My Friday Post: The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I bought The Birdwatcher by William Shaw this week. It’s a book I’ve been looking out for, ever since I read about Shaw’s books on Café Society’s blog. So when I saw it was a limited time deal on Kindle at 99p I knew I had to buy it. It looks really good and it’s gone to the top of my books to read next pile.

It begins:

There were two reasons why William South did not want to be on the murder team.

The first was it was October. The migrating birds had begun arriving on the coast.

The second was that, although nobody knew, he was a murderer himself.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.


These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

Ferguson said, ‘See, I don’t believe a boy like you would have just stayed in the room with his dad, like that. Not for almost an hour.

The book blurb:

Sergeant William South has always avoided investigating murder. A passionate birdwatcher and quiet man, he has few relationships and prefers it that way.

But when his only friend is found brutally beaten, South’s detachment is tested. Not only is he bereft – it seems that there’s a connection between the suspect and himself.

For South has a secret. He knows the kind of rage that killed his friend. He knows the kind of man who could do it. He knows, because Sergeant William South himself is a murderer.

Moving from the storm-lashed, bird-wheeling skies of the Kent Coast to the wordless war of the Troubles, The Birdwatcher is a crime novel of suspense, intelligence and powerful humanity about fathers and sons, grief and guilt and facing the darkness within.


I like those opening lines – letting the reader know straight away that South is a murderer and also a policeman. And he is the birdwatcher of the title. Immediately I wanted to know more.

Have read this book? Does it appeal to you?

15 thoughts on “My Friday Post: The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

  1. The last line of the book beginning caught me by surprise (I read it before I got to the synopsis). The Birdwatcher seems like an interesting story. Enjoy your current read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, you already know how highly I think of Williams Shaw. I am seriously envious of the fact that you have not only this but the following three novels in the series to read as well not to mention his Breen and Tozer series. He really is one of our very best crime writers around at the moment.


  3. Oh, this looks intriguing, Margaret. And that book beginning (especially the last line) really got my attention. It sounds like a very interesting plot, too. I hope you’ll enjoy it.


  4. Hi there Margaret! Definitely appealing. This is the third book I’m adding to my TBR list today! This is going to be a good weekend.

    Happy reading and here’s my Weekend Book Friends


  5. PS: I just saw it’s still on special on Amazon so I bought it! YEA!! Thanks for the recommendation.


  6. I’ve had this one for a while and also the second in the series. I need to read them before long. I had forgotten the beginning of this book, but I now remember that I’d read at least that far in the book. Enjoy!


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