Birdman by Mo Hayder

‘Birdman’ is Mo Hayder’s first novel and the first in her Jack Caffery series (she has also now added a number of stand-alone novels). I discovered Mo Hayder when her latest novel ‘Gone’ won the 2012 Edgar award.

Detective Inspector Jack Caffery has recently joined the murder squad, and the first murdered body has just been discovered. On closer investigation, another four bodies are found at the same site – all murdered in the same way. The murdered women were all prostitutes and/or drug users. They have been cut open and sewn back up by an amateur with some surgical knowledge, and on further examination it is discovered that they were all raped after they were dead.

So, Jack and the team are searching for a serial, necrophiliac murderer with surgical knowledge.

Meanwhile, Jack’s personal life is also coming off the rails. He has long been haunted by the disappearance of his brother Ewan when they were children. And, he has always suspected the involvement of his neighbour Penderecki, who is a convicted paedophile. Maybe this is what has made him so bad at relationships. He is currently trying to break up with his girlfriend (yet another failed relationship) but he doesn’t want to let her down because her cancer has just returned.

Meanwhile Jack falls for one of the victims – Rebecca!

Then, the police manage to discover the man responsible for the murders. But, as everyone starts to relax and get on with their lives, the police realise that the mutilations are still continuing.


The novel was incredibly tense – particularly in the last 100 or so pages. Some of the descriptions in the book were unbelievable gruesome – if you are a bit squeamish then this is probably not a good book for you.

I found the book excellent both for its plot and for the main characters – though some of the secondary characters were a bit weak.

Overall, a very suspenseful book and I’m looking forward to reading ‘The Treatment’ which is the next in the series.


Book Published 1999



See a full list of books by Mo Hayder

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