Friday, 15 April 2016

The Scream of the Butterfly

Author: Jakob Melander
Genre: Suspense
Type: Trade Paperback
Pages: 394
Series: #2 in the Lars Winkler series
Source: Publisher
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
First Published: November 2015
First Line: "Fog stretches across Provestenen."

Book Description from GoodReads: The mayor of Copenhagen is found murdered in his luxury apartment. Detective Lars Winkler is put on this sensitive case, which is further complicated by the fact that the victim’s mother is the leader of the country’s most radical political party and the current minister of finance. Lars notices the minister and her husband are strangely untouched by their son’s death. When he begins to dig into the mayor’s past, he slowly uncovers the dark story of a young, idealistic man, who had only one wish: to free himself of his family and live his own life. Dark and chilling, The Scream of the Butterfly is Scandinavian crime at its best.  

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

My Review: This book is a Nordic noir political thriller with a murder thrown in for good measure.  It is the second book in the Lars Winkler series.  I hadn't read the first book in the series but I didn't have too much trouble getting into the plot or characters.  The story is told via many flashbacks which, at times, became a bit much.  With the two different time lines there were quite a few characters to keep track of but once I got the characters straight this was a fairly fast paced read that kept my attention with multiple twists.

Lars is a good protagonist but lacks energy and isn't quite as interesting as I was hoping.  He has personal issues, is a good investigator but still lacked that special something that will make him memorable to an avid reader like myself.  The most interesting character was Seraphine who often felt like more of a main character than Lars.  I felt that the issue surrounding Seraphine (I don't want to give it away) was explored with compassion, sympathy and respect.  Unfortunately the bulk of the secondary characters blend into each other with no one really standing out with enough character development to be interesting.

While this book has suspense and deals with crime it's much more of a political thriller which isn't a genre I'm drawn to.  The author gives readers enough details about the Danish government without bogging down the story but I still didn't find that aspect of the book quite as riveting as others might.  I enjoyed the twists the author throws at the reader but the big reveal at the end was a little lackluster and I think that stems from the fact that the secondary characters aren't given enough depth.

In the end this is a political thriller with a side order of murder mystery.  While I'm not a fan of political thrillers, Melander provided enough twists to keep my interest. Fans of the Nordic Noir genre may enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to House of Anansi Press for providing me with a complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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