Mo Hayder, Birdman (Dell, 1999)
[originally posted 22Nov2002]
Another of the sheaf of new British mystery novelists who’ve been getting picked up by American presses recently, Mo Hayder offers up her debut novel, Birdman. And what a debut.
Birdman gives us a serial killer with a pathology unlike any other I’ve ever encountered, and it’s actually somewhat distressing that someone managed to come up with it in the first place. To then backtrack through the lives of the characters and make the pathology plausible hints at a deeply unstable mind. Would that we had more of them behind the world’s typewriters and word processors.
There is no way to give even the merest synopsis of more than the first five to ten pages of this novel without getting into spoiler territory, so I’m not going to try. Fans of the serial killer mystery as offered up by writers like P. D. James (there was more than once I was put in mind of Devices and Desires while reading this) are more than likely going to adore this book. It is, however, not for the weak of stomach. My advice to those who have a bad reaction to gore? Take a few Dramamine and pick this up anyway. ****