Book Review and Blog Tour: The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart

Something dark is lurking in the Louisiana bayou: a methodical killer with a penchant for medical experimentation is hard at work completing his most harrowing crime yet, taunting the authorities who desperately try to catch up.

But forensic pathologist Dr. Wren Muller is the best there is. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of historical crimes, and years of experience working in the Medical Examiner’s office, she’s never encountered a case she couldn’t solve. Until now. Case after case is piling up on Wren’s examination table, and soon she is sucked into an all-consuming cat-and-mouse chase with a brutal murderer getting more brazen by the day.

I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read this book and be part of the blog tour for it. I enjoy a good crime story and this one sounded like it ticked a lot of my crime reading boxes!

Told in a split narrative between the Butcher (our killer) and the Wren (Forensic Pathologist Wren Muller) this was a fast paced read that I sped through in two sittings. The pace really helps to keep the reader engaged and gets you over the couple of bumps in the narrative nice and fast.

There were just a couple of places where I felt the ‘first novel’ inexperience of the writer show through, notably a scene where Wren and the police team are hunting for a body in a crowded place, people are mentioning a smell and there’s a giant swarm of flies but no one else even seems bothered to check, even those standing close by where the small is described as almost making Wren (an experienced forensic pathologist) wretch.

For me the Butcher seemed more strongly developed than Wren who I felt we didn’t really get to know at all as a person, it made it harder to feel you were on her side past obviously wanting the police to catch the killer. This worked with the pace of the narrative though, she was predominantly the job rather than an individual.

I’m not sold on the ending to this one, I think it will split opinions with some loving it and others not, you’ll have to read it to see which side you come down on!

All in all this was an enjoyable read and I’ll definitely pick up the authors next book to see how she’s developing as a writer.

The Butcher and the Wren is available now

With thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for sending me a copy in exchange for honest review.

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