Today is an auspicious day. Crime writing legend Mo Hayder’s new novel Poppet has been released into the wild and we’re delighted (and more than a little scared) that Dead Good is kicking off Mo’s blog tour with an extract from the book.
DI Jack Caffrey is back and this time he’s investigating a series of horrific incidents inflicted on the mentally ill patients at the Amberly Secure Unit. The patients are highly suggestible and a hallucination can spread like a virus. Can Jack face the evil lurking in the corridors?
Read on for an extract from Poppet by Mo Hayder…
“With Mo Hayder you never know where you are going until you get there.”
MONSTER MOTHER is sitting on the bed when the triangle of light under the door flickers. It moves, dancing sideways a little, then settles.
She stares at it, her heart thumping. Something is out there, waiting.
Silently Monster Mother pushes herself out of bed and creeps to the furthest corner of the room – as far away from the door as she can. She presses herself back into the triangle between the walls, trembling, eyes watering with fear. From the window behind her, electric security spots cast tree shadows across the floor. They shift and bend, fingers scratching across the room, finding and touching the shadow under the door. She scans the place – the walls and the bed and the wardrobe. Checks every corner, every crack in the plaster. Anywhere at all that The Maude can crawl in. Monster Mother knows more about The Maude than anyone here does. She’ll never tell what she knows, though.
She’s too scared.
It’s still out there. Not moving a lot – but enough to make the patch of light sway. Monster Mother can hear breathing now. She wants to cry but she can’t. Carefully and silently she pushes her shaky hand up under the red negligee and moves her fingers along the skin between her breasts – groping for the thing she needs.
When she finds it she tugs. The pain is greater than anything she can remember. It hurts more than cutting off her own arm – or giving birth (something she has done several times). But she continues, pulling the zip down, from sternum to pubis. There is a wet smacking sound as her stomach muscles spring free from her skin.
She grips the edge of the opening and, writhing and weeping, wrenches it outwards. The skin unsticks from her ribs and her breasts and peels down over her shoulders. It tears, it bleeds, but she continues until it hangs from her hips like dripping wax. She takes a few deep breaths and rips it away from her legs. It gathers in a pool at her feet. A deflated rubber mould. Monster Mother gathers herself. She straightens – solid and brave – her stripped muscles glinting in the security lights. She turns to face the door, proud and defiant.
The Maude will never find her now.
Enjoyed this extract from Poppet by Mo Hayder? Take a look at all the Jack Caffery books in order here.