I really enjoyed all three books in this series, The Birdwatcher, Salt Lane and now this one Deadland, although this one is classed as Book 2 in the series. Confused? Don’t be, just read and enjoy. It is actually the third book with the character of William South birdwatcher in it. It’s the second book featuring DS Cupaldi as the lead investigator into the crime(s) committed within. Each book can be read as a stand-alone by the way, but it does help to know some of the background, so reading the series is recommended.

Now that’s cleared up hopefully, back to the book. This is a manhunt make no mistake of that but not a manhunt of the traditional kind. Two petty thieves out to steal whatever they can embark on a spree of theft via moped. A nasty crime by anyone’s standards, but they pick on the wrong person by stealing their IPhone, an iPhone that is precious to this particular victim of theft. Exactly why is not totally revealed until later in the book.

Meanwhile, DS Cupaldi and team are investigating two separate cases. One of randomly found limbs and another of the discovery of an arm found inside an art exhibit.

The cases are linked. They involve some very dodgy dealings in the world of art.

The two boy moped thieves are hunted, not only by the person they stole the phone from but also by agencies of the law who are desperate to find them.

The crimes almost become secondary to the story of the manhunt. Whoever is hunting the two boys is a ruthless killer determined to have the iPhone back at any cost.

Although I can assure readers of this review that I’m an upstanding citizen (haha) I found myself rooting for the thieves throughout and wanted them to escape. It wasn’t a cliche that both were from difficult backgrounds, therefore they had turned to crime. It was an essential part of this breathtaking read!

Parts of it, as per the previous books are set in the glorious area of salt water marshes in Romney Kent and we meet Zoe again, DS Cupaldi’s daughter who developed an interest in birdwatching and still does.

An excellently written, breathtaking read, that kept me enthralled until the last page.


William Shaw has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, longlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and nominated for a Barry Award. A regular at festivals, he organises panel talks and CWA events across the south east. 
Shaw is the author of the acclaimed Breen & Tozer crime series: A Song from Dead Lips, A House of Knives, A Book of Scars and Sympathy for the Devil; and the standalone bestseller The Birdwatcher. He is writing a new crime series starring the character DS Alexandra Cupidi from The Birdwatcher, the first of which is Salt Lane. He worked as a journalist for over twenty years and lives in Brighton.

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He’s also the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine. 

Starting out as assistant editor of the post-punk magazine ZigZag, he has been a journalist for The Observer, The New York Times, Wired, Arena and The Face and was Amazon UK Music Journalist of the Year in 2003.

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