Longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year!
A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, Police Sergeant William 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.
William Shaw is an award-winning pop-culture journalist, who has has written regularly for the UK’s Observer and Independent, as well as the New York Times. His previous novels to feature Breen and Tozer are She’s Leaving Home, The Kings of London, and A Song for the Brokenhearted. Shaw lives in Sussex, England.
“Shaw’s prose still sinks its hooks in.” —Entertainment Weekly’s “Summer’s Chilliest Thrillers”
“I liked its discreet, thoughtful prose. . . . By its theatrical but moving conclusion, The Birdwatcher has become an excellent read.” —USA Today
“Well told [and] affecting. The writing is beautifully understated, and the characters are vividly drawn and likable in their imperfections. Shaw makes the stony landscape an important element in the work; it becomes, by the end of the story, a place to which readers will feel a curiously strong attachment.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A gem of an addition to the stellar Mulholland line of crime fiction. Shaw’s writing is true British procedural; lean and spectacle-free, it nevertheless grabs and doesn’t let go. . . . A well-plotted mystery with love and loyalty at its core, The Birdwatcher is a gratifying standalone that both satisfies and cries for more.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“There is a lot going on in this book which is artfully presented to the intelligent reader. I’ve read all of William Shaw’s novels to date and consider him to be one of the top major talents to emerge in the last five years. Rating: A” —Deadly Pleasures Magazine