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Publisher's Summary

In the pitch dark, nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there's no body attached is disturbing enough. Yet more disturbing is the discovery, a day later, of the matching hand - indications suggest that the victim was still alive when they were removed. Flea and DI Jack Caffery soon establish that the hands belong to a boy who has recently disappeared. Their search for him - and for his abductor - lead them into the darkest recesses of Bristol's underworld, where drug addiction is rife, where street-kids sell themselves for a hit, and where an ancient evil lurks.
©2008 Mo Hayder (P)2008 Isis Publishing Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Hayder ... is at least Thomas Harris' equal." ( Daily Telegraph)
"Hayder's fifth novel is full of the trademarks that made her name: expertly deployed shock tactics, excellent research, a cast of physically, mentally or morally damaged characters, and two sympathetic protagonists with painful past lives." ( Guardian)
"Intensely enthralling stuff, but I'm glad I'm only inhabiting Hayder's mind at a reader's remove." ( Observer)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By BSquaredInOz on 05-25-09

A dark psychological thriller

Police diver Phoebe 'Flea' Marley discovers a human hand in a Bristol harbour. DI Jack Caffrey, newly moved to Bristol from London, responds to Flea's suggestion that the case deserves more than a cursory handling. A second hand is soon found and when they learn that the person to whom the hands belonged was probably alive when they were severed the investigation moves into overdrive. This is not your standard police procedural. It's far more concerned with the psychological elements of crime and the things that motivate all the players. Flea and Jack both have personal demons that influence their behaviour and the kind of officers they are. The story too is a complex one with many concurrent themes the strongest of which is that almost all the characters have some element of their past that haunts or troubles them in their current lives. But Hayder explores other issues too including the way people deal, or don't deal, with being transplanted from their own culture and the role that family bonds play at all layers of society. She also looks at an urban drug culture and the industry that thrives on exploiting the vulnerable within that culture. Funnily enough, the one element of the book that I struggled with was the inclusion of the more traditional crime fiction elements, like the fairly obvious false trails and red herrings, which I didn't think were handled quite as well as the psychological elements of the book. I've not read any of the Jack Caffrey books before so I don't know how this compares to others but I was certainly captivated by this story. If you imagine TRAINSPOTTING meets MCCALLUM you might get a sense of this world and the fact I was an hour late for work this morning is the best evidence I have that it's an utterly gripping read.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By paula bailey on 10-11-11


What made the experience of listening to Ritual the most enjoyable?

Andrew Wincott's narration made it a pleasure to listen. His regional accents were completely credible.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Walking Man is someone I would like to know more about, he is fascinating.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were many scenes that were so well written that it was easy to imagine being there. Mossy getting his hands removed was extremely disturbing for that very reason. It gave me a whole new appreciation for having mine.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was certainly a book that I looked forward to resuming.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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3 out of 5 stars
By Jacqui on 05-20-14

Not the greatest Mo Hayder book...

I rate Mo Hayder highly & like her Jack Caffery creation but he lost my sympathy by the end of Ritual. His character gained further flaws and the Ewan story stalled leaving little to empathise with. Ritual is a dark story but is both cliched & unlikely in parts. New character Flea is another tormented soul & 2 needy lead characters is one too many for my liking. It has not put me off Mo Hayder & I will try #4 in due course, but I found Ritual much less satisfying than Birdman & The Treatment.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Brian on 08-27-09

A Shabby Little Shocker

A tedious work filled with artifice in which a rather thin story line is padded out with reams of irrelevent detail(a good example is a comprhensive description of the contents of a bathroom cabinet when the character is merely taking out travel sickness medication). Overwelmed by all this dross, one is left with little sympathy for the main protagonists, especially the lady who is simply irritating.
The faintly patronising delivery of the reader does not help - I felt rather like a child being read a bedtime story, albeit a rather gruesome one.
Anyone looking for an 'out of the way' detective novel would be much better served by turning to Ian Rankin (Rebus) or for a touch of the bizarre Peter James (Roy Grace)

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Sonya Howden on 05-23-17


Mo Hayder books are always great. Sorry to say I didn't enjoy the narration of this one.

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