Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mo Hayder crime drama author

Mo Hayder writes suspense in a perversely erotic style. I first became aware of this author when I read Tokyo (also published under the name The Devil of Nanking). In Tokyo, Hayder describes a young British woman obsessed with the Japanese atrocities perpetrated on the citizens of Nanking China during the early years of WWII. Following in Hayder’s own footsteps, the protagonist, Grey, takes a job as a hostess in a Tokyo men’s club to finance her continued research into the events surrounding the massacres at Nanking, and the possibility of the existence of an unreleased 16mm film that depict the atrocities. Grey is an emotionally disturbed women working through her own fears to uncover the truth about the present and the past.

Hayder tells the story by alternating chapters between present day Tokyo and Nanking in 1937. She reveals her characters as one would peel and onion, layer-by-layer, and often with the accompaniment of tears. The seedy nature of life and Grey’s dingy surroundings are captured vividly by Hayder, as she pulls the reader deeper and deeper into this crime drama the spans decades and generations.

I followed up Tokyo by reading Hayder’s first offering – Birdman, which proved to be almost as perversely erotic. Her characters have tortured souls and warped minds, social deviates looking at the world through dirty, or should it be, blood stained glasses. This novel about a sadistic serial killer is very suspenseful and emotionally troubling.  It centers around a London detective investigating a series of murders of young women who are sexually mutilated, and trying to identify and stop the twisted soul behind the crimes.

If you are looking for an author who stretches your imagination and writes in a style far from the norm, yet weaves a fascinating story about the fringes of society, Hayder may be someone to consider. I couldn’t put her books down, though they were troubling almost to the point of revulsion; I had to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next.

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