A.J. LeGrande is the senior nurse at the Beechway High Secure Unit, which houses mentally ill patients. There have been power cuts that have coincided with the deaths of patients. Staff are frequently calling in sick. Patients and staff alike fear the legend of "The Maude", the ghost of a dwarf nurse who sits on their chests. He must figure out who or what is really behind these sightings, and ultimately calls upon Detective Inspector Jack Caffery to help investigate.
Holy heck, what a pile of absolute shit this is.
I have no idea why I keep persisting with Mo Hayder's work. "Birdman" was impressive, and "The Treatment" remains one of the best, most terrifying thrillers I have ever read. I really should have stopped after the dreadful "Hanging Hill", but just couldn't seem to help myself. I keep thinking of how good "The Treatment" was and wonder if she'll magically deliver a good thriller again.
I read "Gone" and this back-to-back, and what a dreary task it was. The Jack Caffery series has become nothing more than a soap opera involving the case of Misty Kitson. She was killed by Flea Marley's brother way back in "Ritual" when he ran into her while driving Flea's car. Flea covered the whole thing up. Jack knows what Flea did and has reopened the case of the disappearance in the hopes she'll come to her senses and help him close the case. He also has unresolved feelings for her.
I have to confess I don't know why Flea keeps roadblocking him, because frankly I just completely skipped any chapter that featured the stupid bitch. This absolutely fucking stupid Misty Kitson subplot has been going on for FOUR BOOKS NOW. It's waaaaaaaaaay past time to drop it.
The plot surrounding this, involving The Maude, is dead in the water. Despite being set in a mental institution, Hayder is completely unable to generate a sense of unease or creepiness, which you would think would be pretty fucking easy when IT'S A MENTAL HOSPITAL. There are no real twists and turns, with the focus mostly on the developing relationship between A.J. and the unit director Melanie Arrow. Because every other chapter jumps back into the completely pointless Misty Kitson case, it doesn't leave time to build many characters, so it's pretty obvious who the culprit is.
Because I read the two books back to back, I was able to pick up a big inconsistency - in "Gone", Jack is 38. "Poppet" is set nine months later, and he's suddenly 42.
And what was up with all the bloody dream sequences? They're endless.
I really hated this book. I'm both amazed and ashamed that I finished it. It is plotless, aimless, boring and stupid. And the worst thing is, I'll probably end up reading "Wolf", the next one, since it's only $7 on Amazon Kindle.