DI Jack Caffery starts back to work in Bristol after moving from London to escape his demons. The man who Caffery believes killed his younger brother is dead, which seemed to release Caffery from his life in London and has allowed him to move to Bristol. However he can't quite seem to let it go and he leads a bit of a drifter's life: following around the 'Walking Man', using the services of hookers, staying away from real relationships, and not fully moving in to his home.
Caffery gets called in when divers find a single hand in a lake. Flea Marley is the head diver and immediately thinks something isn't right. Hands don't float, so how was the person able to see this hand? Flea is persistent, but she has her own demons to fight as well, including the death of her parents, her father's friend who has some pretty strong drugs to help her deal with her parents death, and her junkie friend.
It's harder to relate to Caffery in this novel. I used to understand the grief, guilt, and hatred he carried around with him about his bother's loss, but it seems to have morphed in this novel into something completely different. He's much more distant than he used to be, which is a shame because the hint of vulnerability he had in his previous 2 novels made me like him that much more. Flea Marley is similar in this respect. There's something about her that just doesn't quite click with me so that I completely embrace her character, even though I still like her.
Hayder is known for the horror she brings into her novels and the crazy twists and turns that keep you guessing. Pig Island was an excellent showcase for her talent. This novel was a bit more tame than her previous books. However, it did set up a Caffery/Marley partnership that should produce more interesting books in the future.
First Line: "Just after lunch on a Tuesday in May and nine feet under water in Bristol's 'floating harbour', police diver Sergeant 'Flea' Marley closed her gloved fingers round a human hand."