Reviews

The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart @AlainaToTheMax @MichaelJbooks @sriya_v #TheButcherandtheWren #AlainaUrquhart #TheClqrt #BookBlog #BookReview

Michael Joseph September 2022

Book Description

In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch.

With her encyclopedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice. And yet he continues to elude her.

As body after body pile up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Sriya at Michael Joseph for inviting me to be involved in this blog tour and sending me a proof copy of the book – and what a striking proof it is, look at the picture, can you see the Wren?

Wren is a pathologist, she works closely with the police in New Orleans, Louisiana and as the story commences it quickly transpires there is a killer at large. Truthfully I found this book a little slow initially, told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Wren and the killer – known as Jeremy, the story was told in real time, meaning the killer was taking and torturing victims while Wren, in conjunction with the police was trying to identify and reprimand him.

I mentioned slow, but this book did quickly pick up pace and transpired into a gripping read, a page turner. But it is one dark read – I think having a torturous killer from the outset weighed heavy and while it is a credit to the author the writing was vivid which made the killer’s very early chapters hard to read. This book is marketed as horror / crime and I was curious about that but it fits well. Parts of the book were creepy and the tension was high. Silence of the Lambs is referenced in this book and actually that is a good comparator. Don’t get me wrong, this is an original thriller but in terms of fear factor and gruesomeness this book is right up there.

A strong plot and sharp storytelling make this one a winner, I mentioned tension, it is very tense reading at times, scary even and I loved it. A subtle but fantastic twist impressed me a lot and actually makes writing this a little tricky, yes it took a while to get into but once I did I flew through this book. A new sleuth in forensic pathologist Wren? The ending has certainly been left open for more and I sincerely hope it is the beginning of a series.

Available now to buy, thanks again to Sriya and the publisher for introducing me to this author and thank you as always for reading.

About the Author

Alaina Urquhart is the science-loving co-host of the chart-topping show Morbid: A True Crime Podcast. As an autopsy technician by trade, she offers a unique perspective from deep inside the morgue. Alaina hails from Boston, where she lives with her wonderful husband, John, their three amazing daughters, and a ghost Puggle named Bailey.

She is about 75% coffee, and truly believes she and Agent Clarice Starling could be friends. Before writing her first psychological horror novel, she received degrees in criminal justice, psychology and biology.

When she isn’t hosting Morbid, she hosts the Parcast original show Crime Countdown, and a horror movie podcast called Scream! Her days are usually spent either recording or eviscerating. The way she sees it, when she hangs up her microphone for the day, it’s time to let the dead speak.

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