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The Hanging Judge

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,080 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
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 neighborho
Paperback, 473 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Open Road Media E-riginal (first published January 1st 2013)
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Dec 03, 2013 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
There are tons of mysteries and courtroom dramas novel seen in the perspective of the lawyer, the law enforcement officer, and even the indicted. But The Hanging Judge may be the first novel I have read that is mainly in the perspective of the judge. It is because the author, Michael Posner has been a judge since 1984 and is currently a judge in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.. It's nice to see a novel written by someone who knows all the facts, intricacies an ...more
Patrice Hoffman
Legal thrillers of any sort are my absolute favorite. There's something about a trial that is just so captivating. The outcome of the trial always has me on the edge of my seat. No matter if it is a good legal based novel, movie, or Law & Order episode, I am hooked. This debut The Hanging Judge by federal judge Michael Posner, was no different for me.

The Hanging Judge begins with the murder of a local gang member, Edgar "Peach" Delgado, and an innocent bystander, pediatric nurse, Ginger Dal
switterbug (Betsey)
Jan 24, 2014 switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was ok
I selected this book because I enjoy an absorbing legal thriller, and the accolades were mostly positive. Additionally, the premise of the story, as well as the author's academic creds--Yale and Harvard--were heightened by the fact that he is a U.S. district judge in Massachusetts. The story is told mostly through the eyes of the federal judge, David Norcross, presiding over the case. Massachusetts (my original home state) doesn't have the death penalty. But what if a RICO crime, linked to a dri ...more
Dec 11, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy legal/crime novels
This is what I would describe as an intelligent crime/legal novel, which makes good sense as the author is a long time senior U.S. district judge in the United States District Court of Massachusetts, Western Division. Ponsor manages the delicate task of balancing all the myriad sides of a major criminal trial from the commission of the crime, through the investigation and the trial. Along the way there are glimpses of the personal lives of all involved.

At first I questioned the level of some of
Sep 05, 2013 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
Shelves: legal-drama
Excellent legal novel told from a unique perspective: that of a federal judge. The author, a sitting federal judge (although some research revealed he intended to retire soon)*, graphically recreates the events leading up to the trial of a man for a drive-by shooting. There is a lot of doubt in the minds of the read that Moon, a former gang-member, is actually the shooter. A cop coming on duty had seen the alleged shooter leap from a car and had identified him originally as a Hispanic, but the p ...more
Liz Barnsley
Sep 20, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing
Coming December from Open Road Media

Thank you to the publisher, author and netgalley for the advanced copy of this book.

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.

Well what an intriguing and fascinating read this was. Starting with a bang so to speak, as we get an overview of the crime and me
This is an intense story from the first page. There is everything in this book: murder, suspense, romance, and a deep look into the United States justice system. I do have a couple of issues with the story, however.

The inclusion of the story of the unfair trial and execution of two men in 1806 interrupts the flow, overall. It was interesting, especially the quotes from surviving documentation, but I think it would have worked better for me if it were left until the conclusion of the book.

At ti
Oct 21, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing
An Unfortunate, Probably Accurate, Look at our Judicial System

A drive-by shooting leaves a drug dealer and a young mother dead. Alex Torricelli, a cop, gives chase. He manages to grab the driver of the car, but the shooter gets away. The police arrest a black drug dealer, but is he guilty?

The US attorney is looking for a capital murder case to impose the death penalty. This is the chosen case and Judge David Norcross is put on the spot. The star witness is the sixteen-year-old driver of the car
Eileen Goudge
Nov 16, 2014 Eileen Goudge rated it really liked it
This one held my interest from start to finish. I felt like I was actually in the courtroom, it rang with such authenticity. It's a reminder that "justice for all" is really only justice for some. I felt for the accused, whose fate seems a foregone conclusion at the start. Judge Norcross is equally sympathetic, as is the chain-smoking lawyer for the defense, Mr. Redpath. I highly recommend this for fans of legal dramas. It even has a touch of romance.
John Vibber
Aug 25, 2014 John Vibber rated it really liked it
This murder trial story had so many twists and turns that I felt compelled to thumb pages until I knew the jury's decision, and more importantly, I was completely sure that they were right. This interweaving story of street life, court procedure, justice and the death penalty contains cogent insights from a judge's point of view and its creative descriptive language and offbeat love story added to my reading pleasure.

Brenda Whitner
Feb 20, 2015 Brenda Whitner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hanging Judge

This was very well written. I enjoyed the book very much. It was about a man Clarence " Moon" Hudson who was being tried in federal court for the murder of two people. I won't go into the logistics of the trial but the author did an excellent job touching on everyone's life. He kept what could have been a dull book very interesting. I do hate how the prosecution side played so dirty to win their case. I am not saying that they won only that they didn't play fair. It really made
Dec 08, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-netgalley
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 law
Jeannie Walker
Jan 09, 2014 Jeannie Walker rated it it was amazing
Having been a family victim of a murder, I was fascinated in reading this novel that was written by a federal judge who has presided over a capital murder case.
"The Hanging Judge" is the debut thriller by Michael Ponsor. It is excellent in many ways. It gives readers a view and perspective of courtroom drama in a capital murder case, along with what might and sometimes does happen behind the scenes.
Personally, I am a lot like the main charater, David Norcross. I also have a lot of deep doubts
Dec 12, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
The Hanging Judge by Michael Ponsor is a December 2013 Open Road Media publication. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
David gets assigned to rule over a death penalty case. He has always dreaded this moment. The case is high profile involves a drug dealer, a drive by and an innocent bystander being killed, and a cop being wounded. The media is all over the case.

On a personal note, David meets a delightful teacher when he pulls a bone
Feb 06, 2014 Wrb752 rated it it was ok
As a disclaimer, I work in the legal profession so I know my way around the court room pretty well. To me this book was typical of someone who is well educated, skilled in a profession, and well read. Those attributes do not make one a skilled writer.

The characters were painfully stereotypical and boring. The writing itself was not bad, albeit pretty boring as well. The ending of the book was just off.

Ponsor spends the majority of the book cramming his own beliefs and agendas down the readers
Nov 04, 2015 Idamaro rated it really liked it
This is an excellent legal thriller that sweeps you up and spins you around til the last page.
It's a plot-driven story with third person multiple POV that gives each character their own weigh and place in the puzzle. The narration suffers on occasion with inconsistent changes of scenes,the story doesn't always pick up where the last scene left of. But the plot is captivating enough and it didn't bother me too much;

It was hard not get emotionally attached to the characters: Moon's story tugs at t
Sep 24, 2013 KoboReader rated it it was amazing
An engaging story that never gets old because you get the perspectives of almost everyone involved--judge, suspect, the suspect's family, the victim's family, lawyers. The murder trial is the main story that runs through the book and holds everything together, but the subplots and side stories are just as interesting and really help fill out the world of The Hanging Judge. The characters are unique--some likable, some detestable (but that keeps it fun!).

Apparently the debut novel of a real life
Mike  Davis
Dec 10, 2013 Mike Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, legal, crime
I found this a very well written crime novel with the requisite court room tension and unpredictable follow up. The perspective of a judge is somewhat unique in current literature, and gives this narrative a boost beyond the ordinary. While giving the reader insight into the inner workings of a criminal trial, it also highlights the tensions encountered by the judges who sit on the bench. This is more than worthy of a read, especially for fans of court room drama.

This novel was received in e-boo
Dec 03, 2013 Mattie rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed "The Hanging Judge!" It was written by a Federal judge and I found the characters believable and interesting. I have served on a rape and double murder case and the stress of being a juror is intense. This book shows the emotional roller coaster ride everyone in the courtroom must endure. Anyone wishing to become a criminal attorney or sitting judge must read this. I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. No compensat ...more
Bea Bezmalinovic
Nov 02, 2015 Bea Bezmalinovic rated it really liked it
The Wellesley Public Library picked this book for the fall Community Reads event. Of course, I missed the event because I was out of town but did manage the finish the book. The Hanging Judge is a fictional tale with multiple story lines focused on characters whose lives are effected by a shooting. There is pressure on the government representatives to make this case a capital offense. The story unfolds from the perspective of the judge, his clerks, the accused, his lawyer, the prosecutor, the f ...more
Jan Mcclung-short
May 21, 2015 Jan Mcclung-short rated it really liked it
For his first book, this is great. I enjoyed this book. Because the author is a judge made this book all the more interesting. I have to admit it is the reason I went ahead and bought the book. I knew that because the author was a judge, factually, the story would be sound. I also know that just because you can do the job doesn't neccessarily mean that your writing skills would carry through. His does though.

The judge, David Norcross, is so tied to the job that he almost doesn't allow himself a
Feb 06, 2014 Caitlin rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
A legal thriller about the death penalty told from the perspective of a judge written by a judge with death penalty case experience - sounds worth reading, right? It's a decent book - well thought out and considered and provides a window into the world of death penalty trials that will be familiar to anyone who loves legal thrillers, reads the news, or watches Law and Order and shows of its ilk.

All the usual characters are here - the dead gang banger, the equally dead innocent bystander, the am
Tere Fredericks
I get notification of new books purchased by my library every week (Wowbrary, and see if your library has it, it's WONDERFUL!). The blurb on this one started out as:

When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a hockey mom volunteering at an inner-city clinic the police arrest a rival gang member. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so he can seek
Darcia Helle
I read quite a bit of nonfiction on death penalty cases, and I was looking forward to a fictional take from an author who is also a judge. Unfortunately, this book was a major disappointment for me.

First, I want to say Michael Ponsor does an exceptional job of showing the problems within our court system. If you're unfamiliar with the intricate web we call justice, which is often more about procedure and politics than innocence and guilt, then this will be an eye-opening read.

One problem I had
Susan Oleksiw
Nov 11, 2014 Susan Oleksiw rated it it was amazing
David Norcross is a US District Judge in Massachusetts, and faces the unsettling prospect of providing over a death penalty case in a no-death-penalty state. When a pediatric nurse is killed in a drive-by shooting targeting a gang leader, Peach Delgado, the powers-that-be are out for blood, the shooter's blood, and so begins a swift, wild ride through the lives of several characters and the justice system. The author, Michael Ponsor, is also a sitting judge, and brings alive the experience of th ...more
Apr 26, 2014 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not just another murder trial that might result in the much debated death penalty. This story is told from the point of view on the judge on the case. Judge David Norcross is the appointed judge in the trial of a former gang member who is accused of shooting a rival gang member and an innocent bystander. There is of course some question all the way through as to whether or not he has actually committed the crime, but we do know he is not above such as act. In most lawyer/crime books the ...more
Shelley Fearn
Mar 23, 2014 Shelley Fearn rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, suspense
After reading review from some of the other readers, it seems that whether one likes the book or not might depend on how much one knows about the legal system and court proceedings.

From the author's bio, Ponsor is a judge who presided over an actual death penalty case in 2000 that lasted 5 months and was the first such case in Massachusetts in 50 years. If you have that fact, you have the basis for the novel.

As a debut novel it was interesting but lacked the polish and character development foun
Sep 22, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing
HOLY CRAP! This is one the best court room dramas I've ever read! Complex characters, a timely topic, people not being who they appear to be-all tightly wound into a narrative that moves at a whip cracking pace. An original concept from start to finish, that has moments of romance, humor, horror, pity, simply has it all. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!!
Nancy Goldberg Wilks
Oct 28, 2014 Nancy Goldberg Wilks rated it it was amazing
The Hanging Judge is the debut novel by author Michael Ponsor, a federal judge for the United States District Court in Massachusetts. And, it is a remarkable first novel.

The book begins with a gang related, drug related, drive by shooting that successfully killed its intended target. Unfortunately, it also killed an innocent bystander, a white nurse, mother of three, who was about to begin her shift, volunteering time at a nearby inner city clinic. The driver of the vehicle was apprehended by
Dec 15, 2013 Clint rated it really liked it
A great crime/legal thriller with enough uncertainty and twists to keep you fully engaged. It includes an accurate portrayal of the legal system and provides good insight into the personalities of the various players. A good read regardless of where you come down on the death penalty.
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Michael Ponsor graduated from Harvard, received a Rhodes Scholarship, and studied for two years at Pembroke College, Oxford. After taking his law degree from Yale and clerking in federal court in Boston, he began his legal career, specializing in criminal defense. He moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1978, where he practiced as a trial attorney in his own firm until his appointment in 1984 as a ...more
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“If you want the best evidence of just how strong our democracy is, come into the courtroom.” 5 likes
“For me, taking the sort of dry principles of the law and bringing them into contact with human beings . . . it's like you jump into hyperspace. And everything that's dull about the books and the theory becomes provocative.” 4 likes
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