The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Published: 26th April, 2016
Series: The Collector #1
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…
Dark. Creepy. Disturbing. I very much enjoyed the writing style, and how the author constantly played on our fear of the unknown.
Maya, the survivor, is an enigma herself. As the interrogation goes along, FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison grow more and more frustrated. With good reason, I would say. I loved the dynamic between these two; Hanoverian being the patient, fatherly figure, perfectly complemented by the explosive Eddison, who started banging his fist on the table not even ten minutes into the interview. I’m with you, dude… The more you find out from Maya (and let me tell you, it’s like pulling teeth), the more puzzled they get about her role in the garden. She’s cool as a cucumber, people. Not what you expect from your everyday kidnap victim, for sure.
There are a lot of great things in this book, if you can suspend your disbelief. The way the chapters switch between the present day, where we know Maya has escaped, and her time in the garden just keeps the pressure up constantly. The characters are great. Every single butterfly from the garden has a unique personality, and the Gardener (notice how he doesn’t even have a name) is super ominous.
If it weren’t for the “shocking twist” at the end, I would have liked this book much more. I found certain elements somewhat unbelievable, but then reminded myself that poor butterflies are basically teenagers, and probably shitting their pants too much to actually think straight. Mental and physical abuse does that to people. But it seems the author just had to throw in a plot twist, just for the sake of it, because people love plot twists, don’t they, even when it’s super “duh”. Well… Nope.
This book is not for everyone. It’s violent, graphic, and downright nasty, but I guess it’s just expected, when you decide to pick up a book about some obsessed guy, who kidnaps a bunch of young women and keeps them captive for his own entertainment.
The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries.
P. S. I also wanted to show you some of the international book covers. They are seriously pretty!
Get The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Trilogy) on Amazon UK.