Birdman - Mo Hayder

Genre: Crime/Fiction
Synopsis: Greenwich, south-east London. The Met's crack murder squad, AMIP, is called out by nervous CID detectives to a grim discovery. Five bodies, all young women, all ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. As each post-mortem reveals a singular, horrific signature linking the victims, officers realize that they are on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a sexual serial killer. Detective Inspector Jack Caffery - young, driven, unshockable - finds himself facing both hostility within the force and echoes of his past in this, his first case with AMIP. Haunted by the memory of a death long ago, he employs every weapon forensic science can offer for he knows it is only a matter of time before this chaotic, sadistic killer strikes again.


Review:  I decided to give this novel a go as I wanted to try another Mo Hayder, having tried and hated Pig Island a few years back. Pig Island had not exactly been hailed as her best work, but I loved how dark it was (even if not much else could be said for it). So, I thought I'd try the Jack Caffery series - primarily to get to the second installment, The Treatment. But first - Birdman.

Birdman was a solid read. It's a fairly-plot driven story, and it is dark, and complex, and in-depth. I don't think I've ever actually read a crime/thriller novel with quite such creative horror and violence behind the events of the story - you'd have to wonder a little bit about the inside of Mo Hayder's head. This is exactly what I loved about it though - while I'll flinch from the tiniest bit of tv violence, I rarely find books that genuinely shock or disgust me. This one definitely did - I cringed and/or briefly looked away from the book on more than one occasion. It's a fairly chunky novel, clearly very well researched (well, if it's not, it certainly left me feeling it was - I know next to nothing about the hierarchies or structures of police forces) and at times I actually found it a bit dense, trying to keep up with everything. I'd be happy to blame that entirely on myself though, and not on the book.

The characters... I felt the characters left a little to be desired. I was fairly indifferent to almost all of the characters introduced except Essex, and even Caffery himself felt a tiny bit bland. I'm not sure entirely why, as his backstory is both excellent and excellently developed. I never really connected with him. However, it is only book one in the series, so hopefully I'll develop an attachment to him as I continue reading the series - which I have every intention of doing. I'm marking it down as 'I liked it' rather than 'I loved it' - while there was quite a bit about it that I loved, it is only the first in the series and I do feel there's potential for the series to go up two more notches.

Rating: 3/5

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