I don't believe I've ever read anything by Mo Hayder in the past, although I have her Birdman and The Devil of Nanking sitting on the shelf. Hanging HilI is Hayder's eighth book, a standalone novel that I chose based on superlative reader raves. Then when I read the dustjacket I was even more excited - a mother who is "forced into a criminal world of extreme pornography and illegal drugs," (!) and a detective's "crippling secret...which -- if exposed -- may destroy her" (!!) . So far, so good -- ooga chooga -- can't wait to get into it. Without the porn, maybe, this is the sort of thing that is right up my alley.
The story revolves around the worlds of two very different sisters: Zoe and Sally. They have been estranged for some time and their lives took divergent paths. Zoe traveled around the world on her motorcycle and went into the police force where she finds herself having to compete in a man's world. Zoe is the tough-as-nails type, has a fellow cop as a boyfriend and pushes herself to be even tougher. Sally married, had a daughter Millie, and lived the lifestyle of an upper middle-class, stay-at-home mom until her husband divorced her. Now she has a boyfriend named Steven, lives with her daughter in a cottage, works as a cleaner in a service, and most of her friends no longer talk to her. The main exception is Isabelle, mom to two of Millie's friends Sophie and Nial. Sally has to count pennies these days, so when she is offered extra work by one of her home-cleaning clients, David Goldrab, she takes him up on the opportunity. Goldrab is rich, but money doesn't change who he really is -- a lowlife who has made his fortune in porn and other seedy dealings. The sisters' two disparate worlds come crashing together, however, after the murder of Lorne Wood, one of Millie's friends. Zoe is handling the case, and when suspicion falls on one of Lorne's friends, Millie and her friends come in to Zoe's office to offer what they know. Their visit leads Zoe to think that perhaps its time to come to terms with Sally and make amends for the past -- but Sally by this time has her own set of problems, including how to pay back 4000 pounds Millie borrowed from a nasty drug dealer, and a confrontation with Goldrab that will change her life forever.
There are four one-word descriptions on the back of this book's dustjacket: "Terrifying," "Stunning," "Haunting," and "Disturbing." Sadly, the best thing I can say about this novel is that it's very accessible and reader friendly. I started this book in anticipation of experiencing all of the above adjectives throughout the hours it would take to read the book, but truthfully, I found the entire experience to be flat. There are way too many silly sideroad subplots here with holes the size of the Grand Canyon, the characters are just not credible, and the bottom line is that I didn't like it. Yet once again I'm swimming upstream of the rest of the book's readers who as a rule, seem to disagree with my opinion. If you go to a random reader review or go to Goodreads or Amazon, people LOVED this book and it was awarded with 4 and 5 stars in many/most cases. I may give her another try some day with the two books I have, but I won't be running to pull them off of the shelf any time soon.
crime fiction from the UK