Fiction – paperback; Bantam; 496 pages; 2002.
Mo Hayder’s The Treatment is one of those books that you read with a mixture of fascination, fear and repulsion.
It’s a disturbing and gruesome tale set in south London in which a young boy goes missing from a quiet residential area. It’s not a normal case of child abduction though — his parents are discovered tied up and beaten in the family home. It’s police detective inspector Jack Caffery who must not only find the boy but piece together what happened in the hours leading up to his disappearance.
The parents, traumatised by the experience, hint at a horror too despicable to imagine. But it’s only when Caffery — battling childhood demons of his own and juggling a volatile relationship with his demanding girlfriend — puts his life and job on the line, that things begin to fall into place.
All in all, this is a fast-paced read with enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing all the way through. Hayder has created a relentlessly intense and chilling story with believable characters — particularly Caffery, who is drawn with just the right measure of tough-guy attitude and human vulnerability.
If you like your crime thrillers edgy, intelligent and thought-provoking, look no further than The Treatment, just don’t expect to sleep easy at night!