This is a rather odd choice of book for me, when I bought it I was half way through American Horror Story: Asylum so the similarity must have compelled me to buy it. You’ll see what I mean by the photograph.
Poppet by Mo Hayder is part of her Jack Caffrey series. Caffery is the typical grizzled Detective Inspector: single, whisky drinking, more secrets that most of the criminals. You know the type. He’s working on a case which began before this book and continues afterwards revolving around the disappearance of Misty, a young model. As more and more dead ends are reached Caffery is pressured to take on new cases and one comes along in the form of The Maud of Beechway High Security Unit.
Beechway is the home to severely mentally disturbed patients and criminals. Recently something has got them acting even more erratically. The Maud. Rumours of a spectre haunting the hallways and forcing the patients to commit horrific acts are rife and the fear is spreading from the inmates to the staff. AJ, the Nurse Coordinator believes that he’s seen it all, that it’s mass hysteria, but eventually even he is spooked. When he discovers that the incidents all seem to coincide with power cuts and that a particularly dangerous inmate has been released, perhaps too early, he decides to act. He goes against the wishes of his boss and lover, Melanie Arrow, the hospital Director and contacts DI Caffrey to investigate.
The main problem I had with this book was that it assumes a prior connection to the character of DI Caffrey, a reasonable assumption so I can’t criticise it too much for this. However, I found him unrelateable and did not understand his motivations for his actions. Similarly, I didn’t get along with the character of Flea, the police diver Caffrey is going to some lengths to protect.
Poppet blends horror into the crime novel genre. It is an enjoyable read and the main story of whats going on at Beechway has enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the partial story of the disappearance of Misty. Enough is explained that this can be a stand-alone novel, but sadly it doesn’t motivate me to find out more and lack of empathy with the central characters does not make me want to read more in the Jack Caffrey series. That said, I ould be open to reading Mo Hayder’s other novels, such as Pig Island or Hanging Hill that do not feature DI Caffrey.
I rated this book 2 stars on Goodreads (would have been 2.5 though if that was an option – it was OK, I liked some of it).