Book Review: Mo Hayder – Poppet

Author: Boho

book review

I have often asked my Husband Nik to write for my wedding Blog, but alas weddings just aren’t his thing, however he does like a good read, a good film and a good TV programe! For that reason I have asked Nik if he will become a regular contributor to the blog and come on to review stuff for me. Now I’m not a big reader, it’s not that I don’t like reading, I just don’t get the time, so Nik will be reading a book every month for me and giving the blog his honest review. Please make him feel welcome!

Can Jack Caffrey Stare Pure Evil in the Eye and Survive??

What can I say about Mo Hayder’s writing style, other than suspenseful!!
Poppet is the 5th book in a series called the Walking Man series and is the 6th book to contain DI Jack Caffrey as a City cop sent to the sticks to investigate crime as part of the Major Incident Crime Unit (MICU).


Mo Hayder is known for her thriller / horror / suspense books and Poppet certainly does not disappoint on any of those points. From Birdman (my first book) to Ritual (my second) and up to Poppet (my third – I have missed out on Skin and Treatment – not for long!) I have been on the edge of my seat and behind the sofa at the same time! These books are not to be read before bed time, which is for sure!

We start out in Beechway High Security Unit in the West Country (Avon and Somerset) where an in-patient is petrified of a supernatural creature called The Maude. The first chapter sets the scene so well that for the rest of the book, you are intrigued and scared in equal measure as to what The Maude is and what it is capable of doing?!
We are then introduced to the newly promoted Senior Psychiatric Nurse, AJ, who seems out of his depth and hopelessly infatuated with the newly arrived Director of the unit, Melissa.
Since The Maude’s first appearance, staff have been calling in sick to avoid the night shift and AJ is left with the rounds for the 3rd night in a row. Even the staff who do make it in to work tonight are not up to completing their rounds and so it befalls AJ to proceed alone.
This is when we meet Monster Mother – a patient convinced that she has given birth to all the other patients and staff and who thinks she can hide from The Maude by removing her own skin and becoming invisible. AJ is her favourite ‘Child’ and she is keen to describe The Maude to him this evening and to explain what happened to the last 3 victims in the unit of The Maude. Frightening stuff so far!
Each of the victims have been found with religious writing on their bodies and have been murdered or mutilated by The Maude….

We have Zelda – as far as the Post Mortem is concerned – killed by a heart attack due to obesity, Moses, who took out his own eye with a spoon – put down to his psychotic episodes – and Penny – died of hyperthermia after walking the grounds of Beechway. The patients, however, think otherwise!
We then meet DI Jack Caffrey – a London cop in Avon and Somerset making his 6th appearance in one of Mo’s novels – who is currently working a missing person case of a drug addicted WAG and Glamour Model with the mother of the victim set to appear on the national news demanding answers as to the searches for her missing daughter some 18 months after her disappearance. DI Caffrey tells her there have been no developments and that he will expand the search – but is this the truth or does Jack know more than he is letting on??
Back to Beechway and the release of a rehabilitated patient – Isaac. Isaac has been a patient on an acute ward since he brutally murdered his parents when he was just 14 years old and after 15 years of therapy and rehabilitation, Melissa has pushed through his release with the external bodies to reach targets and take some pressure off her shoulders. Is this the right decision for all concerned?
After years of trying, AJ begins to see some affection from Melissa and spends the night with her after introducing her to the joys of cider in the West Country. AJ has successfully avoided the reasons that people are sent to Beechway, wanting to treat them with respect and to give them the chance to change. This is turned on its head when he is convinced he sees Isaac stalking Melissa in her garden. The next morning, Melissa’s silver bracelet is missing from her jewellery box. This drives AJ to find out more about the case of Isaac.
He finds that when he was arrested, Isaac was carrying stinking effigies that he would not let go for his entire time in Beechway and these carried with them a distinct and disgusting odour. With this in mind and still trying to avoid the full details of the case, he approaches DI Jack Caffrey for assistance.

What follows is a chase around the Avon and Somerset countryside, looking for an unstable High Security psychiatric patient, capable of the most heinous crimes, below the dark cloud of a high profile missing person.
Is Isaac the real danger? Does Jack know the whereabouts of Misty Kitson?  Is someone responsible for the illusion of The Maude?

Read Poppet and find out.





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