Review: The Treatment

The TreatmentThe Treat­ment by Mo Hay­der

My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

Mo Hayder’s book, The Treat­ment is the sec­ond in her series with DI Jack Caf­fery, and shows Ms. Hayder’s grow­ing com­mand of the pro­ce­dur­al thriller. Tech­ni­cal­ly? This book is an incred­i­ble exam­ple of its genre. The sto­ry is tight, inter­wo­ven, com­plex and incred­i­bly com­pelling.

It’s also incred­i­bly bru­tal.

I only made it halfway through the book before I had to call it quits. I was so caught up in the sto­ry, even with tense­ly antic­i­pat­ing how much worse it could get for both present and past crimes–and yes, sit­u­a­tions COULD get worse, and often do in her books–that Hayder’s sto­ry­telling con­tin­u­al­ly sucked me back in. Even­tu­al­ly, though, I found the crimes depict­ed were so heinous and the suf­fer­ing of the vic­tims so drawn out, that I put the book down. Did I want to know if the vic­tims made it out? Yes, because in the world of DI Caf­fery, there’s no guar­an­tee that good, or even jus­tice, pre­vails or that any­one makes it out alive. Even so, I didn’t want to steep my brain in the tor­ment of the vic­tims for anoth­er 150 pages before some sort of res­o­lu­tion might occur. I con­sid­er myself fair­ly hard-core when it comes to mur­der in crime nov­els. With this one, though, my wal­low­ing in tor­ment reached its lim­it.

The three stars reflects me hav­ing to put it down, but for sheer effec­tive­ness in writ­ing, for the abil­i­ty to make you care for the victims–and even for the enor­mous­ly flawed Caf­fery himself–I wish I could have giv­en Mo Hayder’s The Treat­ment the full five stars. The female char­ac­ters are extra­or­di­nary strong and strongly-written–victims, cops, girlfriends–and that’s always a bonus for me in the male-dom­i­nat­ed cop-thriller genre (or any genre, for that mat­ter). Also, Hayder’s themes of fam­i­ly, indi­vid­ual brav­ery, and the stran­gle­hold of per­son­al his­to­ry are rich and com­pelling. They sim­ply weren’t enough to get me through the rest of the tor­ment-steeped pages.

The nov­el is phe­nom­e­nal­ly well done, and maybe some­day, when I don’t find my but­tons pushed, I’ll read the sec­ond half of The Treat­ment.  I’d love to find out what hap­pens, and how deep into the abyss Jack Caf­fery has to descend before he and the vic­tims find a way out.

… unless every­one ends up dead.

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