Wolf (Jack Caffrey #7) by Mo Hayder
When a vagrant—the Walking Man—finds a dog wandering alone with the words “HELP US” written on its collar, he’s sure it’s a desperate plea from someone in trouble and calls on Detective Inspector Jack Caffery to investigate. Caffery is reluctant to get involved—until the Walking Man promises new information regarding the childhood abduction of Caffery’s brother in exchange for the detective’s help tracking down the dog’s owners. Caffery has no idea who or what he is searching for, but one thing he is sure of: it’s a race against time.
Meanwhile, the Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy local family, are fighting for their lives in their remote home ten miles away. Two men have tricked their way into the house and are holding the family for ransom. Yet as the captors’ demands become increasingly bizarre and humiliating, it becomes clear that this is more than a random crime—it’s a personal vendetta.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The series takes a bit of a side road with this book. The storyline that has been building between Jack and Flea is entirely sidelined to focus on Jack, his relationship with The Walking Man and his search for an answer to what happened to his brother. We already know the answer and it’s difficult to see Jack battling both with not knowing what happened and the eventual revelation of his own unwitting involvement.
Jack’s “crusade” is intertwined with the abduction and torture of a family. The connection is the family dog that escapes and ends up in Jack’s company courtesy of The Walking Man. This is an interesting concept and works well. The characters of Molina and Honey don’t fully work for me but are definitely integral to the story.
There is an overall feeling of sadness for Jack but never more so than in this book which also seems to be the end of his story. It’s good to bring his brother’s story to a conclusion but I would like to see him come back once again. His story has been one of the best I’ve read and I will miss it. The author has written other books that I will move on to but Jack will be hard to beat.
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Gone (Jack Caffrey #5, Flea Marley #3, The Walking Man #3) by Mo Hayder
November in the West Country.
Evening is closing in as murder detective Jack Caffery arrives to interview the victim of a car-jacking.
He’s dealt with routine car-thefts before, but this one is different. This car was taken by force. And on the back seat was a passenger. An eleven-year-old girl. Who is still missing.
Before long the jacker starts to communicate with the police: ‘It’s started,’ he tells them. ‘And it ain’t going to stop just sudden, is it?‘
And Caffery knows that he’s going to do it again. Soon the jacker will choose another car with another child on the back seat.
Caffery’s a good and instinctive cop; the best in the business, some say. But this time he knows something’s badly wrong. Because the jacker seems to be ahead of the police – every step of the way…
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I absolutely loved this book. If you read professional reviews and critic reports I’m sure there will be lots of comments about the lack of writing quality, how the story skips around a lot and how some plot lines appear out of nowhere or are discarded without a thought. I don’t care! This book is all about the story and all of the above creates a frenetic pace that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you along whether you want to go or not. I found it difficult to break away from reading this during the first 40% but the remainder was read virtually in one sitting this morning. I was so engrossed I even gave up on my planned 100km cycle and gave myself over to the story.
There is some development in the relationship between Flea and Jack and they both have starring roles in this book. The Walking Man also plays a more prominent role and we get to know some more of his back story. However, the story mostly focuses on “the jacker” and the search for the missing girls. It’s almost a standalone story but much more enjoyable if you have read the preceding books.
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Skin (Jack Caffrey #4, Flea Marley #2) by Mo Hayder.
When the decomposed body of a young woman is found by near railway tracks just outside Bristol one hot May morning, all indications are that she’s committed suicide. That’s how the police want it too: all neatly squared and tidied away.
But DI Jack Caffery is not so sure. He is on the trail of someone predatory, someone who hides in the shadows and can slip into houses unseen.
And for the first time in a very long time, he feels scared.
Police Diver Flea Marley is working alongside Caffery. Having come to terms with the loss of her parents, and with the traumas of her past safely behind her, she’s beginning to wonder whether their relationship could go beyond the professional.
And then she finds something that changes everything. Not only is it far too close to home for comfort – but it’s so horrifying that she knows that nothing will ever be the same again.
And that this time, no one – not even Caffery – can help her …
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This picks up the story a few days after the conclusion of Ritual. At first it seems like it’s going to be a familiar murder/detective story with a bit of a development of a relationship between Jack and Flea before the author drops a hand grenade in the middle of Flea’s life. This seems so out of the blue that it appears completely unbelievable at first. However, once you let this feeling go it’s a very dark counterpoint to Jack’s story and there is an excellent depiction of how Flea deals with the stress and adapts to prevent her life from being completely destroyed.
Jack’s story is also quite good and I really enjoyed how the author blended and intertwined the stories while telling them from separate points of view. Right up to the very end I wasn’t quite sure how Jack was going to jump.
On top of Flea and Jack’s stories you then have the slightly mystical/supernatural elements of The Walking Man and the remaining African occult storyline from the previous book. All of these are expertly put together to create a book that really is unlike any other I’ve read.
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Ritual (Jack Caffrey #3, The Walking Man #1, Flea Marley #1) by Mo Hayder
Nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there’s no body attached is disturbing enough—until the discovery of the matching appendage a day later. Both hands have been freshly amputated, and there are indications that the victim was still alive when they were removed.
Newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol, DI Jack Caffery soon establishes that the hands belong to a young man who has recently disappeared. As Caffery and Marley search for the rest of the victim—and for his abductor—they journey into the darkest recesses of Bristol’s underworld, where drug addiction is rife, street kids sell themselves for a hit, and a disturbing occult ritual may be making an unexpected appearance.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
One of the very best books I’ve read in a long time! The author has taken her familiar character and turned him upside down by moving him out of London and into a new city in Bristol. He hasn’t managed to leave all his baggage behind though so he hasn’t changed completely.
Two new characters have been introduced. One is the very complicated Walking Man who has only been touched upon in this story and with this book being sub-titled as the first installment of “The Walking Man” series we will get to know him better in the future.
The second is Flea Marley and she is as important and central a character as Jack. Another complicated character with a messy background story and again someone we will be meeting again. In an interview with the author she described how she had intended to leave Jack Caffrey aside and develop Flea as a character with her own series but was drawn to bring Jack and her together in the one story. It’s a fantastic result.
All that and then you add in gruesome murders, African occult and a host of other really well written minor characters and it was a story I could hardly put down.