Cover of The Hangman's Song by James Oswald

The Hangman’s Song by James Oswald

31st January 2023.

It’s difficult to know where to start as there’s so much going on in this third book in the Inspector McLean series. While it works as a standalone, there are references to the previous book, which make it easier to appreciate what happens in this.

There’s McLean’s transfer to the Sexual Crimes Unit, where he has to deal with prostitution and human trafficking, alongside conflict with other members of the team. There’s his old unit, which is faced with a number of suicides that are suspiciously identical, despite no evidence of murder.

Then there are a number of personal problems facing McLean, leading to restless nights, sleep deprivation and some unusual, seemingly paranormal happenings that challenge his belief system.

It all adds up to a convoluted, multi-threaded story which never quite goes in the direction you’re expecting, which is always a welcome bonus, in my opinion. The characters and relationships are well-developed, adding to the intensity and realism of the story. It all weaves its way to a satisfying, somewhat shocking climax that leaves plenty of questions in its wake.

It’s a meaty book that’s not the easiest story to read, thanks to the multiple strands, but it’s different, fascinating, original, and well-written, meaning it’s more than enough to keep me hooked to the series.


A young man is found hanging by a rope in his Edinburgh home. A simple, sad suicide, yet Detective Inspector Tony McLean is puzzled by the curious suicide note.

So when a second hanged man and another strange note appear, McClean sees a sinister pattern.

Investigating a brutal prostitution and human trafficking ring, McLean struggles to find time to link the two suicides. But the discovery of a third convinces him of malicious intent.

Digging deeper, McLean finds answers something terrifying stalking the city streets.

And it’s much closer to home than he expects . . .

Cover of The Hangman's Song by James Oswald

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