Book Review: Birdman by Mo Hayder

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Back of the book reviewer comments.

‘A first class shocker’ Yeah Right, I thought It can’t be that bad, I thought. Oh how wrong I was.

They are very common in the literary world. Little comments from reviewers about a book that appear on publisher websites, on the back of the book or on the first page. Wherever they are, when picking up a book I prefer not to read the because they are sometimes exaggerations, saying one thing when the book is nothing like it. Mo Hayder’s Birdman was no different. The Guardian commented that it was ‘a first class shocker’ and going into Birdman I had no idea how right they were.

The decaying bodies of strippers have been discovered on a dig site in Greenwich, London. This case soon has London retching when an autopsy reveals that bodies have been mutilated and the killer left a little gift in their rib cages, a small bird. Detective Inspector Jack Caffery heads the investigation behind the killings, while battling his own demons.

Birdman is a very disturbing and yet gratifying story. Our main character DI Jack Caffery, is a troubled and plain man, but still holds up as a strong character. The story is told from multiple point of views, but this only done to give an insight into some of the characters and it continues the story flawlessly. Hayder’s writing style is very technical, participially in the areas that focus on the police and the investigation. Birdman doesn’t feel like a book that was researched, it feels like a book that has been written after years of association with the police force and encounters with criminals and prostitutes, and that just makes it even more chilling.

For me Birdman was an uncomfortable but exhilarating read. Hayder’s descriptive language knew no bounds. She didn’t pull her punches in this book. She tells you everything no matter how twisted or gruesome it maybe and at times you will forget where you are and what you’re reading. An example of this was on a bus ride home from work, it was the moment Jack and his partner Essex entered the killer’s home for the first time. A smell was described, the feel of the floor was described and I followed the characters as they went into a room filled with pictures on a wall. Pictures of victims every image described with then other paraphernalia, some very illegal paraphernalia which were described in great detail. That was when I noticed there were school kids on the bus and one had taken the seat behind me and I was reading a book that touched on topics that would instantly make people think I wasn’t right in the head. I didn’t want to be responsible for exposing this kid to all of this craziness so I turned my back to the window and continued reading, feeling very very dirty. There will be moments for you if you are interested in seeking out Birdman, but for every public cringe worthy moment, there will be triumphant annoying character moments that just pleases my sadistic soul because annoying people need to have someone punch them once in a while.

If you are interested in looking for Mo Hayder’s Birdman it is available on Amazon, Audible and any of your local book stories. I got my copy from Waterstones, Thanks Waterstones!

By the way Birdman is the first in a series I will be getting to the next book, ‘Treatment’, I just need to prepare myself first.

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