Last year, I picked up The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison after seeing a number of people reading it at the same time on my Goodreads. The premise of the book sounded extremely interesting and I’m always up for a horror/thriller/crime drama as long as it is pretty hardcore and gruesome. Since then, I have flew through the three books in The Collector series. I bloody love these books.
I haven’t written a review for The Roses of May (the second book in the series) as I read that in March/April and after a quick dive into some Greek mythology books, I got my hands on The Summer Children! Since this one is fresh in my mind, I will write the review for this but just so you know, The Roses of May is excellent and is at such a high standard. just like the former novel and the latter.
I am desperate for another book in this series. I don’t want to wait for the next one, they are just so good!
So let’s get into it all, shall we?
Working with the Crimes against Children unit cannot be easy. Agent Mercedes Ramirez has seen some of the most horrific cases of abuse against children, alongside having experienced abuse as a child herself. Alongside several of the agents that worked the ‘Butterfly’ case, Ramirez has a specific method for dealing with the cases she comes across; being honest with the children and handing each child that is involved a teddy bear that they can use for comfort. But when children, soaked in blood, terrified, with marks of abuse, start showing up on her doorstep, clinging to teddy bears with halos and wings, what could this symbolise?
Ramirez’s career and mental health is put to the test and she must find out what is happening to the children and their parents before more children turn up at her door.
Damn, this book is good.
This book is not for the fainthearted or anybody who is incredibly sensitive. You need to have a strong stomach and be able to read about horrific crimes against children in this novel. There are a lot of triggers such as pedophilia, rape, incest, drug abuse, kidnapping, murder. There is a long list but if you are interested in thrillers and horrors then I can tell you, you will love this book. I will tell you that none of the crimes (apart from the murders) are described in extreme detail. Hutchison gives you just enough to know what has happened. Sometimes she hints at what abuse the child went through rather then fully detail it. These are actually the most horrific as your mind is whirring all over the place, trying to work it out and conjuring so many horrible possibilities. When I picked up this book, I KNEW there would be difficult moments but for people picking this book up out of curiosity, it may be good to be warned.
That’s my warning anyway. Now onto the good stuff.
The characters in this book are exceptional. I find it very hard to relate or ‘get to know’ characters in thrillers, especially if they are in crime units. I have no clue why, I’m clearly just not reading the right books. I can tell you, I loved ALL of the characters in this. I knew some of their backstories from the previous books so it probably is best to read The Butterfly Garden first. You’ll get a feel of their personalities and understand some of their ticks too. There are other characters you may not entirely understand unless you read the other books but I LOVED these cameos. These were those of previous victims to crimes the team have dealt with. They are always very funny, endearing, and entertaining! You’ll see what I mean.
The story itself is brilliant and unique. There is so much trauma and heartbreak but you cannot help but continue to read because you need to know that everything is going to be okay. I could not put it down. I needed to know who the ‘angel’ was and what was their plan. I must admit, I thought the ending of the pursuit was a little abrupt but it was perfectly rounded off in the next chapter. I thought I was going to be disappointed when the pursuit ended but I can tell you, I was not.
I only have two TINY negative points and they are HONESTLY just personal preference.
- A lot of different agents were mentioned aside from the three main agents we know from all of the books. Some of their names completely lost me and I found myself backtracking a little to work out who the character was and when had they been previously mentioned. It slowed my reading down a little and that’s just why I wasn’t a fan of this BUT I understand wholeheartedly that it was necessary for the reality of the story!
- Agent Mercedes Ramirez speaks Spanish sometimes. This is perfectly fine with me – everyone should be allowed to speak their own language! But, some lines were randomly thrown in and as my Spanish is mediocre at best, I found myself using Google Translate, whilst reading to make sure I didn’t miss a funny or crucial point. Fortunately this doesn’t happen too often in the second half of the novel but it also slowed down my reading and I just wanted to get through it SO quickly as I needed to know what was going to happen!
Aside from these, this book is exquisite. I seriously, seriously do not want to wait for the next one. I do not want this series to end because Dot Hutchison is a master at Thriller and Horror writing. I haven’t read books like hers in a long, long time.
5 stars. I highly recommend this novel and the whole series!