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.
Mo Hayder left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She had an MA in film from The American University in Washington DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University UK.
Mo lived in Bath with her daughter Lotte-Genevieve. She was also the actress Candy Davis, who was most known as the blonde secretary on “ Are You Being Served?”
Birdman is a solid genre crime thriller and fans of this kind of novel will be happy to see the following old favourites present and correct:
Sexy mid-ranking but fuckedup policeman hero with deeply troubled past – check!
Who meets during the investigation a babelicious middle class artist so that both of them know something’s gonna happen soon – check!
Gruesome crimes the like of which are never seen in real life – check check check!
Yards and yards and YARDS of police acronyms, police tech-speak, police management-speak, police humour, police casual sexism, police cups of tea, all things police – check!
The wrong guy arrested – check!
Hero’s new girlfriend ending up being menaced by the killer – check! Need you ask!
Psycho killer as dumpy middle aged nobody with a big gut but really remarkable sexual vitality who surprisingly seems to have more moves than Batman as he manhandles and incapacitates both his victims and his pursuers with contemptuous ease even though COME ON REALLY he’s a dumpy middle aged nobody who hasn’t done any physical exercise for the last 40 years – check!
Hectic every-second-counts chase at the grand finale – check!
Eventually I almost began to like this silly slice of tough tough London kinky killer thriller fol-de-rol but then the big climax (ahem ahem sorry vicar) dragged on and on and, oh yes, on, with so many arcs of arterial blood on the walls and splashes of that other well known bodily fluid all over the dinner plates and just everywhere that I found myself frankly guffawing.
I think the sun has set on my relationship with tough British police thrillers.
Man, what is it about female mystery writers that makes them come up with the most heinous of crimes? From her bio and picture, Mo Hayder seems like such a nice lady. But with Birdman, her debut novel, she launches herself right into the darkest of Val McDermid's territory.
I couldn't burn through Birdman quickly enough. There is nothing not to like about this novel. Take a serial killer with a bizarre signature, an inspector with a dark past and struggling relationship, and short chapters, and you've got a formula for a novel that deserves to be read without petty distractions like work and sleep.
The serial killer genre has been so saturated over the past twenty years. That's why I'm so impressed when one comes along that stands out from the rest. In a genre that can barely help but become formulaic, the writer can still come up with unique ideas that makes the story her own.
Hayder also does a fantastic job developing her characters. I totally bought into what Jack Caffery was going through, his motivations, and hey, I really liked the guy.
No matter where I lay this book, it immediately improved the visual aspects of that space. True, even when it lay half hazard amid the detritus of day to day. And it is not only the visual aspects that appeal; there is a feeling of what? present. And you’re drawn back, again, considering. This book doesn’t just reside here, it rocks, it rolls, it rules. Great and clever cover art!
Which brings us to the story and it’s a good one. Meet British, Detective Inspector Jack Caffery. He is young, driven and methodical but he is also haunted by the long ago disappearance of his brother Ewan as a child.
In the opening, the dead bodies of five women are found, dumped in a wasteland, near the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England. They have all been horribly, brutally mutilated and carry a singular, macabre signature. Not even one of these women has been reported missing, suggesting the killer has taken some care in selecting his victims.
Hayder pulls no punches here as she takes you on a slow and sinister creep ride into the world of a sexual sadist, through the corridors of crime most foul. Warning though, this one is not for the faint of heart.
I confess I was reminded of Harris’s Hannibal Lecter as I read this, none the less it is written well enough to stand on its own. This marks the first Mo Hayder novel I have read. It will not be the last.
This book was the " Pick It For Me", with my group " A Good Thriller", so thank you to my members that picked this book for me.
Detective Inspector Jack Caffery - young, driven, unshockable - is called to one of the most gruesome crime scenes he has ever seen. Five young women have been ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. Subsequent post-mortems reveal a singular, horrific signature linking the victims.
Soon Caffery realises that he is on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a serial killer. Beset by animosity within the police force, haunted by the memory of a very personal death long ago, Caffery employs every weapon forensic science can offer to hunt him down.
Because he knows that it is only a matter of time before this sadistic killer strikes again ...
But also gripping, tense and shocking, with very powerful, disturbing story that will hit you right in the stomach. With a great strong main character in DI Jack Caffery who himself has a shocking history, with lots of shocks, twists and very strong deaths.
A fast paced, gripping, tense thriller that will shock you with it's gore, not for the faint hearted!
But highly recommended and an easy four stars for me
"In the midnight hour... I cried Mo, Mo, Mo... " Yes, I believe I have become a Mo Fo'n, Mo Hayder fan.
During the first half of this book I would have said that Mo was giving Thomas Harris a run for his money... hell, probably leaving him in the dust. The second half veered a little and I thought the train was in danger of derailing, taking more of a Joe Hill course, but I made it to the end in one piece, still considering this to be an excellent thriller-horror.
Jack Caffery, a good detective with his own tragedies weighing him down, is a great character that I look forward to following in Hayder's, The Treatment. And as far as the serial killer and the hard-core descriptive technique used by Mo, let me just say you better have the stomach for some nasty shit or you might not want to venture into these pages.
It is my personal belief that given the right set of circumstances ANYONE is capable of murder. If someone tells me that they are not, I will disagree with them. Having said that, there are some things that I don't believe every person capable of doing. While I might believe your grandma is capable of shooting or poisoning someone, I don't necessarily believe that she is capable of then cutting them up and cooking them in a stew. I enjoy dark crime novels. I have always be interested in what makes people do those things for which I think few people have the capacity.
While I enjoy reading about these things, I believe I have found my upper limit for what I can stomach. Birdman brought me to that threshold.
The writing and pacing of this novel is excellent. Mo Hayder writes excellent prose and the story never drags. Jack Caffery is an interesting and nuanced character as are the criminals. The psychological elements of the crime are well explored. There is an interesting exploration of how a person feels compelled to do bad things, the steps he takes to avoid doing them and the ultimate failure of those boundaries. It is a compelling look in the mind of the depraved.
In the words of a 14 year old "OMG!" These people are messed up. While I can stomach quite a few things, this one about took me over the edge. We have some people in this novel who are interested in necrophilia. In case you do no know what this means, that would be obtaining sexual gratification with corpses. While many dark crime novels have characters who find the act of killing as sexual experience, I find it far more disturbing that the sexual experience occurs after the act of killing is complete. The only reason I finished this novel is that it was multilayered. As this was not the only aspect of the novel, this theme was not pervasive.
Another major issue with the novel was the manner in which Jack Caffery made breakthroughs in the case. Most every breakthrough was an "Eureka" moment. The reader is rarely privy to the information that the MC uses to reach his conclusion. Jack usually sits around thinking about the case and suddenly he thinks, "Hey! We are looking at this case all wrong. (fill in the blank) is what is actually happening here". This was lazy plot development.
While Mo Hayder can certainly write, the plot development leaves something to be desired. Assuming the next novel is not increasingly disturbing, I will continue reading in hopes that the plot development improved as the writer gained experience.
Hayder gives her readers crime thriller fiction so macabre as to border into the horror territory. This is seriously 'I'm sleeping with the lights on' reading, at its finest!
Birdman is set in the dawn of the new millennium and follows the London Metropolitan Police's Murder team as they attempt to track down a possible contemporary Jack the Ripper serial killer.
Hayder's power is that she shines the spotlight on the quiet, often overlooked, moments and the minutest of details, for added impact and shock factor. Instead of giving the reader whole grim scenes in one installment, she teases us with isolated, close-up details that appear from an almost cinematographic perspective. For example, "Her nails bitten and painted sky blue, curled inwards to the swollen palm" is one of the images that remained my companion, instead of sleep, through the long, dark night-time hours opposed to the more gruesome, fuller images conjured. It is these powerful, small reminders that make me view each victim as human instead of character.
The crime itself is also approached from an odd angle as we are given the perspectives of both the detectives attempting to solve the case and the murder as well as, briefly, the victims. The reader is in the unique position of having all the facts and is only waiting for the good guys to piece the puzzle together, or so we are led to believe...
I have also, myself, approached this book from an odd perspective as my first experience with Mo Hayder's brilliance was early last year when I read Poppet, the sixth installment to the Jack Caffrey series. Reading this felt almost nostalgic, in parts, as I read of a more youthful figure and his more humbler beginnings. What remained the same, however, was the compelling story-telling, the fast-paced plot, the horror lurking on every page and my insatiable desire to devour more!
4/5 stars for this gritty, graphic serial killer thriller.
I've been waiting for the right moment to read Birdman for literal years, and I finally made time this past month—and boy oh boy was this book intense. Birdman is the first in a series of British crime novels, and it's been compared to the work of Thomas Harris... which is a very, very accurate comparison. Hayder is a fantastic writer, and she has crafted here a complex and intricate crime novel that fans of British procedurals and serial killer thrillers will love. BUT. But. There's a big caveat here, which is that this book is dark . Like really, truly, very dark. It's graphic, violent, and twisted, and readers who are uncomfortable with on-the-page violence of all different kinds should steer clear of this one. I really enjoyed it, personally, but just want to be very clear, this is a dark and twisted read that's bound to make even the most seasoned crime reader a little bit queasy at times.
Πρώτον, οφείλω να παραδεχτώ πως το βιβλίο είναι αρκετά 'άρρωστο',ακόμα και για σκληρό αστυνομικό. Πτώματα σε αποσύνθεση, κακοποιημένα και στραπατσαρισμένα, ζωντανά πουλιά που ράβονται στο εσωτερικό των εν λόγω πτωμάτων, τρελοί, μανιακοί, νεκρόφιλοι, σαδιστές, μαζοχιστές με τα νυστέρια... Απ' όλα έχει ο 'μπαξές'. Οφείλω όμως να ομολογήσω επίσης πως πολύ μου άρεσε όλο αυτό! Και πριν προλάβετε να με πείτε και μένα άρρωστη, θα υπερασπιστώ τον εαυτό μου λέγοντας πως απόλαυσα την ανάγνωση σε αυστηρά λογοτεχνικά πλαίσια και δεν ξεσήκωσα τίποτα ιδέες! :Ρ
Δεύτερον, θέλω να τραβήξω τα μαλλιά μου, γιατί μιλάμε για ένα συγγραφικό ντεμπούτο! Η Hayder έχει γράψει μια απίστευτη ιστορία, που δικαιώνει απόλυτα την επιτυχία της...πρωτάρας συγγραφέως της, αλλά και πάλι ΑΝ ΓΡΑΦΕΙ ΕΤΣΙ ΣΤΟ ΠΡΩΤΟ ΤΙ ΘΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΣΤΑ ΕΠΟΜΕΝΑ;! Τη ζήλεψα τη φαντασία της -όσο κι αν ήταν κάπως αρρωστημένα τα προϊόντα της- και πραγματικά το βιβλίο είναι ένα καλογραμμένο, αξιολογότατο και συναρπαστικότατο αστυνομικό θρίλερ, που αξίζει να διαβαστεί από λάτρεις του είδους - εκτός αν δεν το έχετε με τις πολύ περίεργες καταστάσεις και αηδιάζετε σχετικά εύκολα.
Τρίτον, νομίζω πως ο Τζακ Κάφερι είναι ο νέος αντι-ήρωας αστυνομικός που θα τραβήξει το ενδιαφέρον μου. Παρόλο που σέρνει πίσω του μια στοίβα προσωπικά προβλήματα, που σχετίζονται με την εξαφάνιση του αδελφού του όταν ήταν παιδιά και την ψυχική απομάκρυνση των γονιών του έκτοτε, δίνεται ψυχή τε και σώμα τι στην υπόθεση και μοιάζει αποφασισμένος να βρει τον παρανοϊκό serial killer. Χαρακτήρας εξαιρετικά ανθρώπινος, με πάθη κι αδυναμίες, προκαλεί τη συμπάθεια και τη συμπόνοια του αναγνώστη και τον κάνει να ενδιαφερθεί για εκείνον και να τον ακολουθήσει, βήμα το βήμα, στις περιπέτειές του.
Το βιβλίο είναι καλογραμμένο και συναρπαστικό, όπως ανέφερα και παραπάνω, και κρατάει την αγωνία σε υψηλά επίπεδα καθ'όλη τη διάρκεια της ανάγνωσης. Ακόμα και οι αποκαλύψεις που αφορούν τους δράστες -και γίνονται κάποιες φορές νωρίτερα απ' ότι θα περίμενε κανείς- δεν στερούν τίποτε από το σασπένς, μιας και οι εξελίξεις είναι τόσο απρόσμενες, άγριες και καταιγιστικές και οι ρυθμοί τόσο γρήγοροι, που το αναγνωστικό ενδιαφέρον παραμένει εντατικά προσηλωμένο σε αυτές.
Ενθουσιάστηκα προσωπικά και το συστήνω ανεπιφύλακτα - εκτός αν ανακατεύεστε εύκολα, είπαμε! ;)
Pretty good premise on the make-up of the hero detective, but I couldn’t quite deal with the Gothic excess of violence . Your mileage might vary.
Our thirtysomething detective on the London police, Jack Caffery. Is damaged goods. Like a lot of tough guys in crime noir, our man has a troubled past. Caffery lost a brother as a pre-teen kid and obsesses for decades on the likely guilt of his creepy neighbor in his permanent disappearance. Instead of working like Kryptonite, the experience instead appears to give him a special push to get justice out of the universe. Still, it’s no wonder he has relationship troubles.
The police procedural parts on the uncovering of the evidence of a fiendish serial killer who preys on prostitutes has some good momentum at the beginning. Lots of effective atmospherics. Shades of Jack the Ripper. And the twanging of imagination over what the killer does with the bodies in connection to the birds in the book’s title. Our Jack pursues the johns against a lot of resistance. Less capable members of the team pursue pimps and drug dealers. But it’s hard for Caffery to concentrate on his case while he is in the middle of the demise of his relationship with a manipulative girlfriend, and he is starting to get romantically inspired by one of his female interview subjects, a bohemian artist who hangs out with the women in the target pool.
I liked Caffery as a character whose messy personal life adds to his commitment to work. A familiar pattern for me and many others on this planet, so there is some fascination for me to see how it works out. But this book goes over the top with how much time we spend in the mind of a psychotic serial killer and sexual sadist. This has some horrific initial impact and a righteous impetus for us to see him caught. I am just a bit tired of the apparent one-upsmanship over who can create the most twisted killer. I had my thrills with Buffalo Biill and Hannibal in “Silence of the Lambs” and some of Patterson’s best monsters.
Coming from a female writer, the toying with violence pornography I suppose is intended to render a take-home message over the inevitable jadedness that emerges over time for the reader. But I don’t get enlightenment or pathos like I do from reading about, say, the trials of Christ, soldiers at war, or people in a holocaust. I think I can see the higher purpose in the revelations about evil in books by the likes of Vachss and James Lee Burke. This one makes me wonder about the meaning of the term “gratuitous violence”. It also leaves me curious about the foundations of attraction to the broad genre of Gothic horror, which this seems to partake of.
Σίγουρα δεν έχω ξαναδιαβάσει κάτι παρόμοιο, έχει μεγάλη απόκλιση από την σκανδιναβική αστυνομική λογοτεχνία που όλοι ξέρουμε.. φοβερό page turner αλλά όχι για λιγόψυχους..οι σκηνές είναι πολύ έντονες και περιγραφικές. Η εξέλιξη της ιστορίας κρατά αμείωτο το ενδιαφέρον από την αρχή μέχρι το τέλος. Εξαιρετικό ντεμπούτο και με σιγουριά λέω ότι θα πάρω και το επόμενο της σειράς.
Τα αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα ανήκουν στα αγαπημένα μου αναγνώσματα. Είμαι "επιρρεπής" σε αναγνώσματα βιβλίων και δη αστυνομικών, που ξεφεύγουν από τα όρια και ίσως είναι υπερβολικά για κάποιους αναγνώστες. Η ιστορία είναι πολύ καλά στημένη και περίπου στα μισά, μοιάζει να έχει βρεθεί η άκρη του νήματος αλλά... Αν αυτό το βιβλίο ήταν το ντεμπούτο της στο αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα, δεν μπορώ να φανταστώ τι έπεται για τη συνέχεια. 4,5*
Σ.Σ Από τη συγγραφέα είχα διαβάσει το βιβλίο της Τόκυο, πριν εκδοθεί στα ελληνικά η συγκεκριμμένη σειρά με πρωταγωνιστή το ντετέκτιβ Κάφερι.
Από τα καλύτερα αστυνομικά που έχω διαβάσει. 5/5, γιατί είναι και το πρώτο της. •πολύ δυνατή υπόθεση •πολύ καλή γραφή •ευκολοδιάβαστο •σοκαριστικό λόγω θέματος, σε ταρακουνάει •καλοστημένο background •ανατρεπτική εξέλιξη •ωραίος τύπος ο επιθεωρητής Caffery και σε κάνει να θες να μάθεις τι κάνει στο επόμενο.. Προσοχή: Εάν δεν έχετε γερό στομάχι και ταράζεστε εύκολα, μην το διαβάσετε. Εγώ σε μερικά σημεία ανα��ατεύτηκα αρκετά. Στα (-) ο ελληνικός τίτλος. Θα προτιμούσα την ακριβή μετάφραση του πρωτότυπου (Birdman).
This murder mystery has the usual flawed police detective, Jack Caffery,(who you can't help but like) and just when you think Caffery's got it figured out, think again :-). This is VERY dark, twisted and gory! If you are squeamish this is probably not for you! I can't help but wonder what goes on in the minds of these authors! I'm looking forward to finding out what else Jack Caffery gets into in the next installment!
Wow. This book is very dark, twisted and gripping. It is about all the things in society we don’t want to talk about or hear about. I don’t think saying I enjoyed it would be right as it’s not a book you can “enjoy” if that makes sense. But I wanted to finish it, in fact I needed to finish it. But it makes for a hard read and definitely stays on your mind once you finish. Cannot wait to continue on through the series.
If you have a strong stomach and you want your thoughts, boundaries and feelings pushed to the limit I fully recommend.
Τα βιβλία της Mo Hayder τα βλέπω παντού, συνήθως συνοδεύονται από θριαμβευτικά σχόλια και αν η παροιμία πάει «όπου ακούς για πολλά κεράσια, κράτα μικρό καλάθι» εγώ αποφάσισα να παραβώ τον κανόνα μου να μην παρασύρομαι και ξεκίνησα να διαβάσω ένα από τα πιο διάσημα βιβλία της. Αυτή την φορά είχαν επί το πλείστον δίκιο, το απόλαυσα! Δεν είναι όμως αυτή η πρώτη μου επαφή με την συγγραφέα, έχω διαβάσει το ΤΟΚΥΟ που μου άρεσε πολύ. Ο ντεντέκτιβ Τζακ Κάφερι αναλαμβάνει μια από τις πιο δύσκολες υποθέσεις στην καριέρα του. Πέντε νεαρές γυναίκες ανακαλύπτονται δολοφονημένες με ιδιαίτερα σαδιστικό και τελετουργικό τρόπο. Κυνηγημένος από τους δικούς του δαίμονες ο Κάφερι θα προσπαθήσει να βάλει ένα τέλος στην δολοφονική μανία του κατά εξακολούθηση δολοφόνου χρησιμοποιώντας το μυαλό του και την διαίσθηση του. Είναι της μοδός πλέον το μεγαλύτερο κομμάτι της αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας να είναι γεμάτο με αίματα, σπλάχνα και shocking καταστάσεις. Βία, φόνοι και βιασμοί. Όσο πιο σκληρό τόσο πιο «δυνατό» σύμφωνα με το κοινό. Εγώ είμαι της αντίθετης άποψης , αγαπώ το κλασσικό whodunit μυστήριο όσο δυνατόν λιγότερο αηδιαστικό. «Το φονικό κελάηδισμα» είναι γεμάτο με άρρωστες σκηνές που αρκετά συχνά είναι και αηδιαστικές αλλά στην προκειμένη περίπτωση δουλεύει καλά γιατί έχει δημιουργήσει χαρακτήρες που είναι αρκετά «φυσιολογικοί» και δεν κλέβουν τα φώτα από την υπόθεση, αφήνοντας τον αναγνώστη να αναπνεύσει λίγο. Ο κύριος χαρακτήρας, ο ντεντέκτιβ Κάφερι, είναι συμπαθητικός με τα προβλήματα του αλλά χωρίς να κουράζει. Έξυπνος, ανθρώπινος και καλογραμμένος. Βρήκα τα κομμάτια του βιβλίου στα οποία μιλάει ο δολοφόνος πολύ ενδιαφέροντα, μου άρεσε να διαβάζω αυτά που είχε να πει και ήταν νομίζω εξίσου καλογραμμένος σαν χαρακτήρας. Το βιβλίο έχει πολύ σασπένς , σε κρατάει σε εγρήγορση. Γυρνάς τις σελίδες με την ταχύτητα του φωτός θέλοντας να δεις τι θα γίνει μετά και ενώ συνήθως αυτό με γεμίζει άγχος στην προκειμένη περίπτωση το έκανα ευχάριστα. Η συγγραφέας αποκαλύπτει αρκετά από την αρχή μέχρι το ανατρεπτικό φινάλε και σου δίνει συνεχώς έναυσμα να μην σταματάς το διάβασμα. Η γραφή μου ��ρεσε, ήταν απλή, περιεκτική και δεν έχασε ποτέ το στόχο της. Σου παραθέτει τα στοιχεία με όση λογοτεχνική χροιά σηκώνει το αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα, το διάβασα στα αγγλικά και έτσι δεν μπορώ να κρίνω την μετάφραση του Κορτώ.
The title character in Mo Hayder’s Birdman is nowhere near as benevolent as Jack Stroud, the infamous prisoner of Alcatraz. No, no, no. This “Birdman” is far more deviant. In this first of the Jack Caffrey novels, Hayder creates an extremely perverted, sadistic plot that takes us to a place where most would rather not go. This Birdman is given the name for an entirely different reason than one might expect.
The corpse of a prostitute is found in a remote location in Greenwich. The woman’s body has had crude surgery performed on it. Shockingly, four more bodies are found, all in the same condition. In addition, the bodies were left with a peculiar calling card. Detective Inspector Caffrey, a thirty-something, ambitious policeman who is new to AMIP, zeroes in on a theory. He must fight battles within the force; not only that, but his unlikeable, disagreeable girlfriend is driving him bonkers, and he can’t find the courage to dump her. He is struggling with another problem, though – his brother disappeared when they were children, and he has been haunted ever since. He is often curt and angry, and this makes him a difficult character to like. However, he is a very smart detective.
The criminals in this book are brilliantly conceived and well developed. I liked that we were given some of the story from the bad guy’s perspective. Unfortunately, the details were too over-the-top for me, and I don’t consider myself to be yellow-bellied when it comes to unpleasantries. Other than that, most of the story worked for me. Despite the fact that the details – which, I have to say, were described very vividly - were in my opinion, much too graphic, I was able to stay interested throughout the book.
I have ambivalent feelings about Birdman; I liked it, but I definitely did not love it. I am not sure whether I will be reading any more of Mo Hayder’s work in the near future, as I wasn’t enamored with Jack Caffrey as the protagonist. I don’t mind a guy with flaws, but he didn’t seem to do much introspection. On the other hand, I am a bit curious to see what happens to him next, so, I guess, “Never say never.”
This is the first book in the Jack Caffery series and it is a British police procedural. In Greenwich, London a body is found and DI Jack Caffery is on the case to find the killer.
WOW! This is one scary thriller, gripping from the first page to the last. The writing is top class, very descriptive with an extensive adult vocabulary. It is darkly erotic in places and very imaginative, for example...
None of his acquaintances knew about the girls he paid for, about meeting them in the street and bringing them to Croom's Hill, about sending them naked into the garden to stand until they were blue with cold, so they could come glazed and shivering into his double bed. Or him demanding they lie still and unresponsive, eyes rolled back in their heads.
... Oh yes, this is not a police procedural from the good guys point of view, no, no, you get the bad guy's story too! The plot of Birdman is very, very good indeed. Yes it is creepy but has some lovely dark humour and is sexy in places too - guess how Pinky got her nickname?
Although this book was written in 1999 with technology and transport being very different then, don't let that put you off. This novel packs a tremendous punch which forces the reader to comprehend and imagine actions that are shocking, vulgar and unthinkable.
I think Birdman is an OUTSTANDING 5 star read that is both entertaining and gripping. The editing is good yet you get a full story with lots going on but with no dull bits. All the characters are gently developed with lots of issues explored. How to move on from tragic events, dealing with racism in the workplace and an unusual fetish. It would also make a great film.
Detective Inspector Jack Caffery has a lot on his mind. He has a girlfriend he doesn’t love. He has a neighbor haunting him who may have murdered Jack’s brother years ago. He has parents who don’t want to be around him. And now he has five mutilated bodies that were found buried at a construction site in Greenwich, England. Soon Jack finds that it is not just the killer he is fighting against. There are others in the Major Crime Investigation Unit who don’t want to see him succeed. Jack isn’t sure if his boss does either. Employing every forensic and investigative weapon at his disposal, Jack tries to find the sexual serial killer in spite of the distractions. But even when he has found his suspect, it still might not be the end of the reign of terror by psychopath known as The Birdman.
Birdman is British novelist Mo Hayder’s first novel, and the first featuring Detective Inspector Jack Caffery. The series now totals five installments. Right from the start, Hayder does a masterful job of capturing the utter confusion that surrounds a police investigation, where there are far more unknowns than reliable facts. Jack Caffery makes for a compelling hero – not without many flaws – but duty-bound to do the right thing when he knows what the right thing is. He is an everyman with a knack for putting disjointed pieces together. Hayder also provides the characters around Caffery with diverse personalities and vivid dialog.
It is with the crime that Birdman really hits its chilling stride. Without ruining the plot, I will say that it is very well constructed and produces a really big twist in the middle of the story. There are a few well-placed red herrings to keep the reader guessing, but no dirty tricks to spring a manufactured “gotcha” on you. Everything passes the plausibility test with flying colors. Hayder also brings a dark, foreboding edge to the world of her characters. It isn’t over-the-top gothic, but it is just inauspicious enough to make you want to tiptoe through the pages so as not to draw attention to yourself.
Birdman is also quite unsettling. It is graphic and at times sadistic. The villain is so incomprehensible, and yet realistic, that is will give you the chills right from the beginning. The scenes are intense and there don’t seem to be any taboos to Hayder’s storytelling. It is not a crime story for those with a weak stomach. However, this is one of the only negatives – and it depends on the reader as to if it is truly a negative – that I can identify in this page-turning crime thriller
Birdman resonates with a raw intensity. It is not perfectly written. Some of the sentences seem clunky at times, but the story moves very well. The characters are real and the peril is even more so. I kept turning the pages feeling a bit like a voyeur wondering what was going to happen next. I will certainly be picking up the next book in the Jack Caffery series.
This very dark and brutally gory book is the first in the Jack Caffery series by British crime writer Mo Hayder.
London Detective Inspector Jack Caffery, newly assigned to a particular investigative unit, gets involved with a frightening case involving a serial murderer. The case has a number of false starts and twists and turns. Several times when they think they've found the perpetrator, they've been "barking up the wrong tree". Caffery is a brilliant young detective with nerves of steel and great instincts. He attracts women like a magnet attracts iron filings, although he seems to be completely unaware of his effect on females. Caffery is also a very troubled man who is an alcoholic incapable of sustaining a longterm relationship with a woman. He is obsessed with the boyhood disappearance of his brother, Ewan. He is convinced that his weird old neighbor, Penderecki, a convicted pedophile, was responsible for Ewan's disappearance and murder. Caffery's parents no longer speak to him. He is a loner and sometimes he's not wrapped too tight. He's also capable of occasional violence himself. In spite of all of this, he is a sympathetic character.
Caffery has a clingy, clueless, and manipulative girlfriend, Veronica, who he wants to break up with. We sympathize with him here, as Veronica is a very irritating character. Plus, there is very little real rapport between Jack and Veronica. But Jack doesn't have the courage to dump her, since he thinks Veronica has had a recurrence of a previous episode of cancer. He feels he must be nice to her while she is ill.
The murder case involves gruesome serial murders of young London strippers/prostitutes. All of them have some association with a pub called "The Dog and Bell" (there is actually a London pub with this name). The police find the weirdly mutilated bodies of five victims, which is what starts their investigation.
In the course of his investigation,
After many false starts---including a false arrest of a small time Jamaican drug dealer by Caffery's boorish, racist, and moronic colleague Detective Inspector Mel Diamond---Caffery and his colleagues think they've found the culprit, and we breathe more easily. But, as Yogi Berra used to say, "The opera's not over until the fat lady sings".
As always with darkly imaginative Mo Hayder, the twists and turns are innumerable and unpredictable.
This is brilliantly written and Damien Goodwin does a great job with reading the audio (except when he occasionally renders female characters excessively shrill).
But---I have to say that the amount of brutality, gore, and violence in this is really over the top, and I found it too much at times. Parts of the book are pretty sickening. If you have issues with excessive violence, you might want to pass on this.
I was rather conflicted about this book(it was a quick and sometimes diverting read) - but one thing about it WAS clear. To me, it is books like this - that become popular with comments about how "great" they are...that make me realize how easily most readers are pleased and entertained by the lowest common denominator.
Books just like this are a dime a dozen. The story may be slightly engaging with a few twists - but the writing is hackneyed and redundant and the characters are insipid caricatures. These "books" are nothing more than a glorified B-movie script - or seem like long versions of every-other CSI or Law & Order episode you've ever seen.
Supposedly this book - if you are to believe reviews - is scary. It is not. Not one bit. It is a bit gross - as usual, a less talented writer trying to be scary or shocking by using very harsh language and disgusting descriptions...that's not scary or shocking. Is anyone really still scared or disturbed by that sh*t?
I put Hayder right up there with other popular but horrible writers like Lehane, Patterson, Nesbo - always touted as great but just rehashed tripe.
I'm sure many will disagree - the many that keep these writers on the bestseller lists YUCK
Η πρώτη ιστορία του Τζακ Κάφερι έχει ότι χρειάζεται ένα αστυνομικό θρίλερ. Γρήγορη πλοκή, έξυπνη υπόθεση, καλοστημένους ήρωες (αστυνομικούς και δολοφόνους) και πολλές, πολλές ανατριχιαστικές λεπτομέρειες. Είναι ένα βιβλίο που χρειάζεται γερό στομάχι καθώς αναλύει πολύ διεξοδικά τον τρόπο δολοφονίας οπότε όποιος αποφασίσει να το διαβάσει πρέπει να είναι προετοιμασμένος.
Δεν θα πω περισσότερα. Είναι ένα βιβλίο που έχει όλο το πακέτο οπότε οι λάτρεις του είδους ας το προσθέσουν στη συλλογή τους!
Σειρά τώρα έχει «Η σιωπή των δέντρων» και αν κινείται στα ίδια πλαίσια θα πρέπει σύντομα να αποκτήσω και την «Τελετουργία».
Explosively exciting start of a new series! I have to admit that I do love a good “catch the serial killer” book, and this one is great! The killer was uniquely evil, and the hero, Jack Caffery, is endearing, slightly flawed, and very human.
One of the best things about the book is the fact that Jack is haunted by the unsolved abduction (and suspected murder) of his younger brother. The suspect is a pedophile neighbor. The detective work to solve the serial killer crime is engrossing, and is blended with the side story dealing with Jack and the evil neighbor--superbly done!
Recommend to anyone who likes serial killer books, detective books, or suspense/thrillers. After reading this I went out and bought all the books in the series!
well. talented writer. but i found the thriller not amazing. i thought the decisions to go to necrophilia a bit too much. it seems a choice of just to give a shock to the reader. the build up of this nuts guy was not interesting. too obvious. the same goes to his background . too much scientific details which are boring as we do not understand all the terminology. but mistakes of good writer. i enjoyed her third thriller ritual much more as it touched human and social issues.
Propulsive! I was out of breath at the end of this, but Hayder lets us down easy in the excellent last chapter. This is really a 4-star book, but I deducted a star because of the many disturbing graphic descriptions of the murders. Maybe only one or two other mysteries that I've read have been this grim. I almost abandoned it several times during those scenes, but the multiple layers, Jack Caffrey and his back story, the portrayal of the psychology behind the crimes and the cast of characters kept me in it till the end. I'll definitely move ahead in this series!
The narrator, Damien Goodwin, was outstanding! One of the best, I'd say.