Best-Selling British author reunites two character

Best-Selling British author reunites two characters from a previous novel in this dark but compulsively readable thriller.

Mo Hayder's 2009 novel SKIN reunites Detective Inspector Jack Caffery of Bristol's Major Crimes Investigation Unit with Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley from the Underwater Search Unit in a baffling case involving submerged bodies, suspicious suicides, African hoodoo, kinky adult sex toys and a man with a fetish for human skin. (Caffery and Marley first worked together in Hayder's 2008 thriller Ritual. )

Anti-Hero And Anti-Heroine

Like many of the law enforcement types in noirish thrillers both Caffrey and Marley are willing to break the general public laws of the profession to get at their own private version from the truth.

Marley is struggling to dispose of a body she based in the trunk of her car. (She fears her younger brother Thom continues to be involved in a hit and run fatality.)

Caffery has their own dark secrets (one of which is revealed within the closing pages of the novel.)

If Caffery and Marley would go on to start dating ? they’d probably discover there is a lot in common. As it is, they exchange dialogue in only one scene of the book (and that’s on the job.)

Author Has a Gift for Understatement

Reviewing this novel presents something of a challenge since any discussion from the plot can unwittingly disclose a few of the details in Hayder's carefully crafted narrative. It’s not giving anything method to state that the novel is both an intriguing character study as well as an absorbing mystery. We find out about the characters and why they do what they do as the mystery is constantly on the deepen and evolve.

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    Reading between your lines, we can tell Marley continues to be grieving within the accident that claimed the lives of her parents. Thom may be "irritating, distant and otherwordly. Less than with it." But he’s the only family Marley leaves and she is going to do anything to keep him from jail. Caffrey is also haunted by familial loss. His older brother was murdered by a pedophile and the griefstricken mother defected in the family when Jack was eight years old. The death of his brother and also the desertion of his mother happened 30 years ago however the events have left a lasting mark on his psyche.

    We can assume from the novel that Flea is a fit, athletic and attractive woman in her late twenties and when had an energetic social life. Because the death of her parents, she’s walled herself up emotionally. She still lives in their former home. Hayder hints that Caffrey had his share of girlfriends while stationed in London. Since transferring to Bristol, he’s been consorting with prostitutes. ("He'd reached a place, with forty staring him in the face, when he'd arrived at understand that the only talent he’d with women was understanding how to break them. So he went to girls he would never see again.") His sole friend and confidante is really a convicted criminal known only because the Walking Man.

    Although there’s a subtle sexual tension between Marley and Caffery the author doesn't make a big deal about it. "On that day something had passed between them," Hayder writes. "She knew it, and she or he wondered if they were ever likely to discuss it."

    Gripping But Gruesome

    Hayder has obviously done her homework. Within the acknowledgments she thanks a number of British law enforcement officials for helping her in "inching law enforcement procedural details just a little closer to reality." The author singles out Sgt. Bob Randall of the Avon and Somerset Underwater Search Unit for special commendation.

    The author's insistence on providing graphic forensic details to provide the storyplot maximum authenticity may disturb more sensitive readers. Rest assured that the characters have problems with regards to viewing the sufferers of various atrocities. Caffrey, for example, had "learned how not to think about the individual the corpse had once been: how to see decomposed meat and not a person."

    Mo Than simply a Pretty Face

    The prose might be dark but around the dust jacket flap there’s a picture of the attractive blond woman wearing a mischievous smile and a stylish leather jacket. According to the text under the photo Mo Hayder did "as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess inside a Tokyo nightclub and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia." By having an eclectic resume like that she’s probably learned to be non judgmental. The author accepts her characters with all of their flaws and tells their stories honestly and objectively, even if they do, as Flea puts it, "the wrong things for the right reasons."


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