Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Review - The Hanging Judge: A Novel by Michael Ponsor

Through NetGalley, I receive the opportunity to request, receive and review books in eBook format.  I was excited to get the opportunity to read The Hanging Judge: A Novel by Michael Ponsor.

The Hanging Judge
Author: Michael Ponsor
Publisher: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller

About the book (from Goodreads): 
Based on the experience of the author, a federal judge who in 2000 presided over the first capital case in Massachusetts in more than fifty years, this extraordinary debut thriller offers an unprecedented inside view of a federal death penalty trial

When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a nurse at a neighborhood clinic, the police arrest a black drug dealer. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so that he can pursue the death penalty.

The Honorable David S. Norcross, who has been on the federal bench only two years, now presides over the first death penalty case in the state in fifty years. He must contend not only with an ambitious female prosecutor and a brilliant veteran defense attorney, but with a citizenry outraged at the senseless killing of a white hockey mom—not to mention the pressures of the media, anti-death penalty protesters, vengeful gang members, and the million other things that can go wrong in a capital trial.

My Review:  

I could not wait to read Michael Ponsor's book The Hanging Judge.  The first draw for me was my absolute love for legal thrillers, but the second was the locale.  I lived half of my life in New England and any book that will take me back their with any authenticity makes me very happy.  

The Hanging Judge brings the reader inside the the courtroom of a death penalty case.  It does so in a way that is absolutely flooring.  Not only does the reader get to see the case from the side of the judge, the lawyers, and the person being tried, but the police, investigators and victims' families and more are all included.  You might think this would be overwhelming, but Ponsor handles it remarkably.  Each character is not a shadow but brought completely to life.  They have back story and motives that are unique to themselves.  The star is the story though each character is living as if they are the center.  Michael Ponsor proved that he has a very intricate knowledge of the legal system as well as the human condition.  That strength shines through in this novel.

I was floored at how my mind switched gears as I read and grasped the intricate cuts of this mystery thriller.  The Hanging Judge had me scratching my head and stretching my mind's muscles as I tried to come up with the conclusion.  This excited me all the more.  There was no easy out for this story.  Well done.  I highly recommend it, and certainly do look forward to Michael Ponsor's next work.  I hope it comes soon.  

This eBook was provided to me for free through the publishers via NetGalley.  This had no impact on my opinion.  My opinion is all my own.


  1. Oh goodness! This book sounds great! I love the idea of reading from all the different viewpoints. That isn't often done well so it's nice to hear that this one was so great! :)

    1. I was shocked how really well he did it. Usually you can't juggle that many points of view, but he did it flawlessly. :)