ISBN-13: 9780593056424
Publisher: Bantam Press
Published: 2008
410 pgs

Police diver, Phoebe "Flea" Marley found a human hand nine feet underwater just after lunch on a Tuesday in May. The Bristol police suspected it was an accident, or even a suicide attempt but the weird thing was, they could not find the body attaching to the severed hand which looked like it had been sawed. As if it was not strange enough, they found another hand of the same victim buried underneath the restaurant. And speculations was that the victim might still be alive when those hands were removed.

DI Jack Caffery, who first appeared in The Birdman, has been newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit and was requested to look into this case with the assistance of Flea Marley. Though they were of different profession and background, however both shared the loss and the misery of their loved ones. For Jack, it was his loss of his murdered brother Ewan, while Flea lost her parents during a diving accident. Flea often thought of her parents' death and through his father's best mate, Kaiser Nduka's information, she knew a certain drug - Ibogaine, a root bark used by the Bwiti believers might lead her to communicate with the dead.

When the report indicated that the severed hands belongs to a young heroin addict named Ian Mallows, a.k.a. Mossy, they began to dig deeper into the case and discovered that Mossy might have conned into selling something to get his fix. Soon Jack and Flea realized that there was something more sinister than the drugs and the belief of the African folklore might have started everything.

Ritual is the first of the Walking Man series. Although there is not much coverage of the Walking Man in this story, he played a subtle role of an ex-con whom offers some advice and some lessons about life to Jack on and off during the investigation. As much as I am delighted to see Jack Caffery again, I found Flea to be an interesting character. She is strong, impulsive but most of all, she has guts and would not allow anyone, or anything to intimidate her. I am thrilled to learn that she will continue to work with Jack in the next instalment, Skin.

Aside from the intrigue and suspense, Mo Hayder also added in some folklore and superstitions into this story which I find it refreshing yet disturbing. Although this is nothing new and she had done it before in Pig Island, the difference is there is a lot more humanity and psychological issue in this story. And the glimpse of the drug addicts' and the hookers' dark worlds reminds me the sad reality of life.

The setting and the atmosphere are fitting to the story; and of course I need to mention that Mo Hayder's writing is superb. I am awed that she always has a way of connecting the story bit by bit smoothly. It is no surprise that she is one of my favourite crime thriller authors.
15 Responses
  1. Alice Says:

    Great review, Melody!

    As I've mentioned in your Teaser Tuesday post, I almost bought it but didn't. I'll read her earlier works first then this one. Thanks!

  2. Melody Says:

    Thanks, Alice!
    I'm hoping you'll read her books soon! :)

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Sounds good, love the cover. Glad you enjoyed it. I haven't read any book by her, I should check this out.

  4. Vickie Says:

    I read BIRDMAN a couple of years ago. It was an amazing and disturbing read. I am now ready to move to the next Mo Hayder as well as get this one.
    Flea does sound like a good character. I look forward to reading this one.

  5. Melody Says:

    Violet - The cover is great, isn't it? I think it's so fitting to the story! If you read it, you'd know what I mean! I hope you'll read her books soon! :)

    Vickie - Birdman is creepy! But well, most of Mo Hayder's books are creepy IMO, LOL. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on her other books. :)

  6. The Bookworm Says:

    great review, this does sound very good and so creepy. This is my kind of read, i'll have this author to my TBR.

  7. Julia Says:

    I know your love feast for Mo Hayder's books! *grin* Someday I will read it...

  8. Melody Says:

    Naida - Thanks! Mo Hayder's books are one of the best I read. :D

    Julia - You know I love, love, love her books, don't you? ;P

  9. Darlene Says:

    I've never read this author but this novel certainly sounds interesting. The cover is awesome.

  10. Iliana Says:

    One of these days I will read a Mo Hayder book. I am sure I have Birdman on my shelves - I think that's a first in one of the series. This one sounds intense and good too though!

  11. This one sounds really intense! It's been a long time since I've read a crime thriller (because I'm a wimp), but this one sounds like it contains a lot of depth. Great review!

  12. Melody Says:

    Dar - Oh, you should try reading her books! They're awesome IMO! I agree the cover looks awesome.

    Iliana - You must! So far, none of her books disappoint me. ;)

    Trish - Thanks! You should try reading Mo's books one of these days. They're a real page-turner!

  13. This sounds like a must read, Melody! Your comment about "Mo Hayder also added in some folklore and superstitions into this story which I find it refreshing yet disturbing" especially caught my attention. I look forward to reading this one.

  14. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I enjoy all Mo Hayder's books! Her crime thrillers is one of the best I read and I can't wait for her next instalment to hit the shelves already! ;)

  15. Ladytink_534 Says:

    Well it certainly sounds creepy but still really neat and interesting!

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