Revolutionary Branding Branding de Hal/Elazığ, Turkey
Birdman is Mo Hayder's first novel, published in 2000. As an entrée served by Hayder before a long list of courses more bloody and frightening than each other, Birdman is perfect. In her debut novel, Hayder introduces Jack Caffery, a detective who will feature in some of her subsequent novels. "Birdman" is the nickname given by the police to a serial killer who has buried five of his victims - five butchered women - in an empty field in London's Greenwich area. Caffery soon realises that the psychopath he is on the trail of is much, much worse than any other he has ever encountered before. Hayder's writing is not dissimilar to the scalpel used by Birdman: precise, lacerating, and bloody. But it's also effortless, and like any good writing, doesn't draw attention to itself; it simply serves its purpose, a story that will keep you on edge untill the very last page of the book. Hayder makes smart use of the environment, the sounds, the colours and the smells; it's almost as if it were not a story you're reading, but a film played on the screen of your mind. Even better, her dialogues sound true and efficient. But what distinguishes Hayder's crime novels from others is an ability to create characters who are real people, not flawless heroes. These characters don't work in isolation, the search for the killer is a team effort win which every member of the crime division has a role to play. And Caffery is simply the musical director who facilitates the development of the piece. I had read Gone - another Jack Caffery novel - before reading Birdman, but this was not a problem. Each Hayder book can be read as a standalone. Birdman shows all the signs of a great writer, including some of the subtlety and smart plotting that Hayder will further develop in her other novels. Two small things disappointed me in Birdman, maybe because I had experienced some of Hayder's later writing. The first disappointment is that towards the end of the story, Caffery does two things which make me instantly lose my compassion - and my interest - for him. If I had not read Gone, maybe I wouldn't have wanted to experience him again. The other disappointment was, once again towards the end of the book, what I perceived as gratuitous gore - the story could have ended without it and without losing any of its edge. This said, and not to end on a downer since I really liked the novel, Birdman is a one-sitting type of read, a story full of twists and dead ends that I guarantee you will not see coming, a book to be read absolutely by any crime lover. I was given "Birdman" by Transworld Publishers as part of The Great Transworld Crime Caper, in which I am currently taking part.