Wolf is the 7th book in the Detective Jack Caffery series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for previous books.

It all started with a lost dog. Attached to its collar, a fragment of card with the words “HELP US” written on it.

Wolf got off to a great start, a growing paranoia that there was something in the woods followed by a family’s worst nightmare. A home invasion turns a safe place into a terrifying prison. It’s frustrating enough being in an area with poor mobile signal without that being your one link to safety. What is really unsettling is the idea that there are some people we let into our homes without question. We are not, generally, afraid to answer our doors, but there could be anyone on the other side.

So the first half was gripping and, as per usual with Mo Hayder’s books, made me want to sleep with the light on. I think her writing has become less reliant on shock tactics and more to do with psychological fears in her last few books. Although both kinds have been able to scare me something rotten! Somewhere along the way, it lost its power and the outcome seemed inevitable. Yet there was plenty of effort to make it not predictable, to the point the twists and turns became a bit much. It stopped being a thought-provoking situation of a family trapped in their own home and, well, I can’t really go into it without spoilers, but I felt let down.

However, there is also a side story of Jack trying to find out more about the last days of his brother’s life. This has been an ongoing thread throughout the books but had been pushed aside recently. The reader, if you’ve been reading the series, knows more than Jack but maybe always had a doubt too.

Flea is never mentioned by name for some reason but Jack keeps referring to her, slightly annoyingly, as the woman he might be in love with or the officer in charge of a specialist unit. It was a bit odd, but I also miss Flea. I would have liked her to at least pop her head in. I hope the next book deals a bit more with their relationship (or lack of it) and the aftermath of what Jack discovers. But yay for doggy heroes!

Wolf is published by Transworld and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 24th April 2014. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.