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This book was my introduction to the series, never having read any of the Jack Caffery novels before. It started off really interestingly, as a touch of the supernatural is involved in a police diver's search for a missing body. I thought, oh hang on a minute, this could be a bit different to your average cop thriller.
The main character could be interchanged with a variety of hard bitten copper characters around at the moment. It's not very often that a truly unique one catches my attention, I find them all very samey. The side character of Flea is kind of interesting, but typically feisty and bolshy for a lead female. Her story line is quite a gripping one, as she has to deal with the after effects of covering up a incident her brother has been involved in.
The main plot follows Caffery trying to solve a series of suspicious suicides which catch his attention. This is complicated by a previous case which he can't quite put to rest and which he feels is following his every move. Him and Flea are supposed to have some kind of romantic chemistry going on, but the most it ever gets to is lewd comments about her chest ?! After a couple of chapters they seemed to split off into their own seperate stories, only coming together briefly at the end.
Overall, this written well, with moderately involving characters and it seemed quite realistic in its portrayal of the procedural side of police work. I will read more books in this series if they come my way, but won't be going out of my way to buy any, as I didn't find it overly exciting.
I'm a big fan of Mo Hayder but sometimes found some of her other books to be overly gruesome. This one however is much smarter than that, the story is gripping and hard to put down, at the same time it is very realistic and gruesome (where it needs to be) and more discreet in other places.
it's great to have Jack Caffrey back, he's been sorely missed in some of Mo Hayder's other novels. This is a part of a currently 3-book series, Ritual, Skin and Gone which are I believe called the 'walking man' series. Here we are introduced to 'Flea' Marley who is a but of a possible love interest for Caffrey, and we see a shift for Caffrey as he has moved from London to Bristol, and all the changes that come along with a move such as this. It was a very gripping thriller and very enjoyable, highly recommended!
First of all I should point out that this is one of those books that, if you haven't read the preceeding novel, Ritual, then this is going to leave you very, very confused. Starting just a few days after the last novel concluded, it picks up many of the story strands and plot arcs that were left hanging and runs with them a bit further. But don't go expecting too many answers as this is the second of what is potentially a trilogy, though this fact is not mentioned this time around- in her last book, it was asserted that Ritual was the first of The Travelling Man trilogy but there is no mention of that here!
Detective Inspector Jack Caffrey, who has moved up north from London following his debut in Birdman and The Treatment where we were first introduced, is still obsessed by repercussions left over after his last big case and the allegation that someone may have possibly escaped the net. Along with the strong feeling of being watched, Caffrey is also unnerved by the suggestion that something known as The Tokoloshe, an African demonic figure, may be abroad and have some kind of special, specific interest in him.
Meanwhile, Police diver Flea finds herself in over her head when she tries to deal with her alcoholic and unstable brother's hit and run accident and finds things getting more and more complicated thanks to his increasingly unpleasant girlfriend.
At the same time as all this, a series of suicides on the cliffs of an old, local quarry begin to look more and more suspicious. Is there any connection between the suicides and events in the last novel, Ritual or is it all just coincidence and conjecture? Caffrey is not sure but is finding it harder and harder to stay focused on these deaths when the missing wag of a promising footballer keeps demanding his attention.....
This is one of those books that really struggles at first to hold your attention (right up to half way through, I was debating putting this down and not picking it up again) but that slowly seems to get a hold on you the deeper you progress. Certainly it is nowhere near as good as Hayder's previous novels and some of the early writing here feels forced and not very fluent. There are one or two conversations, for example, right early on that just didn't ring true and feel a bit false and Flea is not the strongest or most easiest of characters to like! Even Caffrey has moments where he seems to be quite objectionable and whether this is down to writing or editing, I am really not sure.
Thankfully the story picks up and manages to carry the remnainder of the novel through to its inevitably open-ended conclusion! That said, I am not sure that I really liked the ending and it remains to be seen whether or not I pick up the next book. I got this from my local Sainsburys for £1 in hardback and defenitely would not pay more than that for the next one!! Birdman and The Treatment, even Tokyo and Pig Island, were much better written and I do wonder if Hayder is going to go the way of Patricia Cornwell and manage to successfully paint this series into a corner without really trying to stop it!!
The worst thing for me is that I really wanted to enjoy this after the ever-so-slightly lacklustre Ritual; it is just that Hayder makes it so difficult in places for you to actually like this. The Travelling Man who featured in the last book as a cameo of course shows up again briefly here, but we learn no more about him and he seems to be here just to make the book even more enigmatic and mysterious than it, perhaps, needs to be!
Overall, this is an okay, average thriller but not on a par with any of her earlier novels....