Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poppet - Mo Hayder

Years ago, pre-blogging, I'd read "The Devil of Nanking" by Mo Hayder.  It was an incredible, horrifying novel!  Once I entered the blogging world, I continued to hear about Mo Hayder's work, but I never picked it up again until now.  What I didn't fully appreciate was that this book, which drew me in by its cover (how totally creepy is it??? Gah!), was actually #6 in a series featuring a Bristol UK detective inspector Jack Caffery.  I used to be religious about not stepping into a series mid-stream, but...whatever.  I wanted to read this book dammit, so I did.

Synopsis:  The patients and some of the staff of Beechway psychiatric hospital are living in terror.  Some have seen the spirit called The Maude lurking the hallways, coming into rooms and sitting on patients' chests.  To AJ, the hospital supervisor, this is more of an annoyance than anything, and is primarily concerned with maintaining peace and order.  Until a patient dies, and other patients begin harming themselves.  AJ decides to call the police...enter Jack Caffery.

Coincidentally, a patient named Isaac was just released from this hospital to a halfway house.  When Isaac was a teenager, he brutally killed his parents and is known for constructing poppets (small dolls) that have a very strange smell.  And Caffery discovers that Isaac has gone missing.  Could there be a connection between Isaac and The Maude?

My thoughts:  Even though we are six books deep into this series, the author did an excellent job of orientating me.  Caffery WAS actually still struggling with a lingering case from a prior novel before tackling the issues at Beechway hospital, but the elements of this old case were very well-explained and I fell right into step.

The story is absolutely chilling and very dark, which is exactly how I like my thrillers.  While it may seem there is something supernatural at work here, the mystery is actually grounded and realistically gritty.  The primary characters were wonderful, flawed, and came to life.  The mystery was something that was foreseeable, but was also layered and multi-pronged, which made my brain buzz.

In fact, this is probably one of the most compelling thriller reads I've come across in awhile.  I am resigned to going back now and hitting them all...on audio if I can, and if not I will read them.  I am hooked.

4.5 out of 5 stars

    

14 comments:

Beth F said...

I wonder if I could handle this series. Even the cover looks too creepy for me. I'm such a wimp.

bermudaonion said...

That cover is seriously creepy. I can generally read stuff like this but could never watch it. I'm adding the author to my must try list.

Hey, I want to read that! said...

First, cover it totally creepy. I think I would have to put it face down when not reading it. Second, I used to be completely OCD about reading books in order but have gotten better. It's good to know this books does well in easing new readers in. I just put a book down that was third in the series and I was lost because I hadn't read the other books. This sounds like an exciting read.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Based on your review I want to give Mo Hayder a try, but Poppet may not be the one for me to start with. I think dolls are creepy enough as is. They are right up there with clowns for me.

Jeane said...

Somehow that cover looks both endearing and creepy, to me. I don't think I could read this series. It sounds like something that would keep me from sleeping!

Darlene said...

That cover freaks me out and I like anything scary. Lol. I think I need to read this one though. It sounds so good.

Ti said...

I've seen this cover around and it's just horribly creepy!The author's pic on Goodreads is so...normal.

I'd read this. Right now I am reading about an asylum but it's not creepy scary at all.

Kathleen said...

That cover freaks me out but makes me think the book could be right up my alley!

caite said...

'absolutely chilling and very dark'..that very creepy cover...I AM SOLD!

JoAnn said...

Yes, that cover is totally creepy! The series may be too much for me...

Tasha Brandstatter said...

I know I couldn't handle this series.

Melody said...

I totally enjoyed reading this; in fact most of Mo's books! She's simply amazing!!

Iliana said...

I really want to try this series! Years ago I started reading the first book but for some reason I was a bit put off by it... I think it was just a mood thing. This one sounds good but I gotta start at the beginning so I'm going to see if I still have that first book.

Julie P. said...

You must not get nightmares after watching movies and reading creepy books. I'm not as brave (or crazy!)