To Hang a Crooked Number by Matthew Callan review

The author enables instant interest from the quotes at the beginning, and the appealing way the character is portrayed.

It appears the main character is part of some sort of organisation/society that stakes out and apprehends people. At the start it appears a routine ‘spot the man’, a job done by lowly workers, implying he did something wrong causing him to fall down the ladder.


I wasn’t sure exactly where it was heading. First the character seems to be contracted by an organization, then switching to a baseball player where competition is rife and a disappearing teammate stirs suspicion.


I kept on asking myself throughout the novel, where is it heading? There doesn’t seem to be a clear direction of where it is heading. So it does build interest because I wanted to see where it was going and what would happen next.


It certainly is a unique and different novel, nothing like I’ve read before. You are expecting some sort of spying, but the unusual people the Society recruits left me wondering why?

There are a lot of questions mulling over as I read, which of course made me want to keep on reading.


Tension builds as the main character feels that he is being watched. The disappearance of a teammate and unusual things happen make him question if they are doing the right thing.

The revelation that there is a mole only increases the feelings of being watched, followed, not knowing who to trust. Paranoia creeping in, the inexperienced baseball player out of his depth.


Half way through the book and still not sure what the society is completely about. It almost feels like a game, you think its one thing, but yet something is amiss. The recruitment of baseball players only adds to the confusion. The unusual nicknames of the characters make it feel like they carry more purpose.


There seems to be a conspiracy theory going on like no other. As more details are revealed, more is put at risk. The almost absurdity of it all is what makes it an amusing read.


The plot gradually thickens as the leads point to why a teammate and fellow person of the society disappears. Getting mixed up with something, involving people he shouldn’t. As they get closer to the truth, the freelancer journalist and the baseball player are put at risk. Wanting desperately to get out of this, but not knowing how.


You can’t skip a beat with this story as it keeps on developing. Short breaks in the story revealing how the character got to where he is. It might seem like a slow progression, but once you get into the heart of the story there is plenty to get involved in.


The novel does tend to fade off a bit in places. Although the plot does head to an interesting direction, it is a bit difficult to keep focused at times. I wanted to be able to relate to the characters, and although there was a back story to the main character, it was difficult to get a full sense of him.


It was a good build-up, but seemed to be quite a predictable conclusion. Unfortunately the ending didn’t really unveil anything new or unexpected. Although a satisfying read all round.


3 ½ stars



Published by sharlene25

Sharlene Almond is the author of the genre-bending Annabella Cordova series, and a New Zealand travel book Journey in little Paradise. She has written a range of health, writing and body language articles; contributing as a guest writer on other blogs. Over the last ten years, Sharlene has attained qualifications in Body Language, Criminology, Journalism, Editing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Pet Care, and Animal Behaviour. While setting up an online nutritional business, she is studying to specialize in Medicinal Cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sharlene is also currently editing her second Annabella Cordova novel, with two others in the works. To support her online business, Sharlene sends out a trimonthly newsletter covering health, body language, writing, and even articles centered on health topics for your pet.

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