18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Conventional, clunky in places - but lifted out of the ordinary by a great anti-hero,
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This review is from: Birdman: Jack Caffery series 1 (Kindle Edition)
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.