In this chilling, seamlessly-plotted thriller, British detective Jack Caffery must find a dangerous mental patient on the loose—before he can kill again . . .
The Beechway High Secure Unit in Bristol, England, has a storied past—first as a nineteenth-century workhouse, then a poorhouse for the homeless, and now as a psychiatric hospital. With that troubled history come superstitions like the Maude, believed to be the ghost of a sadistic workhouse matron.
But while some of the patients and staff think the Maude is behind a series of unexplained episodes of self-harm amongst the ward’s patients, nursing coordinator AJ LeGrande thinks they might be the work of an all too human horror—a homicidal patient who was released back into the public in error.
Calling on Det. Jack Caffery, LeGrande hopes his investigation will reveal what’s truly been going on inside and outside the hospital’s walls. But what Caffery discovers about former patient Isaac Handel is beyond anyone’s imagining.
“Enough evil to keep readers awake long after the cases are solved . . . Rich psychological portraits [and] a compelling mystery.” —Los Angeles Times
“Dipping into Poppet when the house was silent and the rain was spattering against the windows probably wasn’t a good idea: The book oozes sinisterness from the first page . . . [Its] high-wire tension . . . never wavers.” —Entertainment Weekly
In Edgar-winner Hayder's enthralling sixth thriller featuring Det. Insp. Jack Caffery of the Bristol Major Crime Investigation Team (after 2010's Gone), Caffery stubbornly clings to a missing person case as he gets drawn into fatal abuses at Beechway High Secure Unit, a psychiatric hospital. Jacqui Kitson is pressing the police to find her grown daughter, Misty, a model who disappeared a year-and-a-half earlier. Caffery knows what happened to Misty, but he's protecting someone, an unusual stance that plays out in tantalizing fashion. Strange events are unfolding at Beechway, where belief in a monster called "The Maude" is growing among increasingly hysterical patients and staff members. A patient who goes missing is eventually discovered buried nearby. Another dies after self-harming, while a third gouges out his eye. When a severely disturbed patient is released, the terror spreads from hospital to village. Hayder's sharply drawn characters, major and minor, and her psychological acumen combine for a frightening and convincing read.