Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation.
He is a murderer himself.
"An emotional intensity found only in the very best crime fiction."
The Sunday Times
A thrilling new standalone novel set in Dungeness, Kent.
"Superb description of a haunting, blighted landscape. His best book so far" C J SANSOM
The Breen and Tozer books
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New from William shaw in 2016
An extraordinary new standalone crime novel
He is a murderer himself.
But the victim was his only friend; like him, a passionate birdwatcher. South is warily partnered with the strong-willed Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, newly recruited to the Kent coast from London. Together they find the body, violently beaten, forced inside a wooden chest. Only rage could kill a man like this. South knows it.
But soon - too soon - they find a suspect: Donnie Fraser,
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.
Photo: Dungeness © Johanna Blankenstein
Breen & Tozer 1
A Song from Dead Lips, published in the US as She's Leaving Home.
London, October 1968. As Beatles fans encamp outside Abbey Road Studios up the road, the Marylebone CID is as much an old boys' club as it ever was: comfortably sexist, racially prejudiced and crawling with corruption. And then a body is found...
Breen & Tozer 2
A House of Knives, published in the US as The Kings of London
London, November 1968. The decade is drawing its last breath. In Marylebone CID, suspects are beaten in the cells and the only woman is resigning. Detective Sergeant Breen has a death threat in his intray and a mutilated body on his hands.
Breen & Tozer 3
A Book of Scars, published in the US as A Song for the Brokenhearted. Chosen as a Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year.
1969. Five years ago, teenager Alexandra Tozer was murdered on her family farm. Her sister Helen Tozer will never forget. Returning home after quitting the Met Police, she brings with her the recovering Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen, who slowly becomes possessed by the unsolved case. He discovers the Tozers were never told the whole truth.
Breen & Tozer 4
Sympathy For The Devil Coming in 2017
She made a profit from her youth. She's not beautiful anymore - but she will be young forever. Called away from his pregnant girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen knows the sight of the murdered prostitute will be with him all his life. But this is what he does: he finds killers. Helen Tozer, more than most, understands why.
A gripping story, impeccably researched
Breen & Tozer 1, The Guardian
Best Crime of 2013
Breen & Tozer 1, The Evening Standard
Breen & Tozer 1, The Mail on Sunday
Excellent period yarn that tackles bent police, the dark side of hippiedom and utterly nails the myth of the Swinging Sixties
Breen & Tozer 2, The Sun
William Shaw makes his sentences sing
New York Daily News
Cathal Breen is altogether the most welcome crime solver in British fiction
The question of why a killer kills is always central. William Shaw delivers a perfect motive in the third of his excellent Breen and Tozer mysteries…
Crime Book of the Year
BREEN & TOZER 3, SUNDAY TIMES
A thoroughly gripping triology
A contender for thriller of the year
The Birdwatcher, The Sun
Breen ploughs on indomitably, while the British Establishment turns steadily against him. It makes this a distinctive British crime drama, which benefits from a clear moral sense
Breen & Tozer 2, Daily Mail
Insightful . . . An elegy for an entire alienated generation
New York Times
The New York Times has called William Shaw’s trilogy of detective books set in late sixties London “an elegy for an entire alienated generation.” Featuring DS Cathal Breen and the brash young constable Helen Tozer, they are set against the cultural and political revolution of the times. A Song from Dead Lips was picked by Time Out as one of the crime books of 2013; The Daily Mail hailed A House of Knives as “a distinctive British crime drama, which benefits from a clear moral sense”. The third book in the series, A Book of Scars, was picked by The Sunday Times as their Crime Book of the Month, and subsequently as one of the picks of the year.
A standalone novel, The Birdwatcher, set in Kent and Northern Ireland, is released in 2016. CJ Sansom called it: "his best so far".
Before becoming a crime writer, William Shaw was an award-winning music journalist and 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.
Photo © Ellen Shaw