The Maude is outside. It wants to come in.
It wants to sit on your chest.
The mentally ill patients in Beechway High Secure Unit are highly suggestible. A hallucination can spread like a virus. When unexplained power cuts lead to a series of horrifying incidents, fear spreads from the inmates to the staff. Amidst the growing hysteria, AJ, a senior psychiatric nurse, is desperate to protect his charges.
Detective Inspector Jack Caffery is looking for the corpse of a missing woman. He knows all too well how it feels to fail to find a loved one's body. When AJ seeks Caffery's help in investigating the trouble at Beechway, each man must face a butter truth in his own life. Before staring pure evil in the eye.
Jack is trying to find the corpse of a missing person, her family think she may still be alive but Jack knows for certain that she's dead; he just needs the body to prove it. It is during this case that Jack gets a call from AJ, he is a senior psychiatric nurse at the Beechway High Secure Unit. AJ is used to dealing with extreme situations and complex characters but a number of incidents at the unit have led him to ask questions. There have been a series of power cuts and during these some patients have mutilated themselves or even died. They talk of a featureless figure called The Maude, she is apparently the ghost of the hospital's Victorian matron. She is a dwarf in a white dress who sits on their chests and makes then inflict terrible injuries on themselves. Whilst trying to calm the situation down, AJ begins to wonder whether the patients are really hallucinating or does The Maude really exist, when do you start taking the crazy people seriously?
Poppet had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up from the very beginning. Mo Hayder is a master of dropping in macabre and sinister details into her story which play on your mind, she is continually ramping up the tension. Hayder has obviously done her research, her presentation of Beechway and it's patients seems highly realistic. The patients' description of The Maude are chilling and I found myself constantly questioning whether they have any foundation or are they just the ramblings of the mentally ill?
I loved the plot twists towards the end of the book, Mo Hayder is certainly not predictable. I didn't see what was coming at all but when I thought back, I could see all of the clues that Mo Hayder had scattered the story with.
Poppet is a terrifying, gripping read which I highly would recommend, Mo Hayder has reminded me how much I enjoy reading this genre.
Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Many thanks to the lovely Alison Barrow for sending me a copy of the book, Poppet is available now.