Wolf (Jack Caffery Series #7)by Mo Hayder
Edgar Award winner and internationally best-selling author Mo Hayder has made her name with nightmarishly dark, impeccably-plotted thrillers that hook readers from the first page and won’t let them go. With her latest novel, Wolf, the frighteningly talented Hayder ratchets up the terror yet another notch, with a bone-chilling novel about a family held/i>
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Edgar Award winner and internationally best-selling author Mo Hayder has made her name with nightmarishly dark, impeccably-plotted thrillers that hook readers from the first page and won’t let them go. With her latest novel, Wolf, the frighteningly talented Hayder ratchets up the terror yet another notch, with a bone-chilling novel about a family held hostage in their country home.
Wolf kicks off when a vagrantthe Walking Man, an enigmatic, recurring character in Hayder’s fictionfinds a dog wandering alone with a scrap of paper with the words HELP US” attached to its collar. He’s sure it’s a desperate plea from someone in trouble and calls on Detective Inspector Jack Caffery to investigate. Caffery is reluctant to get involveduntil the Walking Man promises in exchange new information regarding the childhood disappearance of Caffery’s brother. Caffery has no idea who or what he is searching for, but one thing he is sure of: it’s a race against time.
Meanwhile, the Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy local family, are fighting for their lives, held hostage in their remote home ten miles away. As their ordeal becomes increasingly bizarre and humiliating, the family begins to wonder: is this really a random crime?
In Hayder’s unsatisfying fifth crime thriller featuring Somerset-based Det. Insp. Jack Caffrey (after 2013’s Poppet), Jack takes leave from his official duties and throws himself once again into investigating the disappearance of his older brother, Ewan, who vanished at age nine and was thought to be murdered by a local pedophile. Jack turns for help to the Walking Man, a mysteriously wise vagrant, who agrees to provide information about Ewan if Jack will try to find the owner of a lost dog named Bear. Bear escaped from her home after it was invaded by two men posing as police officers and who are keeping her owners—scientist Oliver Anchor-Ferrers; his wife, Matilda; and their 29-year-old daughter, Lucia—hostage. The reasoning behind the in-home kidnapping emerges frustratingly slowly. As Jack and the Anchor-Ferrers look for answers, each in their own way, readers will wish in vain for a cameo from Jack’s intrepid, rule-breaking sometimes partner, Flea Marley. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Co. (U.K.). (May)
“[A] destined-to-be classic . . . Hayder’s work and characters are worth the unending nightmares they will inspire.”The New York Times Book Review
“The home invasion novel to end all home invasion novels . . . Hayder neatly splits genres with this series, borrowing in equal measure from suspense and horror, not unlike John Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels or T. Jefferson Parker’s Charlie Hood books. Wolf is exceptionally original in premise and nightmarish in its rendering.” Bruce Tierney, Bookpage
“Mo Hayder is a master of ratcheting up tension throughout a book to the point that one must simply finish it before doing anything else. Such is the case with Wolf.” George Easter, Deadly Pleasures (Rating: A-)
“Mo Hayder’s books featuring Jack Caffery are always an entertaining and engaging read, and this one doesn’t disappoint.”Euro Crime
“Hayder’s best Jack Caffery thriller yet . . . A home invasion novel like no other . . . Dark and twisty, this gripping crime novel by an Edgar Award winner is an outstanding read, whether Jack is a new character to the reader or an old friend. For fans of John Connolly or Robert Crais.” Marianne Fitzgerald, Library Journal (starred review)
“Perfectly and wonderfully paced, and imaginatively plotted and written . . . There are twists and turns aplenty herenot so many as to be confusing, but just enough to keep the reader reading incessantly from first sentence to last paragraph. . . . Read Wolf; you simply will never forgive yourself if you don’t.”Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter.com
“This grisly tale of a family held hostage cements Hayder’s reputation as a queen of terror. Caffery is pitted against a chillingly evil villain whose brutal actions are both physical and psychological. Several skillfully interwoven plotlines culminate in a shocking ending. . . . A must-read for those who like their thrillers dark and gritty.” Joyce Morgan, Romantic Times (4½ stars)
“If her thriller Wolf is any indication, Mo Hayder has thoroughly mastered the art of reader manipulation. . . . You can’t help but obsessively turn pages. . . . Mo Hayder is one fine story teller. . . . The book is a wild ride, a ride well worth taking.”Jack Goodstein, Blogcritics.org (4 out of 5 stars)
“Hayder . . . once again lures DI Jack Caffery into evil’s morass. . . . Hayder’s story is complex. . . . Sexual obsession, rejection as fuel for violence and revenge on the part of an arms dealer all add to a chilling, ominous atmosphere in which mangled characters lurk. . . . Another adventure for Caffery, a protagonist much like James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux or Paul Cleave’s Theo Tate, doomed to work ‘in the presence of evil.’” Kirkus Reviews
In Hayder's best Jack Caffery thriller yet, a worn-out Jack is feeling all the years he has put into police service and his never-ending quest to find out what happened to his long-lost brother. The novel opens with a young girl finding a stray dog with a ripped note tucked into its collar that states, "Help us." A vagrant known as the Walking Man witnesses this and promises the young girl that he will help the dog. Never one to give out information willingly, the Walking Man surprisingly contacts Jack—offering up a trade: find out who needs help and, in return, the Walking Man will give Jack some closure about his brother. This deal with the devil sets off a home invasion novel unlike no other. The Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy family with secrets and issues of their own, are being held hostage in their estate. Will Jack find them in time? And why was this family chosen in the first place? VERDICT Dark and twisty, this gripping crime novel by an Edgar Award winner is an outstanding read, whether Jack is a new character to the reader or an old friend. For fans of John Connolly or Robert Crais. [Library marketing.]—Marianne Fitzgerald, Severna Park H.S., MD
Hayder (Hanging Hill, 2012, etc.) once again lures DI Jack Caffery into evil's morass. Oliver Anchor-Ferrers owns Turrets, an English country estate in Somerset. Arriving with wife Matilda, daughter Lucia and their dog, Bear, Oliver intends to recuperate after heart-valve surgery. While clearing the garden, Matilda discovers a string of intestines "draped almost delicately in the bushes," a discovery mimicking the residue left after a gruesome killing 15 years past. Back then, Lucia's teenage boyfriend and another girl were murdered and disemboweled. Hayder's story is complex, with narrative threads leading from the old murder; from the present, as the Anchor-Ferrers are held captive and tortured; and from the muddied mind of Caffery, who stumbles into the murderous affair as he searches out his own demons. Rural Somerset comes alive, with the lush green growth, the rain, and the cranky, isolated Victorian estate beyond cellphone coverage. Fueled by whisky, e-cigarettes and indifference to authority, Caffery's the archetypical angst-driven hero, obsessed by the pedophile ring that kidnapped his brother decades earlier. It's the Walking Man, an itinerant loner who obsessively circles the site of his own daughter's murder, who finds the dog, Bear, with the message "Help Us" attached to his collar. That draws Caffery into the hostage situation. Sexual obsession, rejection as fuel for violence and revenge on the part of an arms dealer all add to a chilling, ominous atmosphere in which mangled characters lurk—Ian the Geek and Honig, the captors; the retired colonel who lives nearby with a wheelchair-bound wife and a nurse in his bed; and Oliver, fraught with fractured mortality after his heart operation and yet strong enough to puzzle out the source of the obscene bloodlust. Another adventure for Caffery, a protagonist much like James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux or Paul Cleave's Theo Tate, doomed to work "in the presence of evil."
Meet the Author
Mo Hayder has worked as a filmmaker, Tokyo nightclub hostess, and English as a second language teacher. She has won the Edgar Award for Best Novel for Gone and the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library award for outstanding body of work. She is also the author of Birdman, The Treatment, The Devil of Nanking, Pig Island, Ritual, Skin, Hanging Hill, and Poppet. She lives in England.
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The first several pages are in the third person, with pov being that of Amy, a five-year-old with verbiage typical of a child that age (a bit disconcertingly). Early on the reader is given hints about a place deep in the woods near Litton, Somerset, in the West Country of England, where a gruesome murder took place 14 years before in a place then called The Donkey Pitch, known as “the Wolf murders,” the details of which are perhaps better left unspecified. The story begins with a home invasion of a wealthy family living in a very isolated area less than a mile from The Donkey Pitch, in a home called The Turrets; the husband, 64, who has recently undergone serious heart surgery, his wife, 60 years old, and their daughter, a young woman in her late 20’s, are terrorized. As the author says, “there is even more to this story than meets the eye.” Much more. The chapters throughout are quite brief, and primarily alternate the pov from that of the hunter, DI Jack Caffery, to the hunted. In this newest novel to feature this protagonist, Caffery, now in his mid-forties, has never married or had children, and here is growing philosophical, thinking back to more innocent times. There is a theme of “what it’s like to have someone you love go missing. Not knowing. Day after day after day - - it’s hell on earth.” About three-quarters of the way through the novel, matters take an OMG turn that left this reader stunned, after which the suspense grows exponentially. But I was totally unprepared for the twist with which the author brings the book to a conclusion. Although the clues are there if one is prescient enough to discern them, it is still a stunning climax to this engrossing, and highly recommended, novel.
Then Mo Hayder pulls the rug out from under you. I almost gave up on this book as I thought it was goign to be a typical home invasion sadism torture store....It is not! Stay with it and you will be rewarded.
This novel started out slow compared to earlier works. It took me awhile to get into the story, but once I did, I really loved it. No spoilers, but I guessed early on who the 'bad guy' was, and then was thrown off for awhile second guessing myself. I turned out to be right after all, but there are a lot of excellent twists and turns leading up to it.
Not as in depth in plot as other books in this series. Could have made several scenes mush more dramatic i.e. when the Walking man reveals his brothers fate. In general a good book just not quite as up to par as others.
***REVIEW COPY*** I went into this book with no preconceived ideas. The book was spectacularly executed.Mo Hayder has proven that she knows how to wow an audience.