I’ve been reading the Hanging Tree by Misha Herwin, the latest in the Adventures of Letty Parker series set in Bristol, where ‘Dark Ones’ hide in shadows, dragons spread gossip and pockets can be picked faster than an Olympic gold medal winning runner.
Here’s my review:
How do you write a review about a book you’ve loved and just finished reading without giving away too much, so I’ll promise no spoilers. Having just finished reading the fourth book in the Letty Parker series I’m already hoping for a fifth. My concern for authors who write a series is that they’ll run out of steam and the next installment will be a pale imitation of the one before – not here thankfully. The Hanging Tree is a vibrant tale, full of twists and turns and an excellent follow on from Island of Fear, so much so the narrative skips back to the previous adventure at times and it makes for a richer tale.
Jebediah Hill is a perfect literary hero, he has an unwritten charisma that makes me think of him as a young Keanu Reeves, good looks but coupled with polite attitude. Jebediah could find trouble in an empty cardboard box, or rather, does it seek him out as it does in the Hanging tree. Due to his predicament it’s down to Letty, Mango, Hephzibah and a cast of great authorial imaginings to solve the puzzle.
Letty is a tomboy, there’s no doubt about it, but she’s every inch a girl rather than a defiant, pseudo-boy character. She’s demure when the need arises and hard as a tack when trouble comes her way. She’s confident yet self-denigrating and often must stop herself from getting an attack of ‘the glooms.’ She’s had a hard life and we’re told this in the storyline, but she doesn’t let it hold her back. Whether she’s fighting injustice or eels Letty is a character full of verve and tenacity. A perfect heroine for the modern age in a book that doesn’t need to feature a phone, an app or a broadband connection.
The text has a danger of taking you headlong into the story and stealing your time as it’s definitely an un-put-down-able-book. Crafted with great care and attention the narrative flows with expected peaks and troughs but without any breaks in the tale. There’s no filler in Herwin’s work, each word is considered and used to its greatest effect. She has an innate understanding of what her target audience (8 -12 years) want, and she delivers just that.
Finally, I have to say, Misha Herwin has the knack of inventing names that match her characters perfectly. The Hanging Tree was a joy to read, and I’d urge anyone to visit the earlier books too.