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Poppet (Jack Caffery) [Kindle Edition]

Mo Hayder
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $15.00
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Book Description

Mo Hayder has for years been a master of chilling, seamlessly-plotted thrillers that keep the reader glued to the page long after lights out, and fresh off of winning the Edgar Award for Best Novel for Gone, Hayder is at the top of her game. Her latest novel, Poppet, is Hayder at her most terrifying: a gripping novel about the search for a dangerous mental patient on the loose.

Everything goes according to procedure when a patient, Isaac, is released into the community from a high security mental health ward. But when the staff realize that he was connected to a series of unexplained episodes of self-harm amongst the ward’s patients, and furthermore that he was released in error, they call on Detective Jack Caffery to investigate, and to track Isaac down before he can kill again. Will the terrifying little effigies Isaac made explain the incidents around the ward, or provide the clue Caffery needs to predict what he's got planned?

Mo Hayder is renowned for conjuring nightmares that sink under the skin, and in Poppet she has delivered a taut, unbearably suspenseful novel that will not let readers go.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hayder's new thriller, book six in her series featuring Det. Insp. Jack Caffery, finds the London homicide cop haunted by the events of a previous case. Perhaps because of this, the novel focuses on a second protagonist, AJ LeGrande the newly minted head nursing coordinator at a high-security psychiatric hospital in Bristol, who is beginning to suspect that the facility's patients have been tormented and brutalized by a former patient. Both Caffery and LeGrande are rich, conflicted characters, and as the plot shifts from one to the other, the narration provided by Steven Crossley, though remaining coolly objective, changes in suitably subtle ways. His description of AJ's workspace has a moody, ominous quality, darkened by the presence of a rumored ghost, and patients such as a chillingly addled inmate called Monster Mother. Le Grande's home life is described with a brighter tone; he lives in a cottage with a beloved dog and a half-Jamaican aunt who cares for him. On the other hand, Crossley uses consistent, darkly terse narration for Caffery's sections of the book, lightened only slightly by the interplay with his assistant, Flea Marley. Eventually, LeGrande convinces Caffery to become fully engaged in the grim criminal doings at the hospital. And at that point, the narration quickens and becomes increasingly purposeful as the book races to its satisfying conclusion. An Atlantic Monthly hardcover. (Apr.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Even the staff are losing it in Beechway High Secure Unit, a Victorian workhouse turned mental hospital where grotesque acts of self-harm have resurrected the legend of a terrifying ghost called The Maude. Senior nurse A. J. LeGrande suspects that a recently released patient was behind the incidents but delays action at the request of clinical director and love interest Melanie Arrow. When he finally does decide to call Detective Jack Caffery (last seen in Gone, 2011), will it be too late? Meanwhile, ongoing tension between Caffery and police diver Flea Marley builds to a simmer as Caffery decides it’s time for them to bring the bones of a missing girl to light. The internationally best-selling, Edgar-winning Hayder continues her stunning run of form, blending horror and procedural as few others can, undergirding the seemingly supernatural with carefully engineered plots and (mostly) explainable events. The pace is more slow-burn than rapid-fire, but the atmosphere of mounting dread will keep readers engrossed. An added bonus here is the way Hayder shows people in a part of England (jam- and cider-making hippies on the overgrown outskirts of Bristol) rarely featured in the crime fiction that washes up on our shores. Nightmarishly good. --Keir Graff

Product Details

  • File Size: 514 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (May 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B6U09Y0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Something evil stalks the halls of Beechway psychiatric hospital - or so the patients and some of the staff believe. They call it the Maude and say that it's the spirit of a woman who once worked in the hospital years ago. When a patient dies unexpectedly, rumors of the Maude begin circulating once again. For AJ LeGrande, it begins as an inconvenience and a difficulty in keeping the wards staffed on overnight shifts. It soon becomes something worse, though, when AJ starts to suspect that there might be some truth in the rumors. But AJ doesn't believe the Maude is anything supernatural. In fact, he believes the Maude could actually be one of Beechway's recently released patients. AJ approaches Jack Caffery in hopes the detective might be able to begin a quiet inquiry. It would be bad for Beechway and its staff if it was discovered they'd released someone who is a danger to society. For Caffery, the case begins as a nuisance but quickly intrigues him. And it's an opportunity to take his mind off the other issues that have been plaguing him of late.

This latest from Hayder is another installment in her long running Jack Caffery series It's just as dark and somewhat gruesome as the others, so do be prepared. It's also not one I'd recommend using as a starting point with the series, though I will say that it's entirely possible. Hayder is a master plotter in my humble opinion. She always seems to be two steps ahead, something the reader will only realize in continuing further into the series.

Poppet can essentially stand on its own but the book picks up in the aftermath of the previous installments so parts of the plot do rely on events that have taken place in past titles.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling read April 29, 2013
Mo Hayder is an author who delves deep into the darker recesses of the human psyche, and how much darker are the psyches of patients in a mental hospital, some of them there because they have committed horrendous crimes?

AJ, the head psychiatric nurse doesn't want to know why the patients are here, he doesn't want to know what crimes they may have committed to get incarcerated at Beechway, he treats them all with dignity and respect, no matter what they may have done in the past. When the patients start worrying about being haunted by something called 'The Maude', AJ wants to get to the bottom of things, but things go from bad to worse, with deaths and disfigurements of patients. Is there really something otherworldly that is responsible for the deaths or is the answer somewhere closer to home?

This is the sixth Jack Caffrey book, but don't worry if you haven't read any of the others, this works well as a stand-alone novel and I would say that AJ was our main protagonist here, with a few cameo roles from Jack.

The plot twists and turns like any good mystery should and leaves you guessing right till the end. It's been a long time since I've read a mystery where I hadn't guessed the twist a mile away, here I didn't and I was so pleased to be surprised!

AJ was a wonderful, sympathetic character, trying his best to care for his charges in the face of budget cuts, lack of staff who refused to cover the night shift and an old building that is crumbling around them. I adored AJ's Aunt Patience, who always made him a big breakfast whenever he got home, no matter what time of day it happened to be.

I loved the book, but it took a while to get into the flow of it because it was written in the present tense.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a huge, huge fan of Mo Hayder's "Walking Man" canon of novels, featuring Detective Jack Caffery, SGT Flea Marley, and, of course, "The Walking Man" himself. This book was disappointing to me. First of all, Walking Man does not even appear at all! Secondly, unlike her previous books, Ms. Hayder seems to have demonstrably eased off on the descriptive usage of her usually-enthralling horror and mayhem, which I found to be a real negative. Thirdly, while Jack and Flea are still intriguing protagonists -- and their love/hate relationship is becoming more and more fascinating -- the other characters (including the evil antagonists) were not particularly interesting, IMHO. Mo is still a sensational author, and I will always buy and read her books. This one, however, fell short of my usual expectations of her writing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying. June 26, 2013
I've recently discovered Mo Hayder and started with the Ritual/Skin/Gone trilogy. Hugely impressed - definitely NOT run-of-the-mill American crime writing. I particularly like how she doesn't wrap everything up in a nice, neat package at the end.

Hayder continues her fantastically disturbing writing in Poppet. The beginning was so uncomfortable that I actually had to put it down for a day before I went back to finish it. It's too bad that the reviewers who complain about "not enough Jack" can't get beyond the fact that Hayder writes non-formulaic, original stories. I frankly don't want a "Jack Cafferty" series a la Spenser or other predictable, familiar plots. I hope Hayder continues to explore the strange and bizarre minds of her anti-heroes in her future novels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Poppet
Back to her best, was very disappointed with Gone and stopped reading her books but this was excellent. Could not put it down.
Published 9 days ago by catharine gray
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my kind of book!
I read about two pages, then deleted it from my active reading list. I don' t intend to go back and read it later. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Lolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Mo Hayder does it again!
Another awesome mystery by Mo Hayder. Really enjoy her writing style and plots. Keeps you interested with a few unexpected twists and turns. Not formulaic.
Published 12 days ago by slow lane swimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars creepy good
You never know which way the author is going to take you. So many stories are intertwined. This book starts slower than Gone, but stick with it. It's fascinating.
Published 13 days ago by Lisa Pittman
3.0 out of 5 stars Poppet
Found the whine story and idea intriguing but was a bit long winded. To be honest got a bit bored but stuck with it. Was surprised at the ending
Published 17 days ago by Julie Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Strings you along - great read
Lots of twists and turns - interesting characters - will read more by this author - very satisfying read - enjoyed it
Published 20 days ago by Cheryl C Beck
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I would never have guessed the ending in this one! Perceptions...things and people are not always what they seem, a must read.
Published 21 days ago by Helene
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
The characters really suck you in. You get involved with them, and are really surprised at the way things turn out.
Published 25 days ago by Judith Coulter
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing here to keep me reading
I admit that I stayed with it longer than I should have. I kept thinking it would kick start. It never did. Character development was slow, story-line was weak. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Patricia D Dunbar
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Reading
Every experienced mystery reader knows to suspect the least suspicious character in every book he reads, regardless of the "facts" presented in the story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Aben Rudy
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