©2008 Mo Hayder; (P)2008 Isis Publishing Ltd
"Hayder ... is at least Thomas Harris' equal." (Daily Telegraph)
"Hayder's fifth novel is full of the trademarks that made her name: expertly deployed shock tactics, excellent research, a cast of physically, mentally or morally damaged characters, and two sympathetic protagonists with painful past lives." (Guardian)
"Intensely enthralling stuff, but I'm glad I'm only inhabiting Hayder's mind at a reader's remove." (Observer)
Police diver Phoebe 'Flea' Marley discovers a human hand in a Bristol harbour. DI Jack Caffrey, newly moved to Bristol from London, responds to Flea's suggestion that the case deserves more than a cursory handling. A second hand is soon found and when they learn that the person to whom the hands belonged was probably alive when they were severed the investigation moves into overdrive. This is not your standard police procedural. It's far more concerned with the psychological elements of crime and the things that motivate all the players. Flea and Jack both have personal demons that influence their behaviour and the kind of officers they are. The story too is a complex one with many concurrent themes the strongest of which is that almost all the characters have some element of their past that haunts or troubles them in their current lives. But Hayder explores other issues too including the way people deal, or don't deal, with being transplanted from their own culture and the role that family bonds play at all layers of society. She also looks at an urban drug culture and the industry that thrives on exploiting the vulnerable within that culture. Funnily enough, the one element of the book that I struggled with was the inclusion of the more traditional crime fiction elements, like the fairly obvious false trails and red herrings, which I didn't think were handled quite as well as the psychological elements of the book. I've not read any of the Jack Caffrey books before so I don't know how this compares to others but I was certainly captivated by this story. If you imagine TRAINSPOTTING meets MCCALLUM you might get a sense of this world and the fact I was an hour late for work this morning is the best evidence I have that it's an utterly gripping read.
Andrew Wincott's narration made it a pleasure to listen. His regional accents were completely credible.
The Walking Man is someone I would like to know more about, he is fascinating.
There were many scenes that were so well written that it was easy to imagine being there. Mossy getting his hands removed was extremely disturbing for that very reason. It gave me a whole new appreciation for having mine.
It was certainly a book that I looked forward to resuming.
I found this a great listen. Fortunately I had a weekend with lots of travel so was able to hear most of it before returning to work Monday. Loved the twists and turns and great characters. Look forward to hearing more from Mo Hayder.
"A Shabby Little Shocker"
A tedious work filled with artifice in which a rather thin story line is padded out with reams of irrelevent detail(a good example is a comprhensive description of the contents of a bathroom cabinet when the character is merely taking out travel sickness medication). Overwelmed by all this dross, one is left with little sympathy for the main protagonists, especially the lady who is simply irritating.
The faintly patronising delivery of the reader does not help - I felt rather like a child being read a bedtime story, albeit a rather gruesome one.
Anyone looking for an 'out of the way' detective novel would be much better served by turning to Ian Rankin (Rebus) or for a touch of the bizarre Peter James (Roy Grace)
This was my second Mo Hayder novel and the first I have read in the 'Walking Man' series.
I'll admit that I felt a bit bored to begin with - it didn't half go on about the severed hand! However, as the story continued, I became engrossed. I developed an almost immediate, and strong, appeal towards the characters Jack Caffrey and Flea Marley. The story was a compelling read and it was very well written.
I had read some reviews that expressed a dislike of Andrew Wincott's narration. I didn't quite know what to make of Wincott's West Country accent at first, but as I continued to listen, I began to really enjoy the narration. I think the different voices and accents Wincott uses are superb.
Having listened to all Mo Hayder books I loved "Skin" and "Ritual". Scary, gripping and a new type of thriller - more please
"A let down"
The narration is terrible, so annoying that I could hardly listen. The story is thin.
I would as previous books have been great, but I would not listen to this narrator again.
"Not the greatest Mo Hayder book..."
I rate Mo Hayder highly & like her Jack Caffery creation but he lost my sympathy by the end of Ritual. His character gained further flaws and the Ewan story stalled leaving little to empathise with. Ritual is a dark story but is both cliched & unlikely in parts. New character Flea is another tormented soul & 2 needy lead characters is one too many for my liking. It has not put me off Mo Hayder & I will try #4 in due course, but I found Ritual much less satisfying than Birdman & The Treatment.
"A gripping listen"
Gruesome in parts, but hard to put down.
This is the third book in this series and you really do need to read or listen to them in order.
"Not the best"
Too gruesome a story for my taste, and I don't like the narrator who speaks in an unnatural way with odd intonation. Irritating.
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