Have you ever heard of a Shrike? I haven't till about a month ago. According to Audubon.org it's a bird famous for impaling their victims, these songbirds use a special maneuver to break the necks of small rodents, coming up from behind them. Shrikes are also known as butcherbirds because of their feeding habits. It's no wonder that this bird can be used in literature, movies and TV as a metaphor for a murderer or a serial killer. And maybe it has been mentioned in things I have read or watched in the past and I just don't remember.
A Wikipedia entry says that Shrike is the name of multiple fictional characters appearing in publications from DC Comics.
Then last month I'm listening to an audiobook called Bitter Brew. It's a small town murder mystery taking place in upstate New York where a prominent citizen is killed. The local detective investigates. This is written and read by Kelsey Grammer of Cheers and Frasier fame. A very entertaining book. The town has a couple birds that they love and care for like town mascots and one bird ends up dead. Tom the Shrike he's called. This is the first time I heard this word. Grammer explains that it is a predatory bird. They eventually find who killed Tom the Shrike.
Then I'm watching a great film called The Mechanic with Christian Bale. The camera follows him into his dilapidated apartment right past his building manager's apartment. She opens the door and asks when she's going to get the rent. Tomorrow Mrs. Shrike, he says. Camera pans to the mailboxes on the wall "Mrs. Shrike" it says. I was taken aback. There is that word again.
Then a week ago I'm listening to Michael Connelly's new book called Fair Warning. They are searching for a possible serial killer that picks his victims using stolen DNA. They call the killer, The Shrike. I was like, are you kidding me? I start writing this down now.
Then I turn on a great series on Netflix called Hannibal. There was a character called Garret Jacob Hobbs (also known as "The Minnesota Shrike") who was a serial killer who abducted and killed eight young women. I did a double take.
I say to myself, what the hell is going on here with this word Shrike? You know what it is? Just a silly coincidence. Rim shot.
- JP Myers (still taking notes)