The Birdwatcher, by William Shaw

I found out about this book through a brief review on Sarah Ward’s blog. I quickly ordered a copy.

Ward had said the book had an interesting ending and assured she’s give “no spoilers” to ruin the book for others.
However, the book seller may not have been so thoughtful. Their brief description of the book on their sales site potentially revealed a significant “spoiler”, and my reading of the book became an exercise in second guessing what was ahead.

What appealed to me and encouraged me to get a copy?

Firstly there was Sarah Ward’s recommendation.

Secondly I was interested in trying a new crime writer, although I’m not sure why considering how many books I still have by the handful of authors I’ve already started.

Thirdly, as a backyard birdwatcher, the reference in the title  was appealing. How many novels these days have bird watching references?

As I write this I’m only a third of the way into the book, so I still don’t know whether my spoiler fears about the bookseller’s blurb will be realised. I’m also not sure to what extent I’m enjoying it. Throughout, the story splits between two time periods; the present, with the murder investigation, and the past where childhood memories are depicted.

So far I’ve preferred the parts from the past. They seem to have more life, more colour, and a stronger uncertainty of what comes next. They also cover a period and a political situation that’s interested me since my teen years (when these events would have been occurring).

Of course, it may not be fair to write a “review” with so little of the book completed, but when I can, I want to address books as an ongoing experience, and not as some kind of post-read judgement.

I’ll have to write again later to confirm whether the book seller’s blurb was a genuine spoiler or not, and of course give a more informed account of my overall reading experience.