Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ear Noises: "Skin" by Mo Hayder

Ear Noises: Skin by Mo Hayder, 2009, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.

The third Ryan Caffery novel I've listened to. Or maybe the fourth, I cannot recall. Doesn't Hayder also write horror novels? This series has had some very unsettling scenes of murder and abuse but Skin does not have as much of the others.

This novel takes up only a few days after the end of the previous novel, Ritual. In Ritual Caffery is integral to catching a small group of men in Bristol, England who killed people and used their body parts to sell for witchcraft. Caffery worked with police diver "Flea" and the two of them lead this novel as well.

Caffery is still seen as a hotshot detective recently arrived from London. His squad is searching for a missing celebrity, a football player's wife. At the same time Caffery identifies the possible murder of a woman whose death is called suicide. Caffery is forced to work the missing person case but thinks the suicide/murder may be related to the murders in the last novel.

Flea is still a driven person but the last novel's focus on the lasting trauma over parent's diving deaths takes a backseat to her idiot and feckless brother. Feckless Brother borrowed hr car a week ago and tore into her driveway one night with a cop on his tail. Feckless was boozed up and Flea claimed she was the driver to keep him out of trouble.

But, a few days later Flea realizes the Eau de Corpse in her workplace is not from poorly cleaned gear but is from her car parked next to the building's air intake. Turns out Feckless ran over Missing Celebrity and killed her. Feckless stuck the body in the car trunk and pretended it never happened. Fucking ass.

Super protective Flea is trying to protect her brother and find a way to deal with the body. Caffery is lying to his boss, finding out someone has been following him, and kinda wants to get closer to Flea.

Hayder's skill is in taking all these story lines and having them overlap but never quite meet. Unlike many novels where different story lines meet together at a story’s climax and denouement Hayder has those many connection miss. Characters know things and act in ways that would solve serious personal and legal issues for others, yet know one knows this. Hayder gives us a bigger emotional oomph when a criminal goes free, a cop misses a clue, or a victim dies alone because of those missed personal connections.

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