Tuesday 18 March 2014

Book Review: Wolf by Mo Hayder

by Mo Hayder
Jack Caffrey #7
Random House UK
4.5 Stars


I believe, from what I can hear, that either my daughter or my wife has just been attacked. I don't know the outcome. The house is silent. 

Fourteen years ago two teenage lovers were brutally murdered in a patch of remote woodland. The prime suspect confessed to the crimes and was imprisoned.

Now, one family is still trying to put the memory of the killings behind them. But at their isolated hilltop house . . . the nightmare is about to return.


I have read every one of Mo Hayder's books and while I don't think this one is the best (Pig Island takes that place in my mind, I still think about that one years later), it is terrifyingly good.

Detective Jack Caffrey's brother went missing when he was a child, suspected murdered by a child molester who lived nearby, but no body and no evidence were ever found. Those days huant Jack still and colours his life as a policeman.

A vagrant, known locally as the Walking Man, hints that he may know something about Ewan's murder, for he too lost his daughter and never found her body. But in order to reveal what he knows, the Walking Man sets Jack a task: to discover who a lost dog belongs to, a dog with the words 'Help Us' written on cardboard stuck in its collar.

Jack is half-convinced that it is some sort of prank but he decides to give it a go and hopefully find the owners.

Meanwhile, the dog's owners are being held hostage in their remote house, The Turrets, and tortured by the two men who pretended to be policeman. But who are they really? And what do they want? And how do they know so much about the family?

The book is very well-plotted and tightly paced. Something minor might be mentioned in a previous chapter, but later on it might have some vital significance. Lots of clues are there in the story, but it twists and turns this way and that so that you are never quite sure what exactly is going on.

Although this is the 7th book in the Jack Caffrey series, you do not need to read all of those to understand this one - the author gives little notes about previous things, but you aren't hammered over the head with them. Just enough so you're not lost.

Jack is a very realistic character. He is not perfect, he makes mistakes, but you do feel for him and the guilt he still feels after all these years since his brother disappeared. With each book, I think you get to know him a little bit more each time.

And the major twist at the end I did not see coming. I was completely surprised and being such a thriller and crime fan, you have to work hard to do that these days. I was very impressed.

My only niggle, and it is a niggle, is that most of the novel is written in the present tense. I find it more difficult to get into for novels, but Mo Hayder is one author I will read no matter what tense the book happens to be.

This is a book you do not want to read late at night. Tight suspense and a really good twist make this an excellent crime read.

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