By William Shaw
Dark, intelligent crime novel about a policeman with a secret past, and an emotive exploration of violence within the family
WHAT DRIVES GOOD MEN TO MURDER?
'The most gripping book I've read in years. William Shaw is, quite simply, an outstanding storyteller' Peter May
'Grips the reader by the throat and never lets go' Independent
Sergeant William South has always avoided investigating murder. A passionate birdwatcher and quiet man, he has few relationships and prefers it that way.
But when his only friend is found brutally beaten, South's detachment is tested. Not only is he bereft - it seems that there's a connection between the suspect and himself.
For South has a secret. He knows the kind of rage that killed his friend. He knows the kind of man who could do it. He knows, because Sergeant William South himself is a murderer.
Moving from the storm-lashed, bird-wheeling skies of the Kent Coast to the wordless war of the Troubles, The Birdwatcher is a crime novel of suspense, intelligence and powerful humanity about fathers and sons, grief and guilt and facing the darkness within.
William Shaw was born in Newton Abbot, Devon, grew up in Nigeria and lived for sixteen years in Hackney. He is the author of the acclaimed Breen & Tozer crime series set in sixties London: A Song from Dead Lips, A House of Knives and A Book of Scars. For over twenty years he has written on popular culture and sub-culture for various publications including the Observer and the New York Times. He lives in Brighton.
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- Publication date:
09 Feb 2017
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Superb description of a haunting, blighted landscape. His best book so far. — C. J. Sansom
A brilliantly constructed thriller, told part in flashback to his traumatic past, it's utterly compulsive, written in sharp, unsentimental style, and with a wonderfully atmospheric storm-battered setting — Sunday Mirror
What a pleasure it is when one discovers a writer who combines ironclad storytelling techniques with the linguistic finesse of more literary novelists. William Shaw is surely such a writer, a man whose command of narrative grips the reader by the throat from page one, and never lets go - but also allows every word to register with exactly the right amount of resonance. And that's not to forget the idiomatic dialogue, which is another Shaw specialty . . . The Birdwatcher, it might be argued, is Shaw's most accomplished (and most visceral) book yet . . . [The] unsparing treatment of the personality of South - and the dark drives that can lead people to murder - that is at the chilling heart of this book — Barry Forshaw, Independent
a fine, atmospheric, emotionally compelling thriller — John Williams, Mail on Sunday
A gripping plot, atmospheric setting, highly believable characters and dialogue you can imagine real people saying, make this a contender for thriller of the year — Sun
An astoundingly good crime novel — Elly Griffiths
Packs an emotional punch that hits all the harder because of the absence of histrionics. Crime Books of the Year — Telegraph
The Birdwatcher: the most gripping book I've read in years. William Shaw is, quite simply, an outstanding storyteller — Peter May