Ritual (Jack Caffery Series #3)
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Ritual (Jack Caffery Series #3)

3.8 19
by Mo Hayder

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Mo Hayder's previous novels The Devil of Nanking and The Treatment have ranked her among the most exciting and provocative thriller writers now working. In her latest, Ritual, Hayder gives us a taut, chilling tale of clandestine occult practices, New Age medicine, and the drug underground, set in a hypermodern urban landscape challenged by


Mo Hayder's previous novels The Devil of Nanking and The Treatment have ranked her among the most exciting and provocative thriller writers now working. In her latest, Ritual, Hayder gives us a taut, chilling tale of clandestine occult practices, New Age medicine, and the drug underground, set in a hypermodern urban landscape challenged by colliding immigrant cultures.
Just after lunch on a Tuesday in April, nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there's no body attached is disturbing enough. Even more disturbing is the discovery, a day later, of the matching hand. Both have been recently amputated, and the indications are that the victim was still alive when they were removed. DI Jack Caffery has been newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol. He and Flea soon establish that the hand belong to a young man who has recently disappeared. Their search for him—and for his abductor—lead them into the darkest recesses of Bristol's underworld, where drug addiction is rife, where street-kids sell themselves for a hit, and where one of Africa's most disturbing rituals may be making an unexpected appearance.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

At the start of Hayder's superb third crime novel to feature Det. Insp. Jack Caffery (after The Treatment), Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley, a police diver, retrieves a severed hand from Bristol harbor. Without a corpse, the investigation stalls, until fingerprints identify the hand as belonging to Ian "Mossy" Mallows, a known heroin junkie. While Caffery pursues the drug angle, Flea uncovers a possible connection to muti, a brand of African witchcraft and traditional medicine that incorporates body parts into its rituals. Digging deeper, Caffery and Flea discover that Mallows may still be alive and the men responsible may be using muti as a cover for even darker purposes. Meanwhile, Flea mourns the accidental death of her parents two years earlier while they were diving in a remote pool in Africa's Kalahari desert. Hayder vividly evokes torture and drug abuse, but the violence is never gratuitous. Readers looking for visceral thrills need look no further than this gritty English series. (Sept.)

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Library Journal

After a couple of stand-alone novels (e.g., Pig Island; The Devil of Nanking), Hayder has brought DI Jack Caffery back in her latest moody thriller. Jack has recently transferred from London to the Bristol police department for personal reasons. His first case involves the discovery of a hand in the Bristol harbor. When police diver Phoebe "Flea" Marley suggests that the hand was severed premortem and that the hand may have been used in a muti ritual (involving African witchcraft), Jack finds his investigation following an increasingly horrific and terrifying path. Hayder has learned the power of suggested horror rather then describing it in the overly graphic scenes that were problematic in her first Caffery novel (The Birdman). And the introduction of Flea Marley, who is coming to terms with her own tragedy, balances Jack's personal journey nicely. This one will appeal to fans of Stephen Booth and the BBC series Wire in the Blood. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ5/15/08.]
—Jane Jorgenson

Kirkus Reviews
A gruesome discovery made in the waters surrounding the drug-riddled seaside town of Bristol is the jumping-off point for the popular British author's grisly thriller. Good news for readers: This book, arriving in the wake of its turgid predecessor Pig Island (2007), reintroduces burnt-out police detective Jack Caffery, whose sardonic presence lent powerful gravitas to Hayder's excellent first two novels. Caffery is now a DI in the Mahor Crime Investigative Unit based in Bristol, and thus becomes instantly involved when police diver Sergeant Phoebe "Flea" Marley finds an amputated human hand in the aforementioned waters. Forensics suggest its possessor was alive when the appendage was severed. But when its matching hand soon turns up, the worst is feared, then confirmed, in a parallel narrative that identifies the victim as a notorious drug addict and slowly reveals the depths of the hell into which he had stumbled. Hayder ups the ante tellingly, plaiting together the story of the crime. She continues Caffery's quest for the truth about his younger brother, missing since childhood and presumed long dead, and addresses the demons that haunt Flea, still traumatized by the loss of her parents. When the case of the severed hands (perhaps inspired by the 2001 discovery in the Thames of the murdered body of a young African boy, "Adam") is painstakingly connected to the sale of body parts for use in arcane African religious rituals, the novel's grotesqueries and repetitions emerge as essential elements in a perfectly articulated process of minute ratiocination and honestly earned imaginative empathy. A brilliant recovery of form. Hayder is back. Agent: Kim Witherspoon and DavidForrer/InkWell Management

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Jack Caffery Series, #3
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

Mo Hayder left school at fifteen and has worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, and Tokyo nightclub hostess. This is her fourth novel.

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Ritual (Jack Caffery Series #3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
BookieAB More than 1 year ago
I loved this. It's the first Mo Hayder I've read and will be back for more. It's a deep thriller filled with suspense. There is internal conflict in the two main protagonists, Flea and Caffery, both having suffered some deep trauma in their lives. The main plotline was believable and thought provoking. A fasntastic read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an interesting addition to the series but a bit dark and too freaky. I was scared. I don't read horror stories as I hate being scared.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really, what are the chances of so very many utter nutters congregating in one small place- and that's not even counting freaky Flea and corrosive Cafferty. Simply not at all plausible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mo Hayder is a great "Who did it?" author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointed with some open issues not addressed from book #2.
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
Yes, it's dark. Yes, it's graphic. And, yes, parts of it are disturbing. But it's also brilliant, frightening, and a book you will try your damnedest to read through without interruption. In short, it's Mo Hayder and it's wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of red herrings, but the characters are vivid and interesting. On to numero quatre!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
adunlea More than 1 year ago
Ritual by Mo Hayder (Book Review) Ritual by Mo Hayder is the first novel in her new Walking Man Series. It is a paperback published by Bantam Press and its ISBN is 0553820435. From the author who brought us The Birdman, Skin and The Treatment like the others it is a graphically scary novel not for the faint hearted. While I enjoyed it I felt it was not her best book. To be fair it is the first book in a new series and new characters and scenes are been introduced. This will be a good series. A severed hand is found in Bristol waters and the other hand is found buried under a restaurant. It is believed that the person may be alive. The hands belong to Mossy, a missing drug addict. Mo introduces us to African rituals and folklore but that is not the main story it is a straight forward crime novel. For a female she writes very graphically gruesome scenes and is a major crime thriller writer I look forward to the next in this series. Here is an extract of the book: "Just after lunch on pontoon tanks, then dump a little air from her suit so she was stabilized enough to get to the bottom and take a little time to feel the object.It was pitch dark down there, like having her face in mud, no point in trying to see what she was holding. With most river and harbour diving everything had to be done by touch, so she had to be patient, allow the thing to feed its shape from her fingers up her arm, download an image in her mind. She palpated it gently, closing her eyes, counting the fingers to reassure herself it was human, then worked out which digit was which: the ring finger first, bent away from her, and from that she could figure out which way the hand was lying - palm upward. Her thoughts RITUAL raced, as she tried to picture how the body would be - on its side probably. She gave the hand an experimental tug. Instead of there being a weight behind it, it floated free of the silt, coming away easily. At the place where a wrist should be there was just raw bone and gristle". This book was reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Still grieving the loss of her parents in an accidental drowning two years ago in Boesmansgat (Bushman¿s Hole) in Africa, police diver Sergeant Phoebe ¿Flea¿ Marley recovers from Bristol Harbor, a detached hand no other body part is found. The hand¿s fingerprints identify the limb belonged to heroin addict Ian ¿Mossy¿ Mallows. --- The obvious drug connection is explored by Detective Inspector Jack Caffery Flea investigates a seemingly loose thread tied to the African witchcraft of muti that she knows from her parents deaths in the Kalahari Desert. It uses body parts as part of the rituals. The two cops soon change their minds about finding a corpse as evidnce begins to point towards the victim being alive. They also conclude that the muti ritual is a sleight of the hand (no pun intended) ploy to cover up even more nefarious plans. --- This gritty urban English police procedural hooks the audience from the opening dive until the final confrontation as the two cops uncover a case tied to illegal drug usage and the torture side of muti before realizing there is much more to the investigation. The story line is fast-paced as the readers wonders along side of Caffery and Marley what is going on especially when they feel strongly the victim is breathing. Fans will appreciate this strong investigative thriller (see THE TREATMENT and BIRDMAN neither read by me) as Mo Hayder provides an enjoyable whodunit that focuses on learning what was done. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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