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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