WHAT DRIVES GOOD MEN TO MURDER?
'If you're not a fan yet, why not?' Val McDermid
'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.
At the start of British author Shaw's engaging crime novel, William South, an avid birdwatcher and a community policing officer in Kent, England, muses on why he doesn't want to be part of a murder team. First, it's October, and the migratory birds are arriving. And, second, because "he was a murderer himself." (As a child, he may have killed a man.) William is even more reluctant to participate when he learns that the victim is fellow birdwatcher Robert Rayner, a friend and neighbor. Rayner's death is a mystery, and his life turns out to be an equally big one. Shaw (A Song for the Brokenhearted) has more than enough material there for a fine procedural, but he interweaves the present-day case with a more personal one, set in Northern Ireland in an earlier generation: 13-year-old Billy McGowan's father is murdered during the Troubles between the Protestants and the Catholics, and locals, not all of them official, want to know who did it. Both plotlines intrigue, but the crosscutting weakens the overall impact. Still, the action builds to a thrilling ending.