Mo Hayder's previous novels The Devil of Nanking and The Treatment have ranked her among the most exciting and provocative thriller writers now working. In her latest, Ritual, Hayder gives us a taut, chilling tale of clandestine occult practices, New Age medicine, and the drug underground, set in a hypermodern urban landscape challenged by colliding immigrant cultures.
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. Even 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 hand belong to a young man 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 one of Africa's most disturbing rituals may be making an unexpected appearance.
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MO HAYDER is the author of Birdman, The Treatment, The Devil of Nanking, Pig Island, Ritual, Skin and Gone, all of which have been international bestsellers. She was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award in both 2010 and 2011. Mo Hayder lives with her daughter in Bath, England. Visit her online at www.mohayder.net.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Once again Hayder—author of such acclaimed crime novels as The Treatment (2001), The Devil of Nanking (2005), and Pig Island (2007)—masterfully explores the horrific boundaries of culture and evil. The setting is Bristol, England, where police diving expert “Flea” Marley is called in to investigate after a human hand is found in the Avon river. The discovery links Flea with burned-out detective Jack Caffery—the lead in both Birdman (1999), Hayder’s first novel, and The Treatment—and sets the pair on a journey into England’s heroin subculture. Following a trail that becomes darker with every turn, they move relentlessly toward a confrontation with practitioners of muthi, a form of African witchcraft that uses human body parts for healing and spell-casting rituals. Hayder has long been a master at blending crime and horror genres, but this time she outdoes herself, flip-flopping the supernatural and the explainable like a cycle of poison and antidote that will remain with the reader long after the final page. Superviolent, but for those with strong stomachs, completely gripping. --Elliott Swanson
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