The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird

S. & S. Feb. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781501191886. $26. CRIME
Hammer (The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu) here documents the twin lives of a criminal egg thief and smuggler and the officer from the National Wildlife Crime Unit destined to capture him. Hammer explores the illegal global falcon egg trade and the thrill-seeking opportunists willing to provide eggs to the highest bidder. His writing style is gripping and fast-paced, but never short on facts and accuracy. The narrative follows enigmatic Jeffrey Lendrum, from his youth snatching eggs in Zimbabwe to cliffs in Wales, providing the air of an adventure story to this true crime narrative. Officer Andy McWilliam applies his precise knowledge of birds and their eggs with surgical accuracy while compiling the case against Lendrum; he feels like the real-life equivalent of a subject specialist on shows such as Bones or CSI.
VERDICT This stranger-than-fiction story is as engrossing as a fast-paced action-adventure, and is sure to hold the attention of a variety of readers. Fans of Jennie Erin Smith’s Stolen World or Craig Welch’s Shell Games will be piqued.
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