By Dot Hutchinson
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Print Length: 288 pages
Release Year: 2016
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.03
Available on Amazon
Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding… (Goodreads)
My interest was immediately piqued when I read the description of this book. And, let me tell you, this book delivers! It’s a unique concept that’s well-executed. I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to know what happened next. Hutchinson does a masterful job revealing just enough to keep you interested but not too much as to alienate and overwhelm the reader. And while this book deals with some serious crimes and does not shy away from being descriptive, it’s not a very hard book to read. It reads quickly and easily without being unbearably upsetting.
There is a certain amount of cinematic nature to the way this book is written. I could see this being an episode on a crime series or a whole series on its own.
The only issues I had with this book is the “big reveal.” It was predictable and somewhat lacklustre. I found myself looking forward to a more scandalous ending. Of course, the ending still delivers something, but it felt incomplete. This is only the first book in a series though, and while the titular “butterflies” are not the focus of the subsequent books, they’re story continues in the background.
Regardless I definitely recommend this book, especially for the price. It’s an entertaining read with a lot of spooky vibes, and even if you agree with my assessment of the final twist, the book is still overall entertaining as heck.