A Killing Sky by Andy Strada
A Netgalley review
This is no.6 in the PI series about Frank Pavlicek and his sidekick Toronto.
I found that there were lots of different elements in this story with lots of clues but also lots of hidden motives that you don’t discover until some way into the book/story. I did really enjoy the story and the style of the writing and shall read more. I give it 4 stars.
As it happens the author -Strada – is a falconer and so he makes his detective Pavlicek one too. The detective’s hawk is called Armistead and is a red-tailed hawk. Not a familiar type of hawk to us British so I needed to look it up. Note the pun on the title here with hawks flying down to kill from the sky…
It seems that as is common with hawks, the female is the larger bird and that it mates with a tiercel – which means 1/3 in old French as the male is 1/3 of the size of the female.
In the book several types of hawks or birds of prey are mentioned and here is a short list – I hope I haven’t missed any: Info and photos mainly from http://www.britishfalconersclub.co.uk/
Red tailed hawk: The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the “chickenhawk, It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1600 grams (1.5 to 3.5 pounds) and measuring 45–65 cm (18 to 26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110 to 145 cm (43 to 57 in). The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males.
Goshawk: The Northern Goshawk (pronounced /ˈɡɒs.hɔːk/, from Old English gōsheafoc, “goose-hawk”), Accipiter gentilis, is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. The Goshawk has long been the favourite hunting bird here in the UK. The Goshawks from southern and central Europe tend to be smaller in size and flying weight than birds from areas like Finland and Russia.
Peregrine: Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the “Duck Hawk” in North America, is a cosmopolitan bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It is a large, crow-sized falcon, with a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and “moustache”. It can reach speeds over 320 km/h (200 mph) in a stoop, making it one of the fastest creatures on the planet. As is common with bird-eating raptors, the female is much bigger than the male.
Gyrfalcon: The Gyrfalcon (pronounced /ˈdʒɜrfɔːlkən/ or /ˈdʒɜrfælkən/; also spelled gerfalcon) Falco rusticolus is the largest of the falcon species.
American eagles of course are wonderful large birds. I have been lucky enough to see them myself in Florida when I went to the space shuttle area and they were perching on almost every post..
Woodland Accipiters: Within the Accipitridae family, the Eurasian sparrowhawk is a member of the large genus Accipiter, which consists of small to medium-sized woodland hawks. Most of the Old World members of the genus are called sparrowhawks or goshawks.
Sparrowhawks will kill small birds as well as pigeons etc and often live in urban areas as do peregrines now. We have had a sparrowhawk nesting for many years two roads across from me, and my university was one of the first places in London that peregrines were spotted nesting on a window ledge on a tower block.
Now there was also mention of Saratoga water which also intrigued me. but in fact it turned out to be just a brand of spring water…
The age of the writing / writer was unfortunately shown when there mention of technology after all floppy disks have never been compatible with cell phones and certainly not a pocket sized cell phone. Maybe he was referring to stick drives? Or the very small types of hard drive storage that can be hidden in key fobs and so on. No computer – except those in museums still have floppy drives! And also file deletion is never really complete as our computer hackers/experts in retrieval will tell you. This is why so many firms who delete incriminating emails find themselves in court when those files are actually retrieved.
In youth we learn, in age we understand Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach was an Austrian who has many famous quotes.