Characters we don’t want to believe exist
I’ll never forget the first Mo Hayder book I read: The Treatment. When I finished it I was filled with bleakness. I decided then that her writing was not for me and removed her from my author list. A few years later I picked up The Devil of Nanking (first released as Tokyo.)
Why? It’s an easy answer, for putting aside the darkness of her writing she is brilliant. And fully considering the darkness, she is brilliant. As I made my way through Devil I knew I would be reading more of her as I felt prepared for the many sides of her writing style. Some of which I found to ease a bit in later books.
Detective Inspector Jack Caffery of the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol is the recurring character in her books – seven to date. I enjoy his character, just the right amount of complexity, failings and morality to keep you in tow. Hayder also has three stand-alones: Pig Island, Hanging Hill and The Devil of Nanking.
I came across this delightfully funny interview in The Telegraph (UK) by Mary Wakefield. Have a read for a peek inside Hayder’s personality and perhaps it will help you decide if you want to take her on.
4 responses to “Mo Hayder: Darkly intense”
Though I read “Birdman” many years ago, it still resonates. I recall it was clever yet very disturbing.
“The Devil of Nanking”, over here in Europe published as “Tokyo”, actually pushed me over the edge to find the courage to write “Return to Hiroshima”, a very dark tale situated in Hiroshima in the nineties. It will be the second novel in English translation after “Baudelaire’s Revenge” which I will submit to Pegasus Books in September. “The devil of Nanking” for me is a masterpiece, nothing less….
It is an incredible book Bob and for me was the turning point for Hayder’s writing. It’s rather compelling to know that “Tokoyo” was instrumental in the drive for you to write Return to Hiroshima. I’m sure this point will spark an interest in Hayder fans to source your book, as well as those with and interest in events in Japan around WWII.
Thanks for dropping by and sharing this. Happy to hear from you anytime.
~ June Lorraine