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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Butcher

ISBN: 9781476734217

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 7/15/2014

Format: Other Format

My Rating: 5 Stars +

From the author of the acclaimed suspense novels "Creep and Freak" and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a “top of the line thriller writer,” The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise. Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before.

Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands. Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down.

As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret. A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

My Review

Jennifer Hillier’s THE BUTCHER, is by far the most evil suspense psychological thriller—hooking you from the front cover, keeping you entranced until the last word. You then look up and say, “Wow, what just happened here?” No, he didn't. This is one twisted and sick guy . . . OMG! Front Cover: Stunning-drawing you into this intriguing, sick, twisted, psychological mind Publisher’s summary: Right on—a book I want to read! The Story: THE BUTCHER was totally epic in every way. What a chilling ride – Fast-paced, heart pounding, suspenseful, holding your breath to see what would come next. The author: Jennifer Hillier, what an imagination! She masterfully crafts each of the characters, with a unique cleverly twisted plot-Brilliant! In 1985 Captain Edward Shank of the Seattle PD made his reputation and a name for himself in this town, by apprehending the Beacon Hill Butcher, a serial killer who terrorized the Pacific Northwest. Everyone was grateful to Shank and his team, as most of the victims were young teenage girls. Flash forward thirty years and now Edward Shank is retired, a widower and transitioning his life into a retirement village—giving his home in the center of Sweetbay, one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, and also one of the most desirable—to his only heir, his grandson, Matt. Now eighty years old, bored, with a bad hip, arthritis, he spends his days playing checkers, dreaming of the good ole days, and watching TV—his days of glory are long gone. Matt, his grandson, an award-winning chef, owns the most successful restaurant in Seattle with recipes from his beloved grandmother (Iola), who is deceased. In addition to his famous restaurant, Adobo, he operates gourmet food trucks and now has gained attention of a Fresh Food Network TV show. Matt inherited his grandfather’s height, build, and personality, but his love for food and cooking was all from his grandmother. With all his fame, and work, Matt is stressed, self-centered, ambitious, narcissist, hot tempered, and has anger management issues. There are three things Matt loves most in the world: Adobo, the Seahawks, and Samantha (last). Not sure why he is even in a relationship. Samantha (Sam), a writer of ‘true crime’ books with an interest of turning ‘The Butcher of Beacon Hill into her next venture, as she believes her mother was killed by THE BUTCHER, even though it was several years (1987) after he was killed. She is on a mission with the help of a local police chief and an online website chat room-- to find clues about her mother’s killer. What happened to her mom? Sam is ready to get married and settle down with Matt, her boyfriend of three years. She hopes Matt will want her to move into this beautiful large home so they can begin their future. Sam is loved by everyone and especially close to her childhood and pro ex-football player, Jason. (she needs to ditch Matt). Soon after Matt moves in to his home, he begins renovations with the installation of a hot tub. The construction crew uncovers a locked crate. When he uncovers the contents of the crate, his life will never be the same.

What will he do with this information? His stress heats up as he uncovers hidden dark secrets of the past, as he attempts to withhold this secret, as decides it's best, as he does not want to lose all he has worked so hard to attain; however, his girlfriend Sam might make that impossible. However, this is only the beginning of what lies ahead – a nightmare with twists and turns you do not see coming! At the beginning of the book you find out the identity of the real BUTCHER; however, readers have no clue what is in store next. The murders did not end in 1985. What happens next will blow your mind- one surprise after another. The plot continues, focusing on new murders and how they intertwine with characters of the present and past. What makes this novel so different than the normal run-of-the mill physiological chilling thrillers—-the human interest side; how Hillier masterfully intertwines realistic everyday characters –a chef, a writer, and an ex-police chief—a story which could happen to any of us. Taking readers inside the mind of one troubled and twisted man. (Gosh, make sure you do not look at him the wrong way, or say the wrong thing, you may be dead within five minutes). He is never concerned about getting caught. Do you really know members of your family and loved ones? I hope I am never sent to a retirement home like this one! You better watch your back, your meds, and your tea! Makes you wonder about your family’s hidden dark past and secrets. There were really no real likable characters; however, in a book of this type, not sure you are meant to be warm and fuzzy with these psychos--it is more about entertainment. This gripping novel is not for the light hearted…From murder, rape, dismemberment, incest, poisoning, horror, torture, violence, sexual content, strong language, Viagra; cruel and gruesome—holding nothing back; keeping you on the edge of your seat until the end. Would recommend reading Hillier’s previous novels, Creep and Freak. This is an author to follow—she is right up there with the best of them!

A special thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My Reviews

FREAK (2012) before blog

CREEP (2011) before blog

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Jennifer Hillier. I imagine the worst about people, and then write about it. My newest psychological thriller, Little Secrets, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Anthony Award, and is available now from Minotaur Books. I’m also the author of Jar of Hearts (Minotaur), Creep, Freak, The Butcher, and Wonderland (Gallery Books). Jar of Hearts was shortlisted for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, and it won the Thriller Award for Best Hardcover Novel in 2019.

I was in born in Toronto, but I spent eight years in the Seattle area, which is where all my novels are set. I’m a Seahawks fan but I married a Packers guy. We have a young son who looks most like me when he’s crying. I’m afraid of the dark and can’t sleep unless I’ve checked the locks on the doors several times. I love writing when it’s raining, sleeping when it’s sunny, and reading after everyone else has gone to bed. I cherish my family (those who read, and those who don’t), and my friends (those who write, and those who don’t).

I also have a newsletter, which I mostly forget to write and send out, but when I do, it’s pretty good. You can sign up here.

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but hopefully not every day. I’m currently writing my seventh novel, due out in Spring 2022. WEBSITE






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