A review: Mo Hayder – Wolf

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Firstly thanks to the lovely people at Random House UK for sending me a copy of Wolf to read and review. 

Wolf is the ninth book by Mo Hayder, the seventh one to feature DI Joe Caffery and the fifth one to feature the Walking Man who has been a recurring character in Hayder’s work since she relocated the Caffery character down to Bristol. 

Caffery is a policeman whose brother was abducted by a paedophile gang when they were young boys and Caffery has been obsessed about what happened to his brother ever since. Previous books have given both Caffery and the reader tantalising hints about what happened to the young boy but as Wolf starts Caffery it seems is no nearer finding out what happened to him. 

The Walking Man walks with the aim of finding the burial site of his murdered daughter, she too was abducted by a paedophile who the Walking Man took revenge on and served time in prison for. Thanks to the death of one of the gang who took his brother and her will Caffery has worked out that The Walking Man visits another member of the gang who took his brother and pleads with him to arrange a visit in prison so he can speak with him in one last attempt to find out what happened to his brother. The Walking Man agrees on one condition… 

The concurrent storyline that takes place in Wolf involves the family of a scientist who fourteen years previously to the book’s story saw the daughter’s ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend killed in a most horrific manner. Following a series of incidents in their garden the family become convinced the killer is somehow out of prison and at their home and when two policemen arrive at their isolated house to inform them that the woman who lives at the bottom of the hill has been murdered in an identical way to how the two victims were fourteen years previously the family’s worst fears are realised. Or are they…? 

Wolf is a genuinely uncomfortable read in places, there are scenes of torture, humiliation and the murder that took place fourteen years ago is quite horrific. Not everything is quite as it seems and whilst Hayder lets bits of the story out in scenes throughout the book to explain what is happening and why there is still enough held back at the end for it to be a surprise. 

My main issue with Wolf is that it all seemed a bit too easy in the end. Both the storylines tie up nice and simply thanks to some late found evidence in a episode that further develops the caring side of Caffery following an earlier love scene in the book that showed how lovely he is and then the final sections in the scientist’s house just felt like a bit of a let down following the genuine tension of what had preceded it. 

The conclusion to the book appears to be Hayder drawing a line under certain aspects of the Caffery books and should that be the case then maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing. I enjoy Mo Hayder’s books greatly and Wolf was no exception but my recommendation comes with a caveat about that ending.

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