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I gave this book 3/5 stars

Matt Shank’s girlfriend Sam is researching a story for a book she is writing on the Beacon Hill Murders by the serial killer; The Butcher. She believes he also killed her mother and is not convinced that Rufus Wedge, who was shot as he was being arrested as The Butcher was the right man. Matt’s Grandfather is the retired Chief of Police, Captain Edward Shank, who closed the case on the serial killer and Sam discusses her theories with him and uses his knowledge of the case for research for her book. At the beginning of the book you learn that the Chief is the serial killer; The Butcher, and the story continues unearthing deadly secrets, then how and when he will be caught.

I like the character of the Chief and the way his thought processes are described giving credence to being a psychopath. The psychology of a psychopath and serial killer is revealed through the perspective of the Chief. He is a strong dark character and cleverly gives an honest persona in his community and I could almost smell his cherry cigars as I got to know him. A story where the man who was promoted to Chief of Police through his case work of the Beacon Hill Murders, turns out to be the serial killer is cleverly thought out.

I was not sure how to review this book; I liked it but it was not what I was expecting as a lover of hard-core psychological crime thrillers. In my opinion this is not the run of the mill crime thriller as it has a great contemporary feel to it. The style of writing is a cross between; Chic Lit with the relationship being played out with Matt, Sam and their friends, and usual crime thriller with the serious nature of the Chief and the killings. To me this actually feels like a lighter version, without the heavily detailed violence of the traditional thrillers and I think it would appeal to anyone who wouldn’t usually read this genre, as an introduction to crime thrillers. Would I recommend this book? Yes definitely as it is engaging with great language.

What I was not sure about –

As a reader of hard core psychological crime thrillers, I felt that revealing the killer at the beginning is a bold thing to do, because the thrill of the story then rests on whether he will be caught and how. Turning the focus of the story on its head felt a bit confusing because instead of the main players being those who are doing the chasing, the killer is also a main player which bounces the focus about. The murders were told by the Chief as he was remembering specific killings, but lacked the conviction of violence, but, then this may be enough description for people who are new to crime thrillers.

I sensed two sides to this book, one from a male perspective and one from a female perspective, rather than being ambiguous and this was confusing. One minute I felt like I was reading a contemporary novel about the failing relationship of Matt and Sam, the next I was back in a male dominated world of cops and killers with different language styles of writing.

I was hoping for something more shocking in the murder descriptions but that is because I enjoy reading the psychology of what disgusts and excites me as a reader sitting home safe with a book! Many of us have a morbid fascination of psychopathic serial killers which didn’t quite satisfy me in this novel. I wanted to know just a little of the victims experience so that they became real, and I could sympathise with them.

My thanks to Netgalley for sending me this book in return for an honest review.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: July 15th 2014 by Gallery Books (first published July 1st 2014)
ASIN  B00GEEB7US
edition language  English

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