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on 27 May 2013
I have read all Mo Hayders books. They never disappoint and this one is no exception. The characters plot and subplots throughout are masterful writing and completely compulsive reading. Poppet follows on from the last Jack Caffery novel and provides answers and conclusions to certain questions and events. The main plot leads the reader through a series of disturbing events and just when you think you have reached a conclusion behind the crimes being committed everything is turned on its head. I will not give any details of the plot as this would spoil it for the reader. Also if you are new to Mo Hayder start at the beginning of the Jack Caffrey Novels and work your way up to this 6th edition. It's a journey worth taking for those who love gritty and often shocking crime detective fiction.
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on 7 April 2013
DI Jack Caffery is called in to investigate disturbing happenings at the Beechway psychiatric unit in Bristol: familiar territory - I kept expecting Jenny Cooper to appear in her role as coroner!
Senior nursing coordinator AJ, troubled by seemingly supernatural phenomena leading to self harm and even a death among patients, decides it is time to seek police help. Enter Jack Caffery, though AJ does a good job of investigating himself.
Interesting characters, and the relationships between them, move the story forward, and we are given the latest instalment in the Caffery/Flea Marley saga involving the disappearance of celebrity Misty Kitson.
Not the best Mo Hayder book I've read, but I enjoyed it anyway.
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on 1 January 2014
I have seen a few debates lately about how a book cover influences the reader on whether they want to read the book. Poppet, for me, has a terrifying cover. One of the better reasons for reading the book as an e book was that I didn't have to look at it.
The story is very good. Caffery is an unconventional cop. Like so many other unconventional cops that we see now, but he is also a thoroughly likeable one who wants to do the right thing. I thought that the story wouldn't have any surprises but there were plenty of them.
I have read two of the books in this series and will definitely be reading the earlier books and the new one that is due later in the year.
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on 24 April 2014
When I read Birdman many years ago I found the book so frightening that I could feel my heart beat in my chest . I would get in my car at night and check that no one was hiding on the back seat. I loved Jack, his style, vulnerability . The story line about his brother was haunting. Sadly only The Treatment invoked those feeling. I started to doubt whether Hayder used a ghost writer for the others , I didn't recognise the writing style and the characters were rather lame. Maybe I'm wrong . Perhaps Birdman wasn't that great I will have to read it again and see. Like other readers I dislike the short chapters , they make the book too easy to put down .
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on 11 April 2014
To write a series of books featuring the same character gives a writer some advantages but also makes demands on their ability to expand their character and let the novels grow. This novel is stale; it really is not going anyehere new or anywhere good. The setting is a rather stereotyped mental hospital which allows a few worn cliches about mental illness to be deployed. I also gives us a murderer who has killed his parents to distract us from the "real" killer. There is the boring ongoing sub-plot of a lost sister-in-law - this allows for a cave diving diversion. And there is a dog. It all adds up to a tedious story badly told.
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on 3 June 2013
Dissapointing. This was a potentially really good read. I started off very keen, eager to turn the pages as with" Birdman" and "The Treatment". It had all the ingredients of Mo Hayder`s thrillers-exciting, at times terrifying and fast paced.
The disappointment came near the end for me- the characterization of the perpetrator was not believable- being weak and unfounded descriptively- being an avid fan of thrillers ,and well read with regard to psychological profiling and MO- it just did not work.
It was like a train that had abruptly ran out of steam.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 March 2013
Ever since the publicaton of Birdman, still in the top 10 list of my favourite crime reads ever, I always await the next Mo Hayder title with bated breath. Poppet is the latest in the the DI Jack Caffrey series and fear not if you have not dipped into these before as there is a cogent covering of back story for the new reader. In this new book, Caffrey is drawn into a series of mysterious deaths at a pyschiatric unit, but are lives being lost by human or supernatural hand? Are the patients and staff being manipulated by the supernatural figure of the Maude said to walk the corriders of the hospital, or is there the more frightening possibility that they are meeting their demise from one of their own number? There is the normal assured ratcheting up of terrifying tension that Hayder is renowned for, and by employing the motif of the sinister little dolls called poppets, and the legend of the Maude, there are more than enough shocks to get even the bravest amongst you checking under the bed before lights out.

The characterisation is superb as always as the continuing tensions between Caffrey and his police colleague Flea Marley ebb and flow through the course of the book, with their personal and professional loyalties continuing to be tested as an old investigation, and their actions in conjunction with this, comes back to haunt them. Aside from our two familiar friends, Hayder introduces a wide spectrum of other characters as the setting of the psychiatric unit allows her to present to us the very different mental rationales of those existing within it. Her portrayal of the patients including the brilliant Monster Mother and Isaac Handel, delve deep into the effects of mental illness on the human psyche, and this is counterbalanced extremely well with the mental effects on the staff themselves who seek to treat and care for them. AJ LeGrande is a stand out character in this regard, as his position as a Senior Nursing Coordinator within the unit allows us to see the demands of the profession on him as an incredibly likeable man who becomes deeply affected by the strange goings-on, with serious repercussions in his life outside his work. I would also highlight Patience, AJ's aunt who is an absolute gem of a character who does not suffer fools gladly, but has an absolute devotion to him despite her brash exterior. The synergy between all these characters, be they police, patients or mental health workers, make for an interesting, and at times, disturbing read with the issues and demands of mental illness handled in a sympathetic and compassionate way throughout, whilst not detracting from the central murder plot.

If you're a long standing fan of the Jack Caffrey series you will not be disappointed as this is another accomplished instalment, and likewise if I've tempted you enough for this to be your first Mo Hayder, I think you will enjoy your first foray into Caffrey's world. An excellent character driven thriller that will keep you hooked...but beware the Maude- she may be coming to get you...
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on 5 March 2015
Poppet is the next instalment after Gone in the Jack Caffery series and is a terrific high octane read. It starts with strange things happening in the high security unit for mental health patients, Beechwood. Things that are difficult to explain away, nightmarish fables that have truly caught the imaginations of patients and staff alike. It's here we meet head nurse AJ Le Grande who is a big character within the book, so much so that Caffery doesn't really take centre stage for a fair chunk of the book. What we have here is really a book of two stories running alongside each other, there's Flea and Caffery and the continuation of the Misty disappearance and then there's the hospital story. I guess the book could be read as a standalone but I for one am glad I started at the beginning with Birdman. There's an awful lot of characterisation and continuing plot development I would have missed.

It's written in the usual Hayder style but with less gore than the earlier books. For me it was a bit of a slow start initially but I thought the book really came into its own about halfway through. I didn't find it particularly frightening more there was a real sense of unease that kept building and building and kept the pages turning and turning. Ok, it did keep the the heart racing too, especially towards the end. I did see the resolution coming but not the reasoning, so much so, I was practically screaming at characters - 'just say it, you know it', such was the teasing and stringing out by Ms Hayder! It is beautifully written with the odd word thrown in for me to look up - thank you Kindle for the onboard dictionary!! And it will go down as having one of the scariest bookcovers I've ever seen, a triumph for the author surely?!! That alone is enough to draw anyone in!! Gosh, it is freaky isn't it?!!

The story itself is great with lots of twisting and turning everywhere. Short punchy chapters with different title headings that intimated what was coming. The Flea/Jack thing I'm not sure where I am at with that. I like Flea as a character but kind of bored with this particular storyline, hope it's kind of wrapped up now.

To sum up this is another great read in the series and I'm sure there's more continuing plot development to come.

Highly recommend, especially to those that have followed the series. Definitely one of the better ones!

Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. Much appreciated.
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on 19 February 2014
Let me preface my remarks by saying that I really like Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery novels. I did try to read ‘Tokyo’, but couldn’t take to it and left it unfinished. Here, I read these Gone and Poppet back to back and it was only my positive experiences of Hayder’s previous novels, including ‘Gone’, that kept me reading Poppet.

In ‘Gone’, we see quite a lot of one missing child’s mother, a strong female character, who pushes the boundaries when it comes to trying to find her daughter. In ‘Poppet’, we spend a lot of time with AJ – a fine character, but no Jack Caffery.

And, isn’t that why we read serial novels, to get to know a character more and delve deeper into their 360-degree lives, as they, and we, bring more of them to each novel, each crime, each entanglement with other people. Here, however, we are one-fifth of the way into Poppet before any sign of Sgt. Flea Marley, who, Caffery believes, holds the key to solving a previous case of a missing celebrity. As before, they dance around each other, inching ever closer to … something.

So, I’ll be curious, when ‘Wolf’ comes out, if this trend towards sharing the Caffery novels with other characters to such a large extent continues.

If one thing binds the two novels, it is that badness – evil? – is never as obvious as we’d like, no neon arrow pointing towards the bad guy. Evil can live with us, look like us, talk like us, seduce us and we never see it for who it is. Rather, we look at those who don’t look comfortable in our landscape and try to make the person fit the crime, rather than be led by the actual crime itself.
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on 13 June 2013
This author never disappoints. The very first Mo Hayder novel I read, back in 2006, was Tokyo, and I was awe struck by it. Pig Island, which I read next I enjoyed, though not quite as much. The Caffery series I liked throughout. So when I saw this new hardback in my local bookstore, I was instantly attracted by two things - the pretty cover, and of course, the name Mo Hayder.

Poppet is an intriguing story which describes the lives of the main characters with all their ups and downs quite well. It's stringing you along as you read it, teasing you, making you want to go on. Making you want to find out more. There isn't really a dull moment in the entire story. The way the characters - all of them - are described, covers a wide range of emotions. There is anger, hate, uncontrollable rage. There is fright, confusion, regret. But there's also love, compassion, understanding... and bravery.

I must admit, I already suspected halfway through the story who the person responsible for the (later) deaths was. So, about 100 or so pages from the end I started getting a little impatient, feeling that the author was dragging the story unnecessarily. I was even tempted to skip a few pages at that point, silently urging Hayder to just "get on with it" as I felt I'd already worked everything out in my head. Thankfully, I resisted that notion and kept on reading. The final 30 pages comprise of three key scenarios. Two of them I realized that I had predicted correctly (including what happens at the very, very end - in fact, if Mo hadn't resolved that particular problem the way she did and the way I'd expected her to, practically from the start, I would have been very disappointed and not half as satisfied with the novel as I was). One of those three key situations happening towards the end of the story, however, came to me as a total and utter surprise as I'd pictured a completely different outcome. Dear Mrs. Hayder, please forgive me for ever being impatient with you. What you did with the story at the end was incredible. All those little holes the story seemingly had - at the end, you left everything neat and tidy, with no loose strings and no questions left unanswered. To me, "Poppet" certainly deserves its high rating. It's a novel which I will happily recommend to anyone looking for a story that is intriguing, full of suspense, and absolutely amazing. After finishing the book, I'm somehow left with a strong desire to cuddle my dogs, and to enjoy some nice home made preserves. Why? Just read the story and you'll know!
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