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...
I received a copy of this novel from netgalley in return for an honest review
I loved Dot Hutchinson's first novel, the Hamlet retelling; A Wounded Name. So I was excited about reading her first adult novel, even more so when I realized it was a creepy serial killer tale.
I LOVED this book! I missed my trax stop on the train home I was so deeply entranced. This book was well written, beautiful, disturbing, heartfelt, interesting and unique. I got in on my kindle and will now buy it in hardback because it was one of my favorite books this year.
The author writes the bad guy The Gardener in an almost sympathetic likable way, just like in Lolita. I had to stop a few times and go, "eeew this is a fraking rapist serial killer! He's not romantic or kind!" However I find that this just shows what a great writer the author is.
I think the author was trying to make the protagonist, Maya, unreliable, but it failed. There is a weird tie in at the end that I found to be unnecessarily coincidental and awkward, which is my only complaint about the book.
It should be noted this book is dark, there are trigger warnings for rape (with underage girls by older men), drug use, child abandonment and suicide.
The story is told almost 100% from Maya as she sits in an interrogation room and speaks to the FBI about being in The Garden, which was a very clever way to tell this story.
I can't say much more than that because it would ruin so many aspects of this brilliant book. So just go read it!