Title: The Butcher and the Wren
Author: Alaina Urquhart
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 13th September 2022
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 encyclopaedic 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 piles up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.
How far is Wren willing to go to draw the Butcher into the light . . .?
An addictive read with straight-from-the-morgue details only an autopsy technician could provide, The Butcher and the Wren promises to ensnare all who enter.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for a while and it totally delivered on my high expectations! The Butcher and the Wren is a dark ‘read in one sitting’ psychological thriller which is a prime example of a true page turner. I was hooked from start to finish on this game of cat and mouse between serial killer and forensic pathologist. The narrative is split into alternating chapters from each of their perspectives and it worked beautifully. The titular Butcher is one of the most horrifying villains I’ve come across, appearing deceptively normal and yet filled with a vitriolic hatred for pretty much anyone bar himself. Wren, the forensic pathologist on the butcher’s trail is compelling and smart with a feistiness that I very much enjoyed! There is a wealth of visceral forensic detail that surely comes from the author’s career as an autopsy technician and which adds an authenticity to proceedings. The setting is also chillingly perfect for a serial killer thriller, taking in the murky bayous of Louisiana and the mystical darkness of New Orleans itself. The Butcher and the Wren has a eerie cinematic feel to it and would make a fantastic, albeit pretty gory, movie. Sinister, vivid and intensely atmospheric – I would definitely recommend this propulsive thriller!
I very kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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