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Books 158-159: The Treatment and The Ritual by Mo Hayder

Book 158: The Treatment (Jack Caffrey #2).
Author: Mo Hayder, 2001.
Genre: Police Procedural. Crime Fiction. Disturbing Themes.
Other Details: Hardback. 410 pages.

A quiet residential street in south London. A husband and wife are discovered, imprisoned in their own home. Badly dehydrated, they've been bound and beaten. He is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing. When Detective Inspector Jack Caffery is called in to investigate, the similarities with events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime dispassionately. And as he digs deeper - as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both his past and his present - the real nightmare begins ... - synopsis from author's website.

A crime novel dealing with he subject of child abduction, sexual assault and murder was never going to be comfortable reading and here the feeling was that Hayder had picked up a rock to expose something very nasty indeed lurking in South London.

Jack Caffrey is himself consumed by the disappearance of his brother Ewan some 25 years ago and that drives him in his determination to solve the case but is also his weakness. Here there is a horrific irony as he manages to find a clue realting to Ewan and contacts a member of a paedophile gang who claims to know more about Ewan's fate. Just heart-breaking in places.

Book 159: The Ritual (Jack Caffrey #3).
Author: Mo Hayder, 2008.
Genre: Police Procedural. Crime Fiction. Drugs.
Other Details: Paperback. 560 pages.

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. Yet 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 hands belong to a boy 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 an ancient evil lurks; an evil that feeds off the blood - and flesh - of others ...
- synopsis from author's website.

I had wondered about the long gap between The Treatment and this third novel and according to the end notes Mo Hayder decided to drop Jack Caffrey as a character but then when she came to write The Ritual, which she thought was going to be the first of a new series starring police diver Flea Marley, when Jack popped into her consciousness and she elected to reintroduce him here away from London.

From the opening pages I adored Flea and was also glad of the move to the West Country as well as seeing Jack again. The Ritual was a less graphic crime thriller than her first two books in this series though still had its uncomfortable moments and was a thrilling read from start to finish.
Tags: crime fiction, drugs, police drama, sexual violence
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