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Chris High reviews 'Pig Island by Mo Hayder' on


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Chris High reviews Mo Hayder's book: Pig Island


Mo Hayder
Publisher: Bantam Press
ISBN: 0-5930- 4971-3
April 3 2006

Front cover of the book by Mo Hayder - Pig Island

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Strange goings on amongst a remote island community in the West of Scotland may not sound the most original of plotlines. However, in the hands of Mo Hayder the originality is in her unique take on the subject matter.

Deeply intense, pit-dark and vice-like in its ability to grip, this fourth outing by the highly acclaimed writer - following the successes of Birdman, The Treatment and Tokyo - does not disappoint.


Journalist Joe Oakes makes a living exposing supernatural hoaxes. A born sceptic, he believes everything has a rational explanation. But when he visits a secretive religious community on a remote Scottish island, everything he thought he knew is challenged.

Questions mount with the turn of each page: why has the community been accused of Satanism? What has happened to their leader, Pastor Malachi Dove? And why will no one discuss the strange apparition seen wandering the lonely beaches of Pig Island?

A far cry stylistically from her previous novels, Mo Hayder's insight invites the reader to ponder along with her characters these and many more questions, which brings a rare sense of empathy and involvement into play from those looking on.
The descriptive prose is, at times, breathtaking, and the increase in tension is almost tangible. The tagline for the novel, "You won't have nightmares because you won't sleep", is in this case true.

Crime fiction? Not in its purest sense maybe but more crime / social commentary in as much as it raises awareness on so many levels as to how people can mistreat others and get away with it in the names of religion, secrecy and madness.

Not Birdman in its sense of shock, nor Tokyo in its craft and guile but, once more, Mo Hayder has delivered a novel that is in a class of its very own.

“Cracker of a site, Chris. Every day I sing a little bluebird song of gratitude that there are folk like you out there. Your enthusiasm for this strange industry of ours is an inspiration. And what you said about my books? Totally 100% true.”

Mo Hayder 2006

Order this book online - Linghams Booksellers



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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