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Hayder, Mo 1962(?)–

Hayder, Mo 1962(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1962, in England; partner of Keith Quinn; children: Lotte-Genevieve. Education: American University (Washington, DC), M.A.; Bath Spa University, M.A.

ADDRESSES: Home—Bath, England. Agent—Gregory & Company Authors' Agents, 3 Barb Mews, Hammersmith, London W6 7PA, England.

CAREER: Novelist and educator. University of Bath, Bath, England, creative-writing teacher. Previously worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator, and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia.

AWARDS, HONORS: W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read award, 2002, for The Treatment.



Birdman, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.

The Treatment, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.

Tokyo, Bantam (London, England), 2004, published as The Devil of Nanking, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Also author of the novel The Creature, 2006.


SIDELIGHTS: Mo Hayder is the author of dark, disturbing, and violent thrillers. Her debut novel, Birdman, which became an international bestseller, is set in Greenwich, England, and tells the story of Detective Inspector Jack Caffrey and his search for a serial killer of five women. The murderer's modus operandi includes a mangled corpse with a bird sewn inside of it. As he searches for the killer, the glum Caffrey must deal with his own personal problems, including new competition at the office, a failing relationship with his girlfriend, and a pedophile neighbor, Ivan Penderecki, who may have murdered Caffrey's brother when he and Caffrey were children. Because of the precision with which the birds have been sewn into the women's bodies, Caffrey believes that the perpetrator has some surgical skills and, as a result, he focuses on workers at a nearby hospital. When his prime suspect commits suicide and the murders continue, Caffrey must reevaluate the case and take it in a new direction.

Jane Jorgenson, writing in Library Journal, noted that the detective's "search is at times gruesome but always compelling." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "is impressively successful in appealing to a broad, multigenre fan base (mystery/police procedural, thriller, horror)," and added that Hayder "displays a good working knowledge of forensics and English police procedures, and Birdman's plot has more twists than a surgeon's knot."

Detective Caffrey returns in The Treatment. This time the beleaguered, insomniac policeman is on the trail of a murdering pedophile who has run off into the wooded Brockwell Park with a beaten and naked boy. As Caffrey investigates, he becomes immersed in the world of sexual deviancy and crimes, including the case of Tracey Lamb, who appeared in films that depicted her brother molesting children. Caffrey soon discovers that there may be a link between the current perpetrator and next-door neighbor Penderecki. (Caffrey still lives in his boyhood home). Along with the main story, the author includes several ongoing stories concerning potential suspects in the case and their various misdeeds.

In a review of The Treatment in Publishers Weekly, a contributor wrote that "Hayder handles procedural detail …, dialogue … and volatile subject matter with powerful dexterity, crafting another deliciously chilling thriller." Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, compared the novel to Birdman, calling it "another story that is equally intense, disturbing, and violent." Melton also called the book "a complex, emotional, and thoroughly riveting read." In his review for, Kleffel commented that "it's certainly one of the most terrorizing novels to come down the pike in a long, long time." Joseph Egan commented in Library Journal that "Hayder successfully weaves together a complex plot and continues the strong development of Caffrey begun in her debut novel."

In The Devil of Nanking, published in England as Tokyo, Hayder tells the story of Grey Hutchins, an Englishwoman who was raped and is still suffering from the trauma. Hutchins, who has become obsessed with the Japanese atrocities committed in the city of Nanking in the late 1930s, goes to Tokyo to find a Chinese professor who supposedly has some film of the Nanking massacre, which occurred when the Japanese invaded China. The Chinese scholar refuses to show the film to Hutchins, who decides to stay in Japan and pursue her quest while working as a hostess in "The Club." She meets a crippled, violent, and very old Japanese criminal who supposedly has a secret elixir that keeps him alive. Eventually the professor offers to give Hutchins the film in exchange for a dose of this elixir. As the novel unfolds, readers follow two story lines: the professor in 1930s Nanking; and Hutchins's search, the latter which leads her to discover her own personal connection to the atrocities committed in Nanking.

Writing in MBR Bookwatch, Harriet Klausner noted that the author's "skill lies in the way the subplots deftly intermingle without disturbing each other yet connect through events and people." In a review in Booklist, Frank Sennett commented that, "although the narrative … takes a while to pick up steam, it ends up delivering a potent punch." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "a superb third thriller" and also noted that the novel is "even more haunting than it is shocking as the author urgently addresses basic, agonizing existential issues." Beth Lindsay, writing in Library Journal, pointed out that "Hayder's novel moves beyond the mystery and suspense angles into larger issues of history, memory, and power."



Booklist, October 15, 2001, Emily Melton, review of The Treatment, p. 356; February 15, 2005, Frank Sennett, review of The Devil of Nanking, p. 1064.

Entertainment Weekly, April 15, 2005, Jennifer Reese, review of The Devil of Nanking, p. 86.

Guardian (London, England), May 8, 2004, Chris Petit, review of Tokyo.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2001, review of The Treatment, p. 1506; February 15, 2005, review of The Devil of Nanking, p. 191.

Library Journal, September 15, 1999, Jane Jorgenson, review of Birdman, p. 112; November 1, 2001, Joseph Egan, review of The Treatment, p. 132; April 1, 2005, Beth Lindsay, review of The Devil of Nanking, p. 86.

MBR Bookwatch, March, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of The Devil of Nanking.

People, March 11, 2002, Laura Italiano, review of The Treatment, p. 49.

Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1999, review of Birdman, p. 59; October 29, 2001, Adam Dunn, "PW Talks with Mo Hayder," p. 35; October 29, 2001, review of The Treatment, p. 34; January 31, 2005, review of The Devil of Nanking, p. 48; May 30, 2005, Wendy Smith, "Kafka's Chick," p. 24.

ONLINE, (June 29, 2005), review of Birdman.

Deadly, (April 29, 2001), Russ Isabella, review of The Treatment.

Mo Hayder Home Page, (June 29, 2005).

Mystery Reader, (June 29, 2005), Thea Davis, review of The Treatment., (April, 2004), Denise Wels Pickles, review of Tokyo., (February 2, 2002), Rick Kleffel, review of Birdman; (March 3, 2002) Rick Kleffel, review of The Treatment.

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