Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: The Hanging Shed

The Hanging Shed - Gordon Ferris

It is impossible to own a Kindle and not have heard of the Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris. The book has been lingering the top 10 lists for ever. It is still one of the cheapest books you can get and receives copious amounts of praise.
Sucked in by the hype it was one of my first purchases but it is only now that I got round to reading it. The Hanging Shed is a plain old good book. That is not meant to be an insult, I really enjoyed it but it did not set my world on fire.
The story focuses on Douglas Brodie, an ex cop who is now back from the horrors of WWII and struggling to cope. Douglas receives a call from an estranged childhood friend who is on death row for the murder of a young boy – a crime he swears he did not commit.
The setting takes place largely in Scotland and whilst I admit I am completely ignorant to the geographical goings on in Scotland, Gordon seems to have captured the atmosphere perfectly. He really creates a bleak picture and at times uses authentic dialogue. This makes for some difficult reading as I struggled to understand what was being said, although I could always work it out in the end don’t ya Ken?
Douglas Brodie is a good protagonist but not great. It seems that Gordon Ferris could not decide what he wanted him to be. On one hand he is the tragic war veteran, trying to make sense of the nightmare he has just endured and on the other he is delivering quick one liners in a devil may care attitude reminiscent of Coben’s Myron Bolitar or Crais’ Elvis Cole. Whilst this is not a problem, I found that the two traits did not mesh together as well as they could have.
The rest of the cast are solid, although sometimes it is hard to believe that everyone is as hard and nasty as they are.
The plot itself, it well thought out and complex enough to intrigue the reader. All in all, this is a good book and one that I would recommend. My Rating: 8.5

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