At a Glance
Mo Hayder was the famous British author of the Jack Caffery crime thriller series. The Birdman was her debut novel and it became almost an overnight success. It became an international bestseller right away, which is quite rare for an author’s first novel.
The Guardian called it ‘first-class shocker’ and with good reason. It is gory, violent and quite disturbing, but oh so delicious to savor. It is the book that made me acquainted with the author, whom I’ve been following ever since.
The DI Jack Caffery series includes 7 books, with the latest one, Wolf, published in 2014.
Here are the Mo Hayder books in order for her series and standalone novels. The Mo Hayder Walking Man series is also called Jack Caffey series.
Jack Caffery Books In Publication Order
Detective Inspector DI Jack Caffery is working with the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol (UK)
- Birdman (Jack Caffery #1), 1999
- The Treatment (Jack Caffery #2), 2001
- Ritual (Jack Caffery #3), 2008
- Skin (Jack Caffery #4), 2009
- Gone (Jack Caffery #5), 2010
- Poppet (Jack Caffery #6), 2013
- Wolf (Jack Caffery #7), 2014
Standalone Novels in Publication Order
Writing as Theo Clare
- The Book of Sand, 2021
Do You Have to Read the Mo Hayder Books in Order?
There are a few main reasons I recommend reading the Jack Caffery novels by Mo Hayder in order. Reading them in order allows readers to witness Jacks’s character development, and understand his motivations, struggles, and growth over time. In his work, DI Jack Caffery is focused on some really gruesome, twisted and horrifying crimes. He is always racing against the clock to find the culprit before the killer strikes next.
Mo Hayder, known for her mystery and thriller genres in her series, weaves intricate story arcs and explores recurring themes throughout the novels. This way we can follow these storylines and themes as they evolve, creating a more cohesive and immersive reading experience. The books in the series often build upon events from the previous ones. Characters, clues, and plot points introduced in earlier books may resurface or play a significant role in later ones. Reading in order helps us appreciate the progression of the overarching narrative.
In addition, without adding spoilers, there is a major sub-plot that is a running theme throughout the entire series which is best to follow from the first book to the last.
Mo Hayder Biography – About the Author
Mo Hayder, was born Beatrice Clare Dunkel in Essex in 1962, daughter of two academics (mother was an English teacher). Mo Hayder passed away in July 27, 2021.
Coming from a rather complicated family (her parents split up, she literally hated her brother when he was born, even tried to kill him by pushing him down the stairs – thankfully her grandmother got him), she left school (Loughton County High) before her 16th birthday, running away to London where she held various odd jobs.
At the age of 25, after a brief marriage, she moved to Japan where she worked as an English (as a foreign language) teacher and educational administrator, along with being a club hostess in Tokyo. This allowed Mo Hayder to finance writing her first book, Birdman. As a child, she read many books, but she didn’t get the idea of becoming a writer until her late thirties.
While living in Japan, the author saw several people die in various ways over six weeks. This was also an inlet for her (maybe an unconscious one) to get ideas for some of the gruesome murders featured in her books.
After leaving Asia, she enrolled in Los Angeles in a filmmaking course. She got a Master’s degree from the American University in Washington DC in filmmaking, as well as a Master’s degree from Bath Spa University in the UK in creative writing.
Her standalone book and also her third novel published, Tokyo, is loosely based on the place she’s been living for a while and some of her experiences there (e.g. with the Japanese underworld culture). Her book The Treatment, the second in the Jack Caffery series has been made into a Belgian film with the title De Behandeling in 2014.
The author got the idea for her book The Poppet while watching Slingblade written by Billy Bob Thornton. Some of the earlier scenes featured patients in the mental institution, who were in for violent crimes, would enjoy remembering their crimes. Also, the doll (poppet) came about while Mo was walking around the voodoo shops in New Orleans.
In Wolf by Mo Hayder, the author departs somewhat from her usual style of crime investigation, this time making it personal for Jack Caffery. The Walking Man wants Jack to help with a case, and in return, he would give Jack additional information about Caffery’s brother. How can Jack say no to such an offer?
This is the one book which could be also read as a standalone since, except Jack and The Walking Man, none of the other regular characters appear. However, for the sake of learning more about Jack’s character, reading the Jack Caffery series in order is advisable.
Each of her novels became a huge hit, with wide acclaim all over the world.
Before her death, Mo Hayder was a full-time writer, living in South West England. She passed away in 2021 from motor neurone disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2020.
Mo Hayder Awards
- The Devil of Nanking was nominated for the Dagger Awards Best Novel in 2004
- Ritual was nominated for the Barry Award for Best Crime in 2009
- Gone won the Edgar Awards Best Novel in 2012
- Wolf won the Edgar Awards Best Novel in 2015