Series: Jack Caffery Book Number: 1 Read this book for: extra-creepy serial killers, solid police procedure, detectives with a troubled personal life Quick Review: Mo Hayder writes a tight, fast-paced page-turner of a thriller, but this one is not a book for everyone — be prepared for a lot of very dark, very shocking topics. BIRDMAN is the debut novel from Mo Hayder — a crime thriller that uses shock as its main device to propel a story of horrific brutality and graphic violence forward, but remains a decent read with its combination of writing, technical procedural detail and fairly well-developed characters. I finished it in a day! I want to start this review with a warning: this is not your average cozy mystery. Be prepared to be shocked, appalled and generally grossed out by the content and descriptions of the victims and their treatment by this particular killer.

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Mo Hayder 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 Maddox waited until the incident room was quiet. She stared at it for a moment, red-faced at having been singled out like this. It was Betts calling from London Bridge. Kryotos listened, looked at Maddox, then at Diamond, and handed the phone silently to Caffery.

Gemini stared at a textured black streak on the cell wall wondering if it was what he thought it was. The Nikes were perched on the top like twin loaves clean, fresh and new from the oven. Essex had a grim look on his face. Pig bones. Get him bound over. Tired of what Ewan was costing. Caffery taped the warrant and schedules to a window pane and stood back to allow DS Quinn and DC Logan, like a brace of thoughtful ghosts in their white Tyvek suits, to enter.

Essex and he remained outside, shuffling through the gravel, examining a soggy pile of cigarette ends in the bed of moon daisies. On this—a day belonging not to early summer but to later in the season, where autumn begins—the wind was bright, the sun fluttered strobe-like in the overgrown trees, Japanese maples, a towering gingko, filling the garden with sparkling green and yellow light.

Similar to the September day that Ewan had wandered off down the humming rail tracks. Bones on an anonymous bench in the forensic science lab. Penderecki still stirring the pot. What do you think? I could smell it from the garden.

The smell released made them all take an involuntary step backwards. Quinn quickly pulled a face mask out of her grab bag and smiled. Essex was nervous. In spite of his bravado, he was actually afraid of what they might find inside. I mean that. A light had been switched on in the room behind her. I want the camera crew to go through here first. They looked into the first room. The floors were deep in newspapers and fast-food boxes, chairs upended, a table covered in clothing.

In a small utility room at the front of the house they disturbed a swarm of flies, which rose to reveal piles of dirty plates, topped by two chicken carcasses. Everywhere the curtains were closed. In the corridor Logan was waiting outside the bathroom, his expression neutral. The bathroom was small and high-ceilinged, a brightly striped blind pulled tight across a large, oblong window.

Across the marble-topped vanity unit someone had abandoned empty toothpaste tubes, yards of grey dental floss, used razors, two or three condom packets, a grimy bar of soap. All were covered in dust. In the porcelain bowl swam a mess of faeces and toilet paper. At some point the toilet had flooded onto the floor and the stew of excreta and tissue had washed up against the tiled walls, the edge of the bath, the shower stall. Later the water had evaporated, leaving a stinking black sediment, pocked with pink tissue.

What do you suppose she was doing? To vomit. Heroin maybe. One assumes. Like a vet feeling for a breach birth, Caffery thought. Quinn sniffed and straightened up, poking at the mess with a finger. A pair of tights. Two aubergine-coloured hairs were caught in the drain trap of the ground-floor cloakroom and Logan found syringes in a lacquer box, and small amounts of heroin and cocaine in two antique blue-glass and silver ink bottles.

Everything was painstakingly sealed in evidence bags. There would have been leakage when he opened them: blood, putrid matter. We should have some trace evidence, at least in the drain traps.

Maybe to kill them, but possibly after he killed them. See if the lime-green skirt was the same one her daughter had been wearing the night she disappeared. I want Jackson before this weather gets working on her. Half an hour? Hey—are you OK? You kept that quiet. Get her to put a word in with Joni for us, eh? Tell her how sensitive I am or some shit.

With Harteveld dead he should feel relief. Instead he was uneasy, his nerves pared and ready as if his body was preparing itself for more hurdles. Caffery stopped, enjoying the luxury of watching her unseen. The sun lit the curve of her cheek, he almost believed he could see each fine hair gold on her skin.

In the short tartan skirt she seemed shockingly vulnerable. Like an encouragement on this spread of emerald grass. She put the brush down, wiped her hands on a small piece of rag, and, as if she had known he was there all along, looked up, squinting slightly, a slim brown hand shading her eyes from the low sun.

A whole bag of fresh nectarines. What do you want? Began pulling the foil from the bottle. It was Toby Harteveld. We released it to the press an hour ago. Eventually, as if she had decided to shake it off, she took two glasses from the rucksack and placed them next to him on the grass.

She looked at him and smiled. You and me. We had a tree house. I was eight. Doctors are baffled. I forgave him. I suppose. In his jacket pocket the mobile found the embarrassed gap in their conversation and rang loudly, making them both jump.

He answered the phone.


Birdman – Mo Hayder (Jack Caffery Book 1)

Mo Hayder 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 Maddox waited until the incident room was quiet. She stared at it for a moment, red-faced at having been singled out like this. It was Betts calling from London Bridge. Kryotos listened, looked at Maddox, then at Diamond, and handed the phone silently to Caffery.


Birdman (Jack Caffery Series #1)

Late May. Three hours before sunup and the river was deserted. Dark barges strained upstream on their moorings and a spring tide gently nosed small sloops free of the sludge they slept in. A mist lifted from the water, rolling inland, past unlit chandlers, over the deserted Millennium Dome and on across lonely wastelands, strange, lunar landscapes — until it settled, a quarter of a mile inland amongst the ghostly machinery of a half-derelict construction yard. A sudden sweep of headlights — a police vehicle swung into the service route, blue lights flashing silently. It was joined moments later by a second and a third. Over the next twenty minutes more police converged on the yard — eight marked area cars, two plain Ford Sierras and the white transit van of the forensic camera team.


REVIEW: Birdman by Mo Hayder (Jack Caffery #1)


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