BIRDMAN (Jack Caffery #1) by MO HAYDER.
FIRST SENTENCE: North Grenwich.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Chapter 43, Page 307) 'Indeed it is.' Bliss sat down behind his desk, and stretched his arms, lacing his hands together and cracking the bones. 'My birthday!'
MY THOUGHTS: DI Jack Caffery's first case with the Metropolitan Police's crack murder squad is a nasty one. Five naked female bodies discovered buried on a London construction site, mutilated and horribly degraded. The killer has left an unsettling calling-card with each corpse and Caffery's team must rush to identify him before he selects another victim.
This is Mo Hayder's debut novel and it is very, very gritty. Shocking yet very well written, the novel covers a huge range of disturbing taboos - including necrophilia. paedophilia and prostitution. I consider myself to be pretty unshockable, but even I was shaken a couple of times!
In spite of the disturbing subject matter, Hayder's characters are rounded, strong and believable. In particular, DI Jack Caffery's history still haunts him and his obsession with past events is described very well by the author.
This is an astonishing first novel and Hayder certainly holds nothing back. Despite this, however disturbing the plot, I never once felt that Hayder was attempting to shock just for the sack of it; every dreadful event was was added for a good reason.
Birdman is definitely not for the faint-hearted or the easily shocked and I would urge that readers use caution when deciding if this book is for them. But I am extremely glad that I reviewed this book, as I really did enjoy it. (I'm not sure what that says about me, of course!)