Detective Inspector Zoe Benedict investigates the brutal murder of a popular teenage girl which has shocked the local community while ensuring that secrets from her past remain hidden in the latest thriller from Mo Hayder.
Zoe’s estranged sister Sally is recently separated and struggling to bring up her rebellious daughter who was a friend of the victim. What lengths will she go to in order to keep her head above water financially and to keep her daughter out of harm’s way?
Mo Hayder exploded onto the crime fiction scene back in 2000 with her fantastic début, Birdman. It’s sequel, The Treatment, was arguably even better. These were ferocious serial killer tales that featured cop Jack Caffery and were too disturbing for many readers but became critically acclaimed bestsellers.
Several stand-alone thrillers followed which didn’t match up to the original two books and in 2008 Hayder returned to the character of Jack Caffery.
Hanging Hill is another departure from the security of a recurring character series and while it remains a police procedural it lacks the bite of the Caffery stories. Zoe Benedict is interesting enough but the investigation meanders along while Sally goes to work for a very shady character which leads to a tragic event that eventually re-unites the two.
This competent but unimaginative thriller is for those not willing or able to delve into the depths of depravity that Hayder is very capable of exploring.
Ric’s Rating: Good