Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #24: Birdman by Mo Hayder

birdmanHave you heard of Mo Hayder?  She’s one of those British detective writers you like, except really… disturbed.

This was a friend’s recommendation that led me to order the first of Mo Hayder’s novels from the library.  And it is spot on.  Yes, she writes modern day British crime with the classic flawed hero, but this story was seriously disturbing.  I can’t remember the last time a novel gave me such heebie jeebies.

Detective Inspector Jack Cafferty has recently joined a new crack investigation squad in London.  He has all the classic anti-hero traits: a drinking problem, inability to sustain a relationship, a dark secret in his past.  His first callout with his new team is to a crime scene in North Greenwich, where the bodies of five murdered women have been found.  The investigation quickly takes a turn for the weird, shocking and completely revolting – strong stomachs are advised.

I don’t want to get into any spoilers of the plot here, as I find in detective fiction it’s making the connections as the story unfolds that’s half the fun, but… wow.  Gross-out ickiness factor aside, I really did not guess how this story was going to play out.

Mo Hayder hits all the beats I look for in detective fiction: a great story with lots of twists and turns, a flawed hero, lots of detail about the process behind the investigation…. But in addition to this, she writes some of the most detailed characters I have ever read in a novel of this genre – even the smaller characters are fleshed out with motivation and drive.   I will be looking for the next novel in the series, though I will certainly be mentally preparing myself better this time.  If you do decide to read this, don’t say you weren’t warned!

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