Mo Hayder

Bantam Press Hbk £14.99

Released: February 4th 2010

Reviewer: Sue Lord


Sue Lord went to Art School and became an illustrator. She had success in later life as a painter but after the last recession decided to 'paint with words' and began writing short stories for magazines. She has an MA in creative writing, runs courses and does script doctoring.


I have two confessions, the first is that I have never read a Jack Caffrey novel before but have enjoyed Mo Hayder’s stand alone books. 

Gone is the latest in the series. It is set in November in the West Country and Caffrey is investigating a carjacking, an eleven year old girl was in the back seat at the time. But this crime is different, it doesn’t follow the usual pattern and the child is still missing. Before long it’s clear that the ‘Jacker’ will strike again. 'It's started,' he tells them. 'And it ain't going to stop just sudden, is it?'  Before long he is outmaneuvering the police, he is clever and somehow he knows what the police are going to do next, he also has intimate knowledge of his victims private lives, their homes and families. The Jacker seems to be ahead of the police, every step of the way. 

Flea Marley is a sergeant who works with the Underwater Search Unit and assists in the search for the missing girl. There is tension between her and Caffrey, they have a history, this is a sub plot which adds to the conflict. Caffrey spends the night with the Walking Man, a vagrant with a purpose. Another sub plot, with an intriguing character who also has a past history with Caffrey. 

There is much less explicit violence than I have come to expect in Mo Hayder’s books. This I found a relief as more and more books use graphic detail of carnage as a substitute for writing and a good plot. This story is satisfying, it is a ‘page turner,’ although some readers may guess who the Jacker is ahead of the revelation, it won’t be until near the end of the book. Mo Hayder has thoroughly researched her characters and the worlds they inhabit, hence the novel is packed with relevant detail. 

My second confession? The ‘C’ word, I am not a prude by any means, but I found the constant repetition of this word, not offensive but tedious. Used once it makes an impact but over and over that shock factor is nullified and I lost count of the number of times it was used. Since the book is so well written with excellent plotting and an intriguing story, the ‘C’ words were mostly unnecessary.  I very much enjoyed this book and will now read all the other Caffrey books and look forward to the next.






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