“Birdman” (Mo Hayder)

Birdman Book Cover by Mo Hayden


Are you the kind of person who loves to try and beat the detective and unravel the case?  If so, this is could be a book for you.

This is not your typical “Columbo style” who done it; you start to believe that you know who the killer is only to find out a few chapters down the line that you may in fact be mistaken.

Greenwich, South East London, home of the Cutty Sark, is turned into a police hunting ground after five vulnerable young women are discovered dumped on wasteland nearby.  It would appear that a serial killer is on the loose and the AMIP are called in to investigate.

After a recent promotion the unshockable DI Jack Caffrey finds himself living and breathing this case but can he find the culprit before another young girl loses her life?  Not only that, he has his own personal demons to conquer; one being his current girlfriend Veronica.

Veronica is a wealthy daddy’s girl who is trying to turn Jack into something he clearly isn’t; buying him designer clothes, cooking luxury foods and arranging fancy dinner parties for his work colleagues.  She appears to be the stable one in the relationship when you find out about the tragedy that struck years ago in the very house he still retreats to each evening.  As a small child he lost his brother after a stupid argument and to this day he has never been found; whilst trying to develop his career he is also determined to uncover the mystery of Ewan’s disappearance much to the disdain of the persistently annoying Veronica.

At the same time a killer is on the loose and thanks to the incompetence of another policeman, DI Diamond, grief stricken families seem to be multiplying.  Unable to see past his own prejudice he starts down a line of questioning that potentially takes the investigation in the wrong direction, endangering more women.  His narrow mindedness means that he misses vital information pertinent to the successful closure of the case and it is only uncovered after it is too late to save others.

The misery for each of the murdered women seems to start even before they are killed.  Either hooked on drugs or living a life where they need to pimp themselves out to make a living many would say it was only a matter of time before something happened.  Ultimately, it takes days if not weeks before anyone notices that they have disappeared; the main reason why each of them have been chosen.

The suspect list grows constantly: the wealthy heir, the mortician’s assistant,  DI Caffrey’s neighbour and the colour blind individual who still believes tie dye is fashionable – but are any of these to blame?  At one point I even questioned whether, because of his inability to see the obvious clues, DI Diamond was involved.  A shocking twist in this novel means that no matter who you choose, ultimately you will probably be wrong.

Gripping until the final chapter, this book may start slowly but before you know it you will be unable to put it down.  Definitely one of those page turners that gets better the more you progress into the book to the point where you don’t want to finish it because it is so well written.

Mo Hayder has created a plot that once you are past the first couple of chapters, moves at pace whilst keeping you guessing.  The brutality of the killings is implied but not fully described making it less gory then some other novels of the same genre.

If you enjoy reading Detective Crime Novels you will definitely enjoy this!

Mo Hayder Author

Mo Hayder

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