Thursday 1 February 2018

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

The BirdwatcherThe Birdwatcher by William Shaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - As and when over 2 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Mulholland books

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself.

**Longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South's world flips.
The culprit seems to be a drifter from South's childhood; the victim was the only person connecting South to his early crime; and a troubled, vivacious new female sergeant has been relocated from London and assigned to work with South. As our hero investigates, he must work ever-harder to keep his own connections to the victim, and his past, a secret.
The Birdwatcher is British crime fiction at its finest; a stirring portrait of flawed, vulnerable investigators; a meticulously constructed mystery; and a primal story of fear, loyalty and vengeance.

My Review

William South is a police officer in a small town, when a fellow birdwatcher is found brutally murdered William is compelled to find out what happened. When a name from his child hood pops up as a suspect William finds himself revisiting his childhood and the secret he had long ago buried.

As well as the murder, South has a new partner Cupidi who has her hands full with her teenage daughter and her own past she would like to keep quiet. An unlikely friendship with Cupidi and her daughter, South finds himself no longer the lone ranger, even his bird watching time is shared. South wants the crime solved and can't take a step back or follow orders, who did this, why and are people who they say they are?

I really liked this, the murder kicks everything off and we follow the investigation, the relationships South has with the folk living in town and flashbacks to his time growing up in Ireland. I loved the bird watching parts, it isn't something I have ever done myself but this is the second book I have read with it in it, it works well.

If you have issues with swearing, be warned there is a fair amount of it in this book, the police banter and some of the characters are rough and ready so it is fitting with the story. There are brief flashes to the troubles in Ireland as South was brought up during that time and we have a wee glimpse into that time period. It is very well written, the characters come to life and draw the reader in pretty much from the beginning. This was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time.

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  1. Connecting bird watching with murdered mystery seems like such a neat idea.

    I never knew that Theakson Brewey sponsored a crime novel award. I love Theakson Old Peculiar.

  2. Sounds interesting....although I'd probably be more interested in the birdwatching bits than in the murder mystery itself. :D

  3. Oh glad to see you found a new author to follow. I'm curious as to how the birdwatching pairs with the mystery. Seems like it would be a good match. :)

  4. Lainy, I'm glad you enjoyed reading this mystery. Lovely review! The bird watching aspect of this book appeals to me, although I've only watched birds in an informal, makeshift manner.

  5. This sounds like a good murder mystery. Glad you enjoyed it!


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