The Birdwatcher – William Shaw

I had seen the description for THE BIRDWATCHER by William Shaw (releasing June 27th, 2017) and it immediately intrigued me – “Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself.” That’s enough to pull me in!

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My Thoughts: 4.5/5 stars!

This novel is set in the Kent marshlands, where William South both works and lives. South works for the police force as a detective, yet he gets anxious when he is asked to take part in a murder investigation. Not only will this interfere with his hobby as a dedicated Birder, but William is also a murderer.

When he discovers that he knows the victim – his neighbor, Bob Reyner, who would frequently join him in watching birds at the reserve close by. Why was such a gentle, soft spoken man such as Bob Reyner killed so brutally? The nature of the murder reminds William of his childhood and violent past. We find out within the first couple pages why he labels himself as a murderer.

To make matters worse, he is partnered with Alexandra Cupidi, a sergeant who just arrived from the Met to assist in the investigation. The main person of interest is someone from South’s childhood – with the victim being the only connection to South’s crime years ago. He must now work tirelessly to keep his personal connections to not only the past, but also to the victim, a secret.

THE BIRDWATCHER is British crime fiction to its core. I really enjoyed the bleakness of the story – the characters, the location, and the murder. Shaw did a great job developing and creating the characters. William South is a diligent and methodical man, Alexandra is vivacious and troubled as she raises her teenage daughter, Zoe, on her own. The relationships between the characters are incredibly unique.

If you’re looking for a slow burn, police procedural, British crime fiction novel, then I’d highly recommend this one! I really enjoyed Shaw’s writing style and I’ll be looking for more from him.

A big thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

–Jess

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