Heard: The Birdman by Mo Hayder, 2001, OverDrive.com download.
Are serial killer novels worn out? Have they been overplayed? Yes. But this is from 2001 and Hayder did a good job. Spoilers follow.
Caffery is a newly promoted British cop. He has a girlfriend he is sick of, lives in the house his parents sold Caffery when they abandoned him, and is obsessed with proving his neighbor killed Caffery's older brother 20 years ago.
Caffery is called to an industrial building site when a body is found. Then a couple more bodies are found. All the dead people are murdered women with amateur surgical work, unexplained injuries, and small birds sewn into their chests.
Caffery is an up-and-comer. Caffery has his supervisor's trust and that super admires Caffery's brains. But, not in a zombie way. When a second inestagtive tewam is called in for manpower help Inspector Diamond gets involved. (INnspector Diamond is such a weasel he knocks my fingers off the home keys.) Diamond is a suck-up and flatterer. Diamond is a racist weasel and his focus on a black man as murder suspect throws roadblocks in front of Caffery's line of investigation.
Caffery's super wealthy girlfriend is trying to change Caffery. Caffery starts hankering for a fomer stripper he meets while running investigative interviews. Caffery's main partner on the team is a big galoot. Big Galoot is also quite sharp but a joker.
We meet the murderer who has a sexual hankering for dead women. Murderer flashbacks us though his life and the overdose death of a woman in his bed that brings Murderer's unrealized sexual cravings to the surface and starts Murderer murdering with murder.
Things happen. Tension happens. Cafferys dumps his girlfriend with emotional trauma action. Caffery boinks Ex-Stripper. Murderer is found out. Murderer commits suicide. But wait! Murderer had a murderer pal, Murderer Two. Murderer Two kidnaps a woman, tortures woman, operates on woman, but does not kill woman. The search is on again!
Ex-Stripper and Ex-Stripper's roommate are abducted by Murderer Two. Murderer Two goes out to Blur-land. Caffery, Big Galoot, and the British version of a SWAT team head out to the country after Murderer Two. Murderer Two murders Ex-Stripper's Roommate. Murderer Two murders Big Galoot. Caffery is only one to see Ex-Stripper - wrapped in plastic an hanging from a meat hook is still alive.
Caffery goes home and destroys the belongings he kept about his brother's disappearance - the remains of voluminous files and an old tree house - and goes to see Ex-Stripper at the hospital.
1. The title is because Murderer Two would put the small birds into the dead woman to simulate the sound and feel of a beating heart.
2. Glenmorangie love.
3. Minimal cell phone.
4. Sex work.
5. British cop lingo and acronyms.