but also corruption and criminality. The midwest and Chicago typified a way of life, the ‘gun culture’ which is a euphemism for individualism, from which much of modern American social values have grown.

John is currently working on a trilogy of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city: a Whitechapel noir.

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About the book


A historical crime thriller set in 1886 Chicago; the power house of America, a sink of corruption and vice which is haunted by riots and gangland killings. A story of weak men and strong women.

Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.

As a result of Jack `stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremist factions of the workers movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret `nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.

With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.

My Review

The summary of this book paired with the mysterious, yet beautiful front cover had me interested instantly. I was intrigued with the sound of this story and was not disappointed when I started to read it. 

Although hard and gritty to read at times, this book was both dramatic and exciting in the way that it was written. I believed in the characters, even if I didn’t like all of them to begin with. 

On meeting Jack, I was put off by his selfish, drunkard, angry personality. I hated how he treated his wife and disliked how he spoke to people, but as I read deeper into the story I realised that the many faults he had made Jack a likeable guy. He was tough and took no ‘bull@#@# from anyone. He said what he thought and did whatever the hell he wanted to; but that man knew how to get information when he needed it. The lack of fear helped to push him deeper and deeper into the gritty underground, surrounded by mafia fiends who only tolerated the ex-cop because they respected him. The story was difficult to read at times, but topics such as the criminal underground and the violence that was instilled on people wasn’t going to make for comfortable reading, but this helped to create a really believable story. I loved that it was set in the late 1800’s and lapped up the historical feel of the book. There were a host of twists in this story and it literally kept me guessing up until the final page! It was such a good read!

The author, John Mead has a wonderful way of writing, drawing the reader in ever deeper with his imaginative descriptions and believable dialogue. 

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who loves a good crime thriller; especially if you like something set in a past era!


This was a very good read! I loved it from the very first page; to say that I had deglected my children would be a long shot, but there were times when I disappeared to have a cheeky read whilst they were playing with their trains etc. This book was difficult to put down and I was not left disappointed with the conclusion.

Rating – 5 out of 5 

If you liked this review and would like to find out more about this book and other peoples views, then check out the other bloggers below. 

Thanks for reading all.

S x

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hanging Women by John Mead #Blogtour

Add yours

  1. Wow this sounds like it will be an intriguing read. I’m not in the mood for anything too gritty at the moment but I’m going to come back to read this book soon.


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