My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Butcher made me feel the same way I feel driving past a bloody highway accident. You don’t want to look, but you can’t help yourself. You can’t resist the grisly glimpse inside the mind of the Butcher, a serial killer who enjoys every moment of his victim’s suffering and is never troubled by any twinge of remorse or guilt.
This is not a who-done-it mystery at all. From the first chapter you know one of the most respected men in Seattle, a grandfather and retired Police Chief, is also a “retired” serial killer known as The Butcher. Edward Shank is eighty years old and moving into a retirement home. He’s giving his house, with its buried secrets, to his grandson Matt, who was raised by his grandparents. The Chief knows Matt may discover the souvenirs he saved from his Butcher days, but he doesn’t care. In fact, he’s kind of looking forward to it.
Matt does find the incriminating souvenirs. The discovery throws him into a frenzy of anxiety, confusion and guilt. Self-centered and selfish to the core, his first thought is how his own life will be affected if his grandfather’s crimes were ever made public.
Suspense? Yes! What will Matt do? Will he go to the police? Will he tell his girlfriend, Samantha, who is writing a book about The Butcher? Will Samantha find out on her own? Will she survive being the one person who is closest to both the Butcher and his out of control grandson?
What about Edward Shank? Every chapter leaves you wondering what he will do next. He may be eighty years old, but he’s not dead yet.
As a senior citizen, myself, I have to admit the portrayal of an eighty year-old as malevolent and unrepentant as The Butcher appealed to me. We read enough about crotchety old men who are actually lonely/misunderstood/dying/etc. Edward Shank is one of a kind.
This is my first Jennifer Hillier novel. I’d never heard of her until NetGallery offered me an advance electronic galley. The Butcher will be published in July, 2014.