Poppet - Mo Hayder 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 bitter truth in his own life. Before staring pure evil in the eye.

Yes I know the sixth book in a series is not the best place to start but I couldn’t resist that creepy cover and it was an audio book. Plus a colleague told me that this title worked well as a stand-alone novel because the main protagonist was AJ not Jack Caffrey. Also because the mythology arc of the series, the love/ hate relationship between Jack and Flea (what an irritating name) and the Misty Kitson story was greatly reduced and, therefore to me as a new reader, would be inconsequential.

She was right…. I loved the surreal, eeriness of the psychiatric hospital and the character of AJ LeGrande and the relationship between the patients and the staff – all done excellently. I rushed through the Jack & Flea sections just to get back to Beechway or to Aunt Patience and that lovely dog.

There is something about having a creepy book read to you that seems to increase their impact and this one stayed with me for a while after. Not sure I will be revisiting Mr Caffrey but it was fun while it lasted ...