A murder leads detective Jack Caffery into England’s drug underground in this “brilliant, dense, scary” crime thriller in the Edgar Award–winning series (The Globe and Mail, Toronto).
Nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there’s no body attached is disturbing enough—until the discovery of the matching appendage a day later. Both hands have been freshly amputated, and there are indications that the victim was still alive when they were removed.
Newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol, DI Jack Caffery soon establishes that the hands belong to a young man who has recently disappeared. As Caffery and Marley search for the rest of the victim—and for his abductor—they journey into the darkest recesses of Bristol’s underworld, where drug addiction is rife, street kids sell themselves for a hit, and a disturbing occult ritual may be making an unexpected appearance.
“Hayder . . . moves to another level in this spellbinder. With characters so complex, so fascinating that they could populate a dozen novels . . . Definitely one of the best crime novels of [the year].” —The Globe and Mail
“Ritual moves from the eerie and dangerous to the downright ferocious as steadily as an oncoming train . . . You’re going to love the ride.” —Jack Ketchum, author of The Lost and The Girl Next Door
“Superb . . . Hayder vividly evokes torture and drug abuse, but the violence is never gratuitous. Readers looking for visceral thrills need look no further than this gritty English series.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Hayder . . . outdoes herself, flip-flopping the supernatural and the explainable like a cycle of poison and antidote that will remain with the reader long after the final page.” —Booklist, starred review
At the start of Hayder's superb third crime novel to feature Det. Insp. Jack Caffery (after The Treatment), Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley, a police diver, retrieves a severed hand from Bristol harbor. Without a corpse, the investigation stalls, until fingerprints identify the hand as belonging to Ian "Mossy" Mallows, a known heroin junkie. While Caffery pursues the drug angle, Flea uncovers a possible connection to muti, a brand of African witchcraft and traditional medicine that incorporates body parts into its rituals. Digging deeper, Caffery and Flea discover that Mallows may still be alive and the men responsible may be using muti as a cover for even darker purposes. Meanwhile, Flea mourns the accidental death of her parents two years earlier while they were diving in a remote pool in Africa's Kalahari desert. Hayder vividly evokes torture and drug abuse, but the violence is never gratuitous. Readers looking for visceral thrills need look no further than this gritty English series.