Birdman by Mo Hayder // Book Review

Birdman is the first book written by Mo Hayder, and the second one I read. The first one I read was The Treatment. It was the sequel to Birdman. The difference between the first and second books is quite clear.

Though both books can be treated individually and self-sufficient, the first one provides an insight into the second one. The protagonist was guilt-ridden in the second one. At the same time, the second book tells you why, looking at it in the first book offers a view into Jack’s mentality.

Well, like Treatment, Birdman also deals with rape and murder. The Treatment is more detailed.

It is the usual deal, I guess. The second book of author is more detailed than the first one. In the first one, they tried to be subtle, to play safe and short. In the second, authors tend to double down on what works well.

The Treatment is more bizarre than Birdman. It deals with unspeakable crimes.

Well, this review is of Birdman’s book, so let’s carry on.

Quick Summary of Birdman

Police found dead bodies of girls with dead birds in their bellies. There is no sign of forceful sex. But all the girls were found in one place, and they all looked the same. They all were mutated to look like the same person.

The police investigate, there is some racism going on, then in the end, they find who is doing it. In twist and turn, it opens, and two people are involved.

One person is necrophiliac, and the other person is just a lover. While the necrophiliac one knows he is sick and what he is doing is wrong, the other one seems unhinged. But it was a business partnership.

One picks the girls, necrophiliac over-drugs them cleanly, and then has his way out. The other one gets the bodies and then makes them look like his lover before spending time with the dead body. Later, he throws them in a pit where police find them.


The story of Birdman book revolves around necrophiliac. I understand a person can get a fantasy or fetish to have sex with a dead body. But what I don’t understand is that the same pleasure can be obtained via an unconscious prostitute. He tries to have an escort and tells them to be unresponsive and play dead. But why cannot he make them unconscious (with consent) and then do it?

According to this paper I found via Google search, the most common motive for necrophilia is possession of an unresisting and unrejecting partner. An unconscious person can be unresisting and unrejecting. Or is it more than the unresponsiveness of the body that turns on a necrophiliac?

The criminal in the book is rich and intelligent, and he suppresses his desires using drugs. An over-drugged dead girl happens, and it hits his pressure point to trigger the long-buried intentions. That is my only issue with the book. When there was a clear solution to his problem, why would he not take it? It is not like he was hell-bent on doing the crime.

Long lost brother

Jack’s brother was lost when they were kids. He tries to look for him. His house is near the person whom he blames for his missing brother.

Sadly, I wrote the second book already, and I know what happened to him. I know what happens to everyone. I also know what Jack does. All the brother’s sub-story does not land well with me.

My mistake, but it is what it is.

birdman by mo hayder

Many characters

There are many characters and names to remember in the book. There are so many in the police department, girls, personal life, etc.

Then these characters have two names, one name and one funny name. Then there is the serial killer’s name -every team calling him a different name. It is easy to get confused about which character is being discussed at what time.

Fighting scenes are difficult to navigate. I failed to understand at what moment Jack decided or killed.

Nothing happens when nothing happens.

When there is nothing to do in the book, nothing happens. The filler part of the book is very, very boring. Filler is important, but you have to make them in a way that is interesting to read.

It is quite clear that some pieces are there to fill in the pages, and they do not affect the story at all.

They are not even imploring the character like the entire segment with Jack and his ex-girlfriend. If you remove all that part, the story stays the same.

Do I recommend the book?

Yes. Reading two books, I am liking Mo Hayder so far. Both books have crazy subjects, and the writing is perfectly okay. Though confusing when many characters are involved, she can picture the conversation between two characters well enough.

But it is not a vacation read. If you are in the mood for something dark, Birdman works for you.

Book Summary

Birdman by Mo Hayder is a dark story of necrophiliac and unrequited love. A modern horror story of drug, guilt, kidnapping, & pedophilia.


Author: Mo Hayder

Editor's Rating:

Faizan Fahim

Hello, welcome to this blog. Just writing reviews of the book I like. Also, favorite quotes, poetry, memes, sometimes other topics too, but always related to literature. So join me on Twitter to talk to me.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.