A haunting apparition: Bonehead, by Mo Hayder, reviewed

It is well established that women are happy to read novels written by men but that male readers rarely extend a reciprocal courtesy. The late Mo Hayder is a case in point, since despite the extraordinary sales of the novels she wrote before her premature death in 2021, her fan base remains overwhelmingly female. It may be that the extreme violence often found in her books (‘lurid’ would not be unfair) strikes men as a trespass on what has traditionally been a male preserve. Whatever the reason, male reviewers tended to shy away – I know that, since I was one of them. Yet just ten pages into Bonehead, her

You wait ages for an ambulance, then five come along at once

‘I need an ambulance!’ yelled the builder boyfriend into his mobile phone as the cyclist lay bleeding from a head wound. ‘What’s that, luvvie, you want to order a chicken dhansak? You mustn’t bother the emergency services with that sort of thing, dear, it’s very inconvenient and could cost lives…’ This was a sarcastic approximation of what the ambulance service operator said to the BB, which he paraphrased with much artistic licence when he relayed it to me an hour later. I was at home when I got a text message from him to say that a couple of cyclists had trespassed on to the farm where he keeps his