Book Reviews: The Hanging by Wendy Hornsby and The Past Never Ends by Jackson Burnett

The HangingThe Hanging
Wendy Hornsby
Perseverance Press, September 2012
ISBN 978-1-56474-526-2
Trade Paperback

Who knew film making could be so deadly? A camera rolls, interviews taken, edits done afterward. But what happens if you capture a death on film? It’s another snap-action case for Maggie McGowan.We catch up with the investigative filmmaker on a stint at a local community college when death enters the hallowed halls, it’s shutter speed to the final cut.

Who killed Park Holloway, president of Anacapa Community College? Maggie MacGowan, investigative filmmaker on a short-term contract teaching film production is on the case. And she has plenty of suspects: The art student whose award winning project Holloway wanted scuttled? The college’s fund raising chairperson who discovered Holloway’s illegal financial shenanigans? The interim vice president of the college? A donor who was duped by Holloway? While Maggie deals with a new love in her life and seeking background information for one of her students, she steps closer each day to exposing the killer. Will her final film project end in her death?

This one was full of subplots that were tendrils away from the main mystery, but they rounded out the characters to keep them interesting. Hornsby does a good job of bringing in pertinent background information about Maggie so that new readers to the series aren’t left with questions. I think those tidbits entice and urge readers to pick up previous mysteries to find out the whole story.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, February 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.


The Past Never EndsThe Past Never Ends
Jackson Burnett
Deadly Niche Press, July/2012
ISBN 978-1-62016-003-9
Trade Paperback

What does a man do when haunted by a death? What does he do when another man wants the death of a woman investigated? How does he cope with an ailing mother, pesky clients, a no nonsense judge, and a new romance? Well, if you’re Chester Morgan, you do the best you can and hope the best will out.

In a bustling Oklahoma city, attorney Chester Morgan enjoys his law practice, treats his clients better than other attorneys would, and just wants to see justice done. Weeks after finding the corpse of a prosperous and honest-as-the-day-is-long oilman in the YMCA pool, Morgan is caught up in another enigmatic case, the death of a stripper/hooker in the desperate side of town. The problem: nobody in authority will tell him anything about the death. So, Morgan starts investigating and discovers the sleazy side of life, from dirty cops to a mother who pimps her daughter. And what do the tenuous connections to the oilman’s death mean?

Compelling characters, intriguing mystery with well scattered evidence. I must admit, there are punctuation/grammar/spelling/phrasing errors and Burnett tends to wax nostalgic or philosophical at times, however, the basic plot kept me turning the pages. Like Morgan, I longed to see the puzzle solved and justice done

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, March 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.