Published by Thomas & Mercer on June 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Serial Killer, Thriller
Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.Amazon •
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding...
Mature-Content Rating: Death, Mention of Rape, Mention of Suicide, Violence, Language
“But because it’s personal, because they’re passionate, agents in crimes against children are often the first to break and burn out. After three decades with the bureau, Victor’s seen it happen to a lot of agents, good and bad alike. It nearly happened to him after a particularly bad case, after one too many funerals with too small caskets for the children they’d been unable to save. His daughters convinced him to stay. They called him their superhero.
This girl has never had a superhero. He wonders if she ever even wanted one.”
This book started off differently than I thought it would. The story revolves around Maya, a girl who had been recently rescued from The Garden of a very demented man. The book is written through her eyes as she tells the detectives her version of what happened to the girls in The Garden as well as her life before The Garden.
Let me start out by explaining a bit about The Garden. This sicko kidnaps girls and takes them into his high security greenhouse where they live out the rest of there days. Why ‘Butterflies’ you ask? Each girl has their identity removed from them, given a new name by The Gardener after he’s finished tattooing large butterfly wings across their back. A bit creepy, right? Well, he’s not even half as creepy as his eldest son and his torture chamber, but I’ll let you read that one for yourself.
Maya’s character never really had a secure home life, as readers learn from her talks with the detectives, and as young as she is she’s a hard and level individual. Instead of having a complete breakdown, she’s one that instantly kicked into survival mode.
Now, The Garden has three types of girls: the ones who can’t take it and have constant breakdowns and suicide attempts, those who are bidding their time and waiting for a chance to escape, and those who have found peace with their lot and have total stockholm syndrome; willing to do just about anything for The Gardener. As the reader and the detectives listen to Maya weave her story, her part in The Garden comes into question.
The story itself left me with nasty shivers and a major dislike for butterfly tattoos. Even though there were a few plot holes I could overlook them simply because of the creepy factor and greatly executed concept. But what could not be overlooked was the terrible, horrible, absolutely not good plot twist ending that was completely impossible and caused a major eye-roll followed by a face-palm.
Overall, the book was a great mystery/thriller full of delightfully creepy characters and a not-so-bad heroine, but I can’t really recommend this book just because of the horrible ending. It’s not fun to read through an entire book and get to the end and wonder if you’ve read it all just for a terribly thought out twist.