From Publishers Weekly
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Ritual and Skin, along with Pig Island, demonstrate that Mo Hayder is not a very consistent writer. It's hard to believe that the author of Birdman and The Devil of Nanking could have written a book as bad as Pig Island, but there it is. When Hayder is too fixated on what Stephen King calls "the gross out" (and identifies as the last resort of a good horror writer) to devote attention to consistency and coherence, her books are tiresome and embarrassing.
However, when she is good, she is very, very good. Gone comes closer to good than gross-out. Although it proceeds directly from the last page of Ritual, you don't need to know how Flea Marley ended up with something very unfortunate in her trunk, and Jack Caffrey's apparently permanent miseries do not require entire novels of backstory. Their pursuit of a kidnapper of little girls is a page-turner, and the criminal is about as revolting as most of us can imagine (except for an odd twist at the end). Flea's adventure in the tunnel seems to take up half the book, and the pages turn quickly.
I have quibbles -- It's a bit of cheat (you'll see what I mean) that we don't learn the mechanices of how someone gets impaled on a spike, and there is a bit of Hayder's trademark piling on in what happens to Flea (if you think YOU had a bad day...). As with so many of Hayder's books, the weakest link is the conclusion. She is brilliant at getting into fixes, but vague about getting out again.
I read all this, and I wonder why I bothered to give the book four stars. Read more ›
There was no real tension in the book as it was easy to see the twist early on. The Flea Marley character was annoying and well past her use-by date.
I hope Hayder's next book is better. I would hate to think she's already reached the peak of her writing career.
GONE begins six months after the events of SKIN and is considered to be the third in the Walking Man series. British PI Jack Caffrey and police diver Phoebe "Flea" Marley are prominently featured, with both parties concealing different viewpoints of the same secret, to the detriment of what had been the beginnings of a relationship. Hayder does a wonderful job of bringing new readers up to date while refreshing the memories of those familiar with the series. He pulls this off without missing a step in advancing the story, which is terrifying from the start. The source of the terror is a masked criminal who carjacks a vehicle with an 11-year-old girl in the back seat. At first the kidnapping is thought to be accidental, but then Marley manages to connect the latest incident to two previous cases with startling similarities. Another child is soon abducted during another carjacking, yet is returned shortly thereafter.
When the incidents turn even more bizarre, Caffrey and his team are at a loss. Someone is making a fool of the police inspectors, while young, innocent lives hang in the balance. You've heard of a plot device called "the ticking clock"; GONE feels as if it has a houseful of them, all ready to chime the fateful hour in seconds, as Caffrey and his team are all too well aware that from a statistical standpoint their odds of finding a kidnap victim alive diminish dramatically after 24 hours. Read more ›
This book is a harrowing journey down a swift river, and there were several times I got off the ride only to jump back on as soon as I could. Hayder's villain is given a slow reveal, crafted of skillful slight-of-hand and an accumulation of small tells. The danger is real and ever-present, and she never, ever gives you a guarantee of who is going to make it home at the end of the day.
Gone hooked me so thoroughly that I immediately started on Hayder's first book in the series, Birdman. Comparing the two shows just how far Hayder has come as a writer, and effortless her prose seems to be. I plunged through Gone because I felt I must. Not knowing was unthinkable.
If you like police procedurals and thrillers, British or otherwise, read Gone. But make sure you have an open weekend to do so, because you won't want to put it down.
In MY opinion this book could have been 200 pages shorter. It did not hold MY interest until, around, page 300...... Read more
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