Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself.
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.
What a fantastic narrative. This already has a place in my top reads of 2017!
Without spoilers – we start with a fantastic hook, a confession, that colours our expectation and perception of what we might read next in this intriguing and mesmerising narrative; South’s secret is mind blowing and the circumstances surrounding this event will fill your heart with sadness, such is the strength of the character development here that you will mourn the tragedies that are slowly revealed.
What can I add? Fantastic relatable characters – minor and main, life stories that will resonate and/ or move the reader, locations that shape the dual narratives, a brooding sense of foreboding and a poignancy that is bitter sweet. Despite the bloody crimes – in the past and the present spaces, there is an underlying optimism that permeates the narrative, tightly grasp hold of this emotion as you stagger bloodied, battered and emotionally drained towards the resolution of this narrative.