Friday, June 20, 2014

The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

The Beacon Hill Butcher terrorized the Seattle area for decades until the Chief of Police, Edward Shank, confronted and killed Rufus Wedge back in the 1980s. It seemed the city released a collective sigh of relief. But even deeply buried secrets find a way to come back to the surface. The next generation usually pays the price for what others do before them.

Matt, grandson of Edward, is a talented chef with a meteoric career and caring girlfriend, Sam. In the middle of their personal struggles, both find out answers to long-held questions and it twists the way in which each of them view life. Combine that with new and disturbing murders taking place in their own backyard, each finds their homes aren't as safe as they first thought. Will they be able to keep their relationship intact? What kind of peace will the answers bring?

This book was one of three previews that NetGalley sent my way in their mystery newsletter. Let me preface this review by saying that it is NOT your typical murder mystery or thriller. The action began in the first chapter and let the reader know right away what was going to be happening. I admit that I scratched my head a little in the beginning chapters because I wasn't expecting so many bombshells in the first five chapters. With that kind of reveal, I was worried about the rest of the book and whether it was worth finishing.

Some of the characters were truly fleshed out. I will warn you. When two of the characters say they are "dicks," they truly mean that they are jerks on the extreme end of the spectrum. They are the living example of the definition of jerk and then some. In addition to these guys, there are a couple "positive" characters who aren't as bad, but they also have some faults. It's these small flaws that made them a bit more believable to me. The only thing that bothered me was the amount of coincidences within this book. So many threads tied a few of these characters together. I'm not sure if the author intended them to be this tightly woven together or if the story naturally took that turn and didn't look back.

The story did start off with a bang. Literally. From there, the pace was more of a roller coaster. Some chapters were a breeze to read through due to the action or conversations taking place. Others seemed to drag the story along. At one point I was struggling to get through a couple of the early chapters because it felt like the characters were being forced into a situation they might have ended up in later. There were some very good chapters that I didn't want to end and kept the story moving toward the climax.

All in all, I did enjoy the story despite the many coincidences and sometimes slow-moving pace. The author gave an unique approach to the story. That did help me keep reading whenever I began to struggle. She laid out an evil killer and what havoc he wreaked on those around him had repercussions for generations beyond his. And truthfully, that ended was a good one. No, I won't spoil it. However, if you're looking for a bit of a different take on the murder/thriller genre, this book would be a great place to start.

The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier will be available at many online retailers on July 15, 2014. You can pre-order a copy in harcover, Kindle or audio-book editions. Clicking the link below will take you to the book's Amazon page.
The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

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