Gone by Mo Hayder

This was the first of Mo Hayder’s novels that I have read, and the fifth in her Jack Caffery series. I saw it highly recommended as a well-crafted suspense novel on Goodreads, and so decided to give it a try. There were many great things about Gone. Mo Hayder has created loveable and complex characters in her tight-lipped, strong and capable  detective Jack Caffery. And police diver Flea Marley, his adventurous, flawed, perfectly-imperfect love interest, is also easy to care about. Despite making some big mistakes in their lives, these characters are impossible not to root for, and I would like to read more in Hayder’s series in order to follow their stories. 

Jack and Flea also add a sense of goodness and human decency that is at the heart of Gone. Without them, the story would be so bleak and grisly as to be depressing. Gone ventures into hard-to-face territory without flinching, and brings up the very real issues of child abduction and its far-reaching affects on the families of victims. For me, the “ick factor” in Gone detracted from my enjoyment of the story. 

Another difficulty I had with the story was in imagining the tunnels and caves in which so much of the action took place. Hayder’s descriptions of the underground caverns were confusing to me.

But the novel ended in a positive and unusual note, hinting at some almost mystical connections between people who love each other. Along with that, I really enjoyed Hayder’s character of the Walking Man, a mysterious vagrant who helps Caffery out from time to time and seems almost like an angel.

In the end, I appreciated Gone as a novel with a strong sense of place, complex and realistic characters, an unexpected plot twist, and lots of detail that made the action seem realistic and well researched. I cared enough about the characters to want to read more about them, but the horror of the crimes that Caffery and Flea investigate meant that I will take a break before I venture into their world again.          


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