Monday, 7 July 2014

The Butcher

Author: Jennifer Hillier
Genre: Suspense
Type: Kindle e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Publication Date: July 15, 2014
First Line: "April 25, 1985 - It had once been a lovely apartment building, but the crackheads had changed all that."

Book Description from GoodReadsFrom the author of the acclaimed suspense novels Creep and Freak and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a "top of the line thriller writer," The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous "Beacon Hill Butcher" was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  I'm struggling with how I feel about this book.  On the one hand I enjoyed the writing and the author was able to keep my attention pretty much throughout (no easy feat).  It had a high creepy factor and overall it was an easy read.  It also had a few twists (some I was surprised about and some I saw coming) and some truly gruesome and bloody murder scenes. 

But there were also some things that just didn't sit well with me.  The thing that shocked me the most about this book was the fact that the reader learns the identity of the killer early on in the story -- I'm talking within the first couple of chapters!  Not a common thing to do if you want to build up suspense, right? 

So instead of a suspenseful murder mystery it suddenly becomes more of a character study of a psychotic killer.  The only real suspense in the book comes from the reader waiting to see how various characters will react to certain scenes and the knowledge of the serial killer's identity. 

And because the identity of the killer was divulged so early in the book I was expecting some huge twist at the end, something to make up for the lack of suspense.  Unfortunately I guessed the big revelation from early on in the storyline and I found the ending to be too abrupt and the loose ends tied too neatly for my liking.  The character development was also weak with Matt and Sam being one-dimensional main characters with little chemistry between them which didn't endear them to me.

So there were strengths with this book and some weaknesses.  I do appreciate the fact that the author was taking a risk using a different method to tell a suspenseful story.  Unfortunately I'm just not sure this method worked for me.  The Butcher is definitely a gruesome read at times but it was a book that definitely kept my attention.  While there is quite a bit of swearing and some sexual content, if you want a creepy read with a different slant on how to tell the story then this might be the read for you this summer.

My Rating: 3.5/5

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