Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Alaina Urquhart: The Butcher and the Wren

Alaina Urquhart shows that a serial kill will stop at nothing for the perfect kill:

Dr. Wren Muller is one of the best forensic pathologists out there, and there has not been a case that she has not been able to figure out the manner of death to help the police. Now there is something dark and evil lurking in the Louisiana bayou, one where the killer is using inventive ways to kill.

I might be in the minority here but I do not know Urquhart from their podcast. I have yet to get into podcasts as I do not have enough time for those and audiobooks so I didn’t have the expectations others had going into this book. Now that I know this fact, I feel there were certain aspects of the book that Urquhart could have done better.

I liked when "The Butcher" was being more the mad scientist with his methods and Urquhart took the time to for him to explain the method and where the idea came from. Those were The Butcher's more sinister moments. I felt like the Butcher had yet to find a complete MO for doing things, and kept trying different things which was interesting but at the same time he felt incomplete and kept changing a bit too much throughout the book. 

I think my favourite part of this book was that the major twist was in the middle of the book as I did not see it coming. It really changes the story, overall flow, and mystery aspects of the book. I really really enjoyed that Urquhart did this, as without it the book would just be very similar to other mystery/thriller books with serial killers.

I think that Urquhart did not take the time to truly flesh out the characters, even Wren as a main character. We are told very surface level information about her and her life, but nothing beyond that. We get a little bit of her personality, but nothing to let the reader really know Wren, especially with events that happen within the book.

There were times in regards to Wren's profession that Urquhart asked us to extend our belief's a little too much. I don’t think a forensic pathologist would be brought out on police operations, like hunting for a killer at a music festival. I'm not sure that she would be able to smell a body amongst all the other orders that would be there, especially as it was written that she was some distance away. And I am fairly certain that they do not attend crime scenes, pretty sure they wait for the body to be sent to them (this aspect I could forgive though, as I think many crime dramas do this). I just had higher expectations about these aspects after I found out that she was a true crime podcaster, you should know your stuff when it comes to crime and how they are investigated and who does what.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I would check out another book by Urquhart or if this book becomes a series with that ending? I just hope that Urquhart takes the time to flesh out the main and minor characters a bit more.

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