Thursday, 28 July 2016

Not all is well in the garden, even

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 twits 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 ...

Having read this novel a while ago I am still not sure whether what it said on the cover was what I actually read.

The main story is told in flash-back – interview style, as the FBI are interviewing Maya, an escapee, after the fact.  However, when you are in the story Maya is telling it is as if you are actually there shadowing her.  

The sadistic nature of the book is revealed slowly and with some forethought so as not to trouble the reader too much but leaving enough to the reader’s imagination to fill in the terrible gaps in the narrative.  The pace is relentless and totally fascinating (especially if you love psychological thrillers).  What could be a totally macabre situation is handled exceptionally well such that is seems that such a novel has never been written before; and although the reader may loath the gardener they are equally rooting for the release of the flowers or rather butterflies.

Given the nature of the books one would think that the characters in the story are somewhat 2 dimension yet these women are fearless and strong.  There are so many characters yet each one is unique and they do not get lost in the collective.  Each character has clarity and leaves a distinct impression on the reader.

Yet there is just something that does not ring true with Maya, which is revealed at the end of the book.  And to be honest when the big reveal was made (and oh my goodness it is a whopper) would any sane person have put themselves in that situation?  Thus an incredibly detailed plot was left to fizzle out like a wet firework.

Thank you etgalley for allowing me to provide an honest review of this book, which in this case is 4 stars.

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