Frightful Friday is a regular meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.
This week’s featured title is The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier:
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Gallery Books (July 15, 2014)
- ISBN: 9781476734217
- Source: Publisher
The “Beacon Hill Butcher” was a savage serial killer who plagued Seattle in the mid-1980s. Referred to as “The Butcher” because he chopped off the left hand of his victims, he terrorized the women of Seattle until he was killed by the local police chief, Edward Shank. Now a retired widower, Edward has given his Seattle home to his grandson, Matt, whom he helped raised, and is now living in an assisted living facility.
Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, is eager to move in, but Matt, an up-and-coming restauranteur, cherishes his independence. Matt quickly begins making renovations on the home. When contractors come across a crate buried in the yard, Matt breaks the lock and uncovers something that will haunt him forever. Torn between telling the authorities and confronting his grandfather, knowing that this revelation will forever taint “the Chief’s” image.
Sam is on her own hunt for answers. An author of true-crime novels, she fervently believes that her mother, Sarah, was one of The Butcher’s victims, despite the fact that she was killed two years after the supposed Butcher was killed. Not realizing how close her life is tied to real Butcher, Sam uses her connections with the local police to uncover the truth…no matter the cost.
It isn’t until murders resembling that of The Butcher make an appearance that local police decide to take notice. Not thrilled with the idea that the true Butcher has been free for the past 30 years, they consult the Chief on the case to see if he can uncover anything they missed in the investigations decades before. Truly, they have warning of the devastating truth right before them.
I’ve been a fan of Hillier’s work since discovering her two previous thrillers, Creep and Freak. Hillier quickly established herself as a talented thriller writer and she has exceeded my expectations with this one! While the true identity of The Butcher is quickly revealed to the reader, we are granted to hold first row seats to watch the characters discover the truth. This early revelation certainly doesn’t remove the chilling tone from this novel; several times I found myself jumping and squealing out of fear. The revelations at the end of the novel are stunning, taking even this reader by surprise. The twists and turns are terrifying, preventing readers from suspecting the outcome of this brilliantly gruesome thriller.
While there are some pretty gruesome and explicit scenes, they certainly do not fall out of place in this thriller. The Butcher was known for his depravity, terrorizing and torturing his victims before their deaths. Hillier expertly captures this truly terrifying character, juxtaposing it with the innocent character of Sam, determined to uncover the identity of her mother’s killer.
I continue to rave about this author and how she has managed to quickly make a name for herself as a truly tremendous thriller writer. I will continue to devour everything she has read, and if you haven’t yet, you are in for a treat. Highly, highly recommended.