Thursday, September 21, 2017

Also Heard: Ritual by Mo Hayder

Also Heard: Ritual by Mo Hayder, 2008, audio download from Overdrive.

I listened to this a while ago so forgive a brief synopsis and comments.

Hayder's police officer Jack Caffery has left London and headed west to Bristol. He sold his family home, broke up with his London girlfriend and has been living a solitary life except for visits to local prostitutes.

Caffery is called to a local riverside (either the Severn or the Avon, I do not recall) where a hand is found in the water. The police dive team that recovered the hand is led by a young sergeant. The Sergeant is pixie sized, full of energy, and emotionally rocky after the accidental scuba dive drowning of her parents a year or two ago.

Caffery starts working the case as Diver starts to nose around herself. There is a connection between the hand, drug addicts, and African magic that uses animal and body parts. Another victim is found and Diver and Caffery end up teaming up and finding a link among drug dealers, African witchcraft, and deadly religious fraud and extortion.

Caffery and Diver are attracted to each but do not try to romantically engage. Hayder is very good about writing about spoiled relationships and missed relationships. People regularly miss the cues of other people. Hayder sets things up very well so that the reader knows the desires of the characters and roots for the characters to resolve their problems, but Hayder then dashes your hopes as characters misinterpret, lie, get false information, or just miss opportunities. Missed opportunities are another thing Hayder seems to enjoy giving us. This is the third Caffery novel and a previous one had a horrific tale of child sexual abuse and slavery where Caffery's long lost brother is revealed to be alive with Caffery just missing finding the now grown brother.

Hayder's books read like horror as much as crime or mystery. There are some supernatural elements to each book and she can really crank up the dread and scares.

  • I was reminded of several songs or bands when listening to this.
    • Hayder references the city of Portishead. Although I don't think I ever heard any music by Portishead.
    • A character is near Salsbury Hill at one point. 
    • There was a third connection by I connect recall it now. Probably a place name that shows as a song title or lyric.
  • I kept spelling Caffery as Cafferty. Cafferty is flagged as a misspelling but Caffery is not.
  • Bristol is across Bristol Bay from Cardiff. I just read or heard a Cardiff book. Or movie. I cannot recall what.

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