Quite frankly, Mo Hayder scares the bejesus out of me. The first page of her latest book Poppet grabbed me and just never let go. (and check out that creepy cover....)
Poppet is the sixth book featuring Detective Inspector Jack Caffery of Bristol, England's Major Crime Investigation Team. "His unit is the one that gets all the murders and difficult cases. The cases that need high-level attention."
The opening chapter takes us to a mental institution. Each and every resident is afraid of The Maude - who will sit on your chest and ......Is this a mass delusion? Or is someone targeting some of the unlikeable and bothersome residents of the ward. None of the patients will even say the name aloud....And now the staff is afraid as well.
Isaac, a young resident deemed 'cured', is released back into society. Caffery is called in when Isaac is found to have connections to the deaths on the ward. A bag of little human effigies, also known as 'poppets' is found hidden in Isaac's old room.....and he's disappeared.
Jack is also working on the disappearance of a young woman named Misty - but Caffery knows much more about the case than he's letting on.
"But truth is stranger than fiction and the world is never what it seems: for over a year Caffery's been hopscotching over the issue, he's been guarding the case like a hound, appearing to be working on it while simultaneously leading the unit away from what he really knows about Misty's disappearance, - which is more, much more than any cop has a right. It's a big fat secret he's been hiding. Something he can't do anything about."
I've loved the Jack Caffery character since Hayder's first book Birdman. He's an enigma - flawed, fearless, full of secrets but a dedicated cop - who plays by his own rules. Police diver Flea Marley returns. The back and forth of her personal and professional relationship with Caffery is far from over. I'm torn on what I think about her. Jack shares the lead role in Poppet with A.J., the psychiatric ward supervisor. He's a great character, innocent, likable and fearless in his own way. His empathy and caring of the patients struck a note. He starts his own investigation into the case.
Hayder plumbs the depths of the human psyche in both her characters and her crimes. Poppet is full of twists, turns and lots of tension. Did I mention deliciously dark and creepy?
Be prepared to stay up late with this one. Scare yourself - read the first chapter of Poppet. Poppet could be read as a stand alone, but do yourself a favour - start from the beginning of the series - you'll be hooked. You can find Mo Hayder on Facebook.