Poppetby Mo Hayder
Edgar winner and internationally best-selling author Mo Hayder returns with a terrifying thriller about the hunt for a homicidal mental patient.
Poppet is Hayder at her most terrifying: A gripping novel set in a high-security mental health ward. Something is not right at Beechway psychiatric unit. First one resident turns violently to self-harm, then another to suicide—both recalcitrant patients with no prior history of self-directed violence. Rumor has it that the place is being terrorized by a creature called The Maude. Clinic higher-ups dismiss this as superstition, but the surviving victim certainly saw something. When staff Nurse AJ LeGrande calls on Detective Jack Caffery to investigate, what he learns about what’s going on inside and outside the hospital will shock him and place individuals beyond the ward walls in danger. And what of Flea Marley, the police diver whose dark secret Caffery has been keeping? Can he save her from herself, or will she take him down with her?
“Mo Hayder has written some of the grisliest crime fiction in recent memory. . . . Nowhere is Hayder’s portrayal more nuanced and compelling than in Poppet. . . . A compelling mystery that will cause fans and new readers alike to ponder not just who did it, but why.” —Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times
“Dipping into Poppet when the house was silent and the rain was spattering against the windows probably wasn’t a good idea: The book oozes sinisterness from the first page. . . . [Its] high-wire tension . . . never wavers.” —Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly
“Poppet is a seriously dark piece of work, but that’s what Mo Hayder does best. . . . A truly frightening, and at times grotesque, read.” —Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News
“Enthralling . . . plays out in tantalizing fashion. . . . Hayder’s sharply drawn characters, major and minor, and her psychological acumen combine for a frightening and convincing read.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“If there’s anything better than being poleaxed by a book, it’s turning to the “also by this author” page and seeing EIGHT previous books to dive into, including one Edgar winner. Mo Hayder knows what’s scary. Insanity is scary. Malevolent dwarfs in nightgowns are scary. Motionless, faceless beings standing in your yard watching your bedroom window at night—scary. . . . Story and character get equal weight as LeGrande and Cafferty work through the clues surrounded by a cast of very real personalities, at a pace that lets us absorb a plot point and then move on to the next.” —Salem Macknee, Charlotte Observer
“Hayder’s latest installment in the Jack Caffrey series (after Hanging Hill and the Edgar award-winning Gone) is a creepy, twisty thrill ride that doesn’t stop and will give you the shivers if you dare to read it at night. This is another winner.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“The internationally best-selling, Edgar-winning Hayder continues her stunning run of form, blending horror and procedural as few others can, undergirding the seemingly supernatural with carefully engineered plots. . . . The atmosphere of mounting dread will keep readers engrossed. . . . Nightmarishly good.” —Keir Graff, Booklist (starred review)
“Mo Hayder has a talent for weaving the macabre through the mysterious in equal parts, resulting in a tapestry that presents a tantalizing and puzzling mystery that mesmerizes even as it shocks. So it is with Poppet, which gives readers an opportunity to warmly welcome the return of Detective Inspector Jack Caffery. . . . Be warned: Poppet is a shocker, though delightfully so. . . . Hayder twists and turns the primary plot into 90- and 180-degree angles yet never lets the reader get lost, confused, or misdirected. And while you might guess some of what will happen, there is almost no way that you will figure out all of it before its time, particularly the subtle little anti-climax you will never see coming yet makes perfect sense. Poppet will have you placing Mo Hayder on your must-read list, if she wasn’t there already.” —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter.com
“Is there any creepier setting than a mental institution? Combine that tried-and-true horror milieu with the talent of an author who can make the brightly lit streets of Tokyo feel sinister, and it’s almost an unfair advantage. But that’s what we get with Mo Hayder’s sixth Jack Caffrey thriller, Poppet.” —Bookpage (Book Case blog)
From the bed Monster Mother stares at the triangle of light coming from under the door. It’s muddied, agitated. Something is waiting there outside her room. Lingering.
Silently she pushes herself out of bed and creeps to the furthest corner of the room. Her eyes don’t leave the door. She knows what’s out there. The Maude.
Monster Mother glances frantically around the room—checking every corner, every crack in the plaster. Any place at all that The Maude can crawl in. She knows more about The Maude than anyone in this place does. But she can’t talk about what she knows—that would be dangerous.
Carefully she pushes her hand up under the thin red negligee she wears and moves her trembling fingers along the skin between her breasts. When she finds the thing she needs she tugs. It hurts, but she continues. There is a wet smacking sound as her stomach muscles spring free from her skin.
Monster Mother takes a deep breath and straightens up—solid and brave—her stripped muscles glinting in the security lights. She faces the door.
The Maude will never find her now.