A carjacking goes from bad to horrifying in Hayder's gripping fifth thriller featuring Bristol Det. Insp. Jack Caffery and Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley (after Skin). When Rose Bradley's car is stolen with her 11-year-old daughter, Martha, inside, it appears to be a routine snatch-and-grab. It becomes clear, however, that the carjacker had his sights set on the girl, not the vehicle, when he begins taunting the police, who scramble to find clues to Martha's whereabouts. Jack soon discovers a pattern of similar kidnappings disguised as car thefts, with the level of violence ratcheted up in each case. As Jack tracks the kidnapper above ground, Flea's search takes her below ground and underwater into a decommissioned canal and tunnel, where she fights to save her own life and that of the kidnapped child. Hayder expertly brings to life the claustrophobia of Flea's dives and the emotional burden of the case on Jack. (Feb.)
Jack Caffery and Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley, a police diver, return in Hayder's latest thriller. This is the fifth appearance for Caffery, who debuted in Birdman, and the third for Marley. The events of the previous novel, Skin, have eroded their personal and professional relationship, and Marley and her team are under scrutiny. A new case brings them together, and the two struggle with their partnership and with the brutal criminal they face. What appears to be an accidental kidnapping during a carjacking turns more sinister when the child is not released, a pattern of similar attempted incidents emerges, and they receive a letter from the kidnapper outlining what he's done and what he's planning. VERDICT Readers who can tolerate some graphic descriptions of violence (or skim past them) will be rewarded with a complex, fast-paced, well-written mystery with interesting characters fighting personal and external demons. Recommended for those who enjoy Karin Slaughter and John Connolly.—Beth Blakesley, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
A carjacker in a clown's mask drives off with an 11-year-old girl in the back seat, drawing DI Jack Caffery of Bristol's major-crime unit into a multilayered plot that also brings back unsteady female police diver Flea Marley.
Hayder's fifth novel to feature Caffery (introduced in Birdman, 1999) tones down the gruesome violence (if not the creepy scenarios), delivering a brilliantly plotted mystery that keeps you guessing not only who the villain is, but what exactly he's after. With his poorly disguised antipathy toward children, Caffery is not the best choice to investigate the disappearance of little girls. But the former Londoner, who's still losing sleep over his brother's childhood disappearance, is comfortable on the missing-person trail. Helped by his unhinged but brilliant street friend, the Walking Man, he is led to a canal with a submerged barge and an odd network of air shafts. That's where Marley (introduced in Ritual, 2008) is on her own mission to make up for a traumatic past—not to mention a recent criminal act in taking responsibility for the death of a woman her drunken brother ran over. The complicated personal history of Caffery and Marley provides a compelling undercurrent, as does Marley's confessed love-hate affair with Caffery and his checkered past. She does something most mystery writers wouldn't with their star protagonist: She has him miss major clues and get outsmarted by the mother of a missing girl. But only, of course, to a point.
First-rate mystery that takes full advantage of the wintry, moonlit West Country and the unusual skills of its lady diver.
In addition to the creepy intellectual satisfactions of Hayder's plot, the setting here is agreeably terrifying…It's a tribute to Hayder's powers as a suspense writer that she completely turns the over-familiar premise of this novel inside out and upside down. The more pages of Gone that we captivated readers turn, the farther away we get from cliched thriller conventions.
The Washington Post
…[an] artfully constructed procedural…the visceral thrills don't come at the expense of character. By giving her villain the intelligence to inflict as much emotional as physical pain, Hayder makes him less of a monster and more of a terror.
The New York Times
From the Publisher
Starred review. ""Riveting... Hayder keeps the tension high... The meticulously crafted plot is heightened by Hayder's skillful evocation of mood as she summons the specter of a highly intelligent criminal who is taking great satisfaction from every parent's worst nightmare. A captivating thriller."" - Booklist
""A brilliantly plotted mystery that keeps you guessing not only who the villain is, but what exactly he's after... First-rate mystery that takes full advantage of the wintry, moonlit West Country and the unusual skills of its lady diver."" - Kirkus Reviews
""A carjacking goes from bad to horrifying in Hayder's gripping fifth thriller."" - Publishers Weekly
""A complex, fast-paced, well-written mystery with interesting characters fighting personal and external demons."" - Library Journal
""It's a tribute to Hayder's powers as a suspense writer that she completely turns the over-familiar premise of this novel inside out and upside down. The more pages of Gone that we captivated readers turn, the farther away we get from cliched thriller conventions."" - The Washington Post
""Chilling... Shocks are in store."" - The New York Times Book Review