Jack Caffery, book #5
Pages: 415 pages
Finished: July 14, 2010
First Published: Feb 4, 2010 (UK)
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: mystery, thriller
Detective Inspector Jack Caffery of Bristol's Major Crime Investigation Unit spent ten minutes in the centre of Frome looking at the crime scene.
Acquired: My sister gifted this book to me.
Reason for Reading: Mo Hayder ... new book ... nothing more to say.
This is an all-nighter police procedural that has Jack Caffery on the case of a supposed carjacker who takes a car with a girl in the back seat. The girl is not found and the realization is made that he didn't want the car but the girl. Then it happens again. Another car, another girl, this time much younger. With statistics showing that child abductors kill their victims sooner than later, the team is on a race against time. Flea comes to Caffery and tells him about two previous unsuccessful attempts that are identical and this helps the team start to put together a case. Separately, the book focuses of Flea, as an individual and how the events from the previous book "Skin" have affected her emotionally and on the job as she tries to put herself together but she also notices Jack's complete change in manner towards her.
The story is clever. There are turns that move the plot in different directions but guessing the identity of the culprit wasn't exactly hard, though Hayder does keep you with a tiny seed of doubt until the final reveal. A thoroughly enjoyable police procedural. But also very much tied to previous books, especially "Skin", so should not be read out of order or at least not before "Skin", since Skin's whole shocker is outed in "Gone".
Why do I give the book a rating of three if it's a clever, enjoyable police procedural? Because when I read Mo Hayder I am expecting a whole lot more than enjoyable. I have read all her books and am a huge fan. Words I usually use to describe her books are gruesome, disturbing, weird, roller-coaster ride, heart-thumping, breath-holding, twists and turns, a shocker! This book had none of those elements, aside from a few turns (only turns, no twists) and I was disappointed. Her books The Treatment and The Devil of Nanking have made me hold Hayder above other thriller writers and this one felt more like one of the crowd. Don't get me wrong, it's good and kept me up into the wee hours but I wasn't satisfied that I'd read a Mo Hayder. Not her best, by far. Another thing that got to me was what was with the happy-happy ending, Hayder's books do not have happy endings. Perhaps this is a sign that the Jack Caffery series is over.