After Alek and Carmel Peach are discovered handcuffed and nearly dead in their London townhouse, Detective Inspector Jack Caffery learns that their young son, Rory, is missing. Obsessed with the unsolved disappearance of his own nine-year-old brother, Ewan, 28 years before, Caffery begins to entangle his personal life with the investigation. Caffery still lives in his boyhood home, across the railroad tracks from the aging pedophile whom he believes kidnapped, molested, and then killed Ewan. When the abused body of Rory is discovered, Caffery suspects a link between the two horrific crimes separated by nearly three decades. This graphically disturbing thriller explores an underworld of child porn, sadistic pedophilia, and ritualistic murder, though the gruesome atmosphere is somewhat tempered by Caffery's tentative steps toward romance with his girlfriend, Rebecca who barely survived a sadistic sexual assault herself. Hayder successfully weaves together a complex plot and continues the strong development of Caffery begun in her debut novel, Birdman (LJ 9/15/99). Recommended for all public libraries where lurid suspense is popular. Joseph Egan, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"'The first controversial British thriller of the new millennium' Val McDermid 'Treading the path blazed by Thomas Harris' Publishers Weekly 'Extraordinarily good' Daily Mail 'A major new talent' Guardian 'It'll scare the hell out of you' Elle 'Fearsome' The Times 'Horror to set the heart fluttering' Sunday Express"
This sequel to Hayder's 2001 debut Birdman is as raw as a predawn autopsy, and promises to please fans of her beleaguered protagonist DI Jack Caffery and his weary crew of London cops and coroners. The book trades its predecessor's taboo (necrophilia) for pedophilia, with Hayder delving deeper into the nitty-gritty of police work than many of her American counterparts dare. Called in when a young couple are discovered handcuffed and half-dead in their home, Caffery's infamous Area Metropolitan Investigation Team ("The murder squad, you mean?") combs a seedy park in a gentrifying slum looking for the couple's missing eight-year-old son. Caffery leaves no stone unturned, bringing in helicopters and human remains dogs ("You do know that if we find him the dogs might, uh, destroy some evidence, don't you?") and broods over the resemblance of the case to his own brother's childhood disappearance. With the discovery of the boy's mutilated corpse, Caffery and his boss, the affable DCI Danniella Souness, turn South London upside down hunting the sadistic killer. Meanwhile, the author introduces potential suspects in a parallel narrative, their hidden vices described with stomach-churning clarity. Hayder handles procedural detail ("All prisons in London insist on being informed about any helicopter that passes. It keeps them calm"), dialogue ("I'm not a shagging Yank, you know") and volatile subject matter with powerful dexterity, crafting another deliciously chilling thriller. (Dec. 26) Forecast: This was a bestseller in England and should significantly build Hayder's fan base in the U.S. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.