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Book: Birdman

May 24, 2009

Last weekend I really wanted to read a trashy vampire book, but had none. Instead, we have a stack of serial killer novels, which I bought for Terri last year for her birthday, which she’s been steadily working through. This one came highly recommended from the book boards I did research at (finding the best serial killer novels, since I don’t usually read this genre).

It was supposed to be particularly dark and shocking, which suited me just fine. My mood was so grumpy in the last few weeks that I needed something dark and violent. You know how that is? Sometimes the homeopathic-style reading remedy is better than the usual recommendation of “read something light and happy”. I think I would have thrown “light and happy” across the room.

But anyway. Dark and devious it was. It started out as a typical police/serial-killer story. Some gruesome discoveries in an abandoned lot. Some icky details. A slightly shocking ‘signature.’ Certain depravity and hard-boiled London police detectives. But then it veered from the usual, and provided backstory to the killer. We start to understand him, what drives him, what he’s fought against… and then, about 3/4 of the way through the book, a major twist, and then another. And then a really fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat creepy finale.


I sort of expected it to be a bit more gnarly, but it wasn’t too bad. I did have to skim through a couple paragraphs, but the writing was pretty standard “light-but-not-too-light-detective-novel” style, so it went quickly. The main character was likable and his pesky and annoying girlfriend was a joy to hate. The little love story towards the end of the book was touching and sexy, and the sadistic perpetrator was satisfyingly disgusting and mad.

I may try to find another novel by Mo Hayder as I appreciated her willingness to go for the creep factor. I find it interesting that there are certain gory scenes which I can take, no problem, but others that I can’t stomach. For instance, eye injuries creep me out and I have to hurry through those, but viscera doesn’t bother me at all. Needles do bother me, knives don’t.

I noticed that also when I took my anatomy class — I could dissect the cadaver with no problem (while my teammates stood away with hands over their eyes), but when it came to dissecting the sheep eyeball, I got all grossed out. Cadaverous innards, no problem. Bland sheep eyeball, total creep-factor. Who knows?

Anyway. This was a good substitute for vampire novel, and quite satisfying for a light (can serial killers ever be ‘light’?) read. Now on to more substantial reads. I think I’ve got a Kurt Vonnegut around here that I want to read…

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