Mo Hayder’s books should come with a small phial of whiskey sellotaped to the spine; every one I’ve read (the excellent Jack Caffrey series and the brutal Tokyo) is an exercise in dark prose, superb characterisation and roller coaster plot lines.
Hanging Hill manages about one-and-a-half out of the three on that score. The story was good (though perhaps a little plodding in places) but seemed to be missing a lot of the edgy and stark prose of the Caffrey series.
Hayder’s writing is usually a lot smoother too, relying less on exposition and more on punchy dialogue and well-crafted action scenes. I wondered if the story is being aimed toward a possible TV drama, which would explain why the story lacked much of the edginess of her earlier work. If that’s the case then it would make one hell of a series; the characterisation is still top notch.
All in all, I was a bit disappointed with Hanging Hill, but then I do hold Mo Hayder to a much higher standard than other shock thriller writers I happen to read.