The beginning is very disturbing. Even considering that it is a delusion of a mentally ill person. And 'The Maude', is one of our nightmares. The tightness in chest, the difficulty to breathe, not able to get up, struggling with semi-consiousness. Do I even continue!
Already delusional mental patients report the presence of 'The Maude', a dwarf ghost, who prompts them to self-harm. Series of disturbing happenings leading to at least two deaths, disturbs the usually unperturbed AJ, coordinator at this Mental Asylum. AJ is the short for Average Joe, he is one of our main leads. The other lead is of course the series protagonist DI Jack Caffery. Will AJ with the help of Jack Caffery overcome the nightmare? AJ poking at these events takes us on a nightmarish journey into the life of a mentally disturbed teenager who killed his parents brutally.
The first few chapters were very disturbing. I do my reading mostly before sleep, I had fitful sleep the couple of nights I read it. I was even considering abandoning the book, which I rarely do. But there was something that made me read it. I love scary or horror movies, but reading horror stuff is never my thing, because my imagination is more scary than someone else's as in watching a movie. That said the story moves into the thriller mode from the horror stuff.
The parallel plot involves the investigation into a missing person case which looks like a continuation from previous novel. I haven't read any other books in the series, I wonder if that is the reason that I couldn't be interested in the parallel plot. About the main plot, there were too many clues and quite early on I zeroed on the perp, which was a bit of a let down for a mystery. But there were other surprises and Mo Hayder manipulates our feelings for the characters quite adeptly. A Chilling thriller!