“…palpable atmosphere and…seat-gripping suspense scenes. Energetic and spirited storytelling make this…an entertaining read.” – Kirkus Reviews
“…thrilling…. Engaging from the start, Leigh pushes the story forward with exciting force, particularly with her crisp, clean sentences that shine with vivid detail. With great perception, Leigh masterfully develops her characters…with honest reflective writing…. Heartbreaking,nerve-wracking, and triumphant at times, Wake Not the Hangman is a deeply satisfying novel.” – San Francisco Book Review
“…a fast-paced read with a lot of action…” – Apex Reviews
Thornton Guthrie works his father’s land at gunpoint. The year is 1834, and men of the establishment have total control over their kin. Escaping is out of the question. Estranged from his abused mother, Thornton lives in isolation.
That changes when Thornton’s father buys three slaves, William, Ronan, and Henry. Thornton loathes slavery and realizes that for the first time in fifteen years, his father–and his father’s rifle–are outnumbered. Thornton dreams of joining forces with the men to plot an escape, but as the slave-owner’s son, he must convince the men he is on their side while under the watchful barrel of his father’s gun. He discovers he has something unexpected in common with thirty-six-year-old William and hazards a dangerous initial contact, hoping it won’t cost him everything. Thornton’s bravery sets in motion an audacious escape plan that, through a deadly turn of events, becomes a race against the clock further complicated by a crafty interloper on Guthrie Farms, Thornton’s ill-timed first romance, and the lethal secret of one of the captives.
A tale of treachery, bondage, fellowship, and courage, Wake Not the Hangman depicts how one young man’s desire to escape his wretched father leads to a much bigger quest: freedom for a band of newfound friends confined by servitude and the law. INCLUDES READER’S GUIDE.
Deborah Leigh is a former magazine editor (managing editor, CRM Magazine; research editor and copy editor, Islands Magazine; copywriter, Resorts & Great Hotels Magazine; Worldwide Guide Project Manager, Spa Magazine) who took a sharp turn into the world of law, which she has inhabited for over a decade. She borrows from both of her pasts and her love of Westerns and classic films to tell tales of justice from bygone times. Born on Los Angeles’s storied Sunset Boulevard, she enjoys including worries thought to be intrinsic to modern urban life in her rustic stories. She has called many cities all over the United States and Europe home and was married in France, where she gave birth in a suburb of a suburb (of a suburb) of Paris. She’s had the good fortune to “walk to work” in Wiesbaden, Germany, “run errands in Belgium” when she lived near its border, “catch movies” in Luxembourg while living in nearby Metz, France, and study on a tip of Germany so far south, she once cut her morning classes to go to Switzerland and was back before lunch. She’s lived within bicycle distance of the Atlantic Ocean in Florida and crisscrossed the United States several times by train and car. Ultimately a hometown girl, she and her only son live in downtown Los Angeles, where she can see Sunset Boulevard from her living room window.