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Birdman Paperback – 1 Jan 2001

293 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group); New edition edition (1 Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553812653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553812657
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 10.9 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 794,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mo Hayder has written some of the most terrifying crime thrillers you will ever read. Her first novel, Birdman, was hailed as a 'first-class shocker' by the Guardian and her follow-up, The Treatment was voted by the Times one of 'the top ten most scary thrillers ever written'. Mo's books are 100% authentic, drawing on her long research association with several UK police forces and on her personal encounters with criminals and prostitutes. She left school at 15 and has worked as a barmaid, security guard, English teacher, and even a hostess in a Tokyo club.

She has an MA in film making from the American University in Washington DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University. She now lives in England's West Country and is a full-time writer. For more information on Mo Hayder and her books, see her website at

Product Description

Amazon Review

This crackling psychological thriller introduces police detective Jack Caffery, on the hunt for a serial killer nicknamed "The Millennium Ripper" by the British tabloids after the bodies of five prostitutes are unearthed beneath the rubble of a Greenwich landfill. All the victims were raped and their bodies horrendously mutilated--but not until after they were killed by a dose of heroin injected directly into the brain stem. What stuns Caffery even more than the post-mortem savagery is the one detail of the murders the public doesn't know; the hearts of the women were replaced with birds that were still alive when they were sewn into the victims' chests. Caffery himself is a tortured man, still burdened by guilt over the decades- old murder of his younger brother and frustrated because he cannot bring the man he knows to have been responsible to the bar of justice. When the Millennium Ripper confesses to the prostitute killings just before taking his own life, Caffery faces his own limitations and begins to make peace with his past. But then another prostitute is found dead, her body savaged in the same way, a bird where her heart was, and Caffery realises that his past may never truly be put to rest. A solid page turner, this gripping debut by a young Englishwoman introduces a complex and fascinating protagonist destined for another appearance. Meanwhile, Birdman will enthral readers who just can't get enough of Hannibal Lechter. -- Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'A first-class shocker' -- Guardian

'Extraordinarily good' -- Daily Mail

'It'll scare the hell out of you' -- Elle

'Not for the faint-hearted…what sets Birdman apart is Hayder's talent' -- Val McDermid

'One of the best things I've read…she has the ability to walk the mean-streets walk as well as talk the mean-streets talk' -- Independent

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 24 Oct. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have summarised the plot so I'm not going to bother repeating that. I've had a mixed response to Hayder: I thought Skin was pretty terrible, really liked Tokyo and have just read Birdman.

In lots of ways this is a fairly run-of-the-mill crime thriller with women being tortured and killed by a psychopathic killer with mother issues... Some of the plotting and writing is quite clunky and amateur, especially the flashbacks to said killer's childhood. However, the characterisation of the lead hero/anti-hero Jack Caffery really lifted this book out of the more usual fare for me.

While he's certainly a variation of the familiar 'tortured cop' fictional stereotype, Hayder manages to imbue Jack with life beyond this. Charming (when he feels like it), sexy, attractive and vulnerable, Jack is also driven, obsessional and hard with a very dark core to his psyche.

There are a few too many cliched elements to make this an outstanding book, but Hayder's ability to get under the skin of a fascinating, intriguing and edgy character like Caffery makes it one well worth reading.

Be warned, as other reviewers have said, this isn't for anyone averse to blood and gore (and yes, some of it is gratuitous), but alongside that more schlocky element is something genuinely compelling about the main character.

I am mid-way through The Treatment and think it's a far better book, more polished and intense than this one, but to really get a handle on Caffery, Birdman has to be read first.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Debbie on 31 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
I randomly selected this book at a UK airport before travelling to Australia. As a result, I lost 4 days of sightseeing so that I could get to the end! As an avid reader of all types of fiction and non-fiction - this will stick in my mind as one of the best books I have ever read. Destined to be made into a film, it would far outstrip anything in the 'Lector' trilogy and has a multitude of twists that no one could envisage. As far as thrillers go, it was also refreshing to read a novel that is set in the UK - (unlike the fine work of Grisham, Harris and the like). Characters are well defined, the plot is well structured and it will impact on you for days. Thoroughly recommended - buy it now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 May 2003
Format: Paperback
I selected this book quite randomley from my local library - but from the minute I picked it up I realised that I was on to something special.
The main character is Jack Caffrey the detective, who as you would expect is not just your run of the mill kind of guy.
The story is excellent, although some people may find the subject matter disturbing. However the writing is first class and the subject is dealt with skillfully, and reallistically.
I would definitely recommend this book if you're looking for a pacy, gritty novel to keep you interested from page1.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
Who would imagine that an attractive young lady could have such a sickeningly horrific imagination? She's a wolf in sheep's clothing, is Mo, that's for sure. This is her debut novel, I've discovered it six or more years after it was created but I read the first few pages at the very same time as the height of the investigation into a real-life serial killing in Britain that at first glance shares frighteningly similar bullet-point details as those in this fictional tale. I'm referring to the `Suffolk Strangler' who in the latter part of 2006 murdered five prostitutes and dumped their naked bodies in south-east England. All five women were drug addicts. So it was kind of spooky to read BIRDMAN as these facts were revealed on the news, because very early on in this story the naked bodies of five prostitutes are found in south-east England, all of them later found to be drug addicts. Was the Suffolk Strangler inspired by this book?

It's very unlikely. As more is revealed about the Birdman, and why he is so called, I cannot imagine that anyone, no matter how devoid of sanity, could have carried out such pre-meditated butchery. In fact the story appears to be drawing to a close when only half of the pages have been read when we suddenly discover that, somehow, things actually take a turn for the worse and we are then treated to a second half that involves further descriptions of how low a human being can descend in their sexual indulgences and the exploitation it involves.

Compared to the crime thrillers I have read, Birdman does push one or two boundaries of horror a little further than most, although this is not to say that there have been others unknown to me that have not ventured further still. It's probably as far as I want to venture myself, however.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Jan. 2000
Format: Hardcover
I could not disagree more with the reader from Leeds. I too had seen the review by Maxim Jakubowski, and had also seen it recommended by Val McDermid in The Sunday Express. There's generally been quite a lot of hype about it, and, to be honest, I expected that the book might be a disappointment, as hyped books often are.
But Birdman is a fantastic piece of writing: it's gripping, fascinating, the hero is totally believable, and the story a real page turner. From the moment we meet Jack Caffrey, Hayder's DI, he is instantly attractive. Like all the best cops, he is intensely private, hard on the outside and soft on the inside, and with a wonderfully wry sense of humour. But he's not just a tired washed up cop, like so many other literary DIs; he has a life and a set of problems that a lot of people in their 30s could identify with, and as a character, you just want to know more and more about him. I've read somewhere that Hayder wrote him because she was lonely at the time and wanted someone to fancy - and I think a lot of women will be able to identify with this as he is very attractive!
The story itself is anything but predictable, and the much talked-about scenes of violence and gore brilliantly done. Its darkness reminded me of the film SEVEN, and it is just as compelling. The story twists and turns, and the final scene, and the images in it, will stay with me for a long time.
Basiclly, this is a supremely intelligent crime novel that would appeal to fans of crime fiction, but also to people who just enjoy good writing. I really think that she will be a major star.
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