Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Early Book Review: Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery by Brenda Chapman (@brendaAchapman)

Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery by Brenda Chapman
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Published: Dundurn Group
Source: Netgalley

My Rating:

Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position of head of the Criminal Investigations Division. One hot week in late September, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment; in another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women's pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Kala Stonechild, one of Rouleau's officers from Ottawa, suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help. Stonechild isn't sure if she wants to stay in Kingston, but agrees to help Rouleau in the short-term. While she struggles with trying to decide if she can make a life in this new town, a ghost from her past starts to haunt her. As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Who murdered Leah Sampson? And why does Della Monroe's name keep showing up in the murder investigation? Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Stonechild and Rouleau race to discover the truth before the violence rips more families apart.

**Thanks to Netgalley and Dundurn Press for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.**

It is rare that I read a book that makes me feel as though if I don't write my review the second I finish it the wonderfulness of it may escape me. This was one of those.

Yearning for a good whodunit, I requested this novel without knowing what to expect. It had been years since I read a detective novel. It would be unfair to say that this book exceeded my expectations since I went about reading this with very little. However, I will say this satiated the want for a good mystery beyond what I hoped and left me wanting more! So much, in fact, that I have added two more Brenda Chapman novels to my "to be read" list.

Jacques Rouleau moves to Kingston to look after his father, transferring his life from Ottawa, including his job. With a short staffed force, Rouleau is being pushed to hire a new detective, but there's only one he wants. He just can't seem to find her.

It's by chance that Kala Stonechild shows up the day after a husband rapes his wife and the day a local university student is murdered. With no intentions to stick around, Kala finds herself in a precarious situation. It isn't until Stonechild, Rouleau, and Gundersund have checked out the crime scene that she acknowledges she'll have to stick around for, at the very least, a few days.

From page one Butterfly Kill gripped me in an unrelenting vice. The opening scene emotionally attached me to two of the key players in the story. As the story progressed a short ways, I was stunned. Already I liked this broken couple, Leah and Wolf, who worked at the university help line and wanted in on the cause of their wounded courtship. I felt betrayed for not getting to see more of Leah and who she was. What happened, however, was that by the end I felt I knew the heart of the character, which made this mystery all the more a worthwhile read.

Leah wasn't the only character who garnered my attention. The three main detectives had me flipping pages with anticipation. Rouleau for his slight crush on the real estate agent, whom he had only met once, and for the heartfelt relationship between him and his father. It humanized him, as Kala's familial estrangement, and Gundersund's marriage (or lack thereof) humanized them. These glimpses into their lives brought them to life for me, and admittedly, I wanted more, especially of Stonechild and Gundersund. The sexual tension between these two was perfect.

Brenda Chapman acknowledges in her author note that these events are fictitious, however, the basis of the story is very real. Once you have all the key pieces to the puzzle and meet each character, you find that Butterfly Kill is more than a mere tale of tragedy. The events that led up to the murders of this story are things we hear about on the news, happening around the world, but may not consider happening in our own backyard. The twist that links these crimes I didn't see coming, but loved it through and through, as I was guessing "whodunit" the entire length of the book.

I will remember this novel fondly for a time to come. Dalal, her sisters, Leah, Gail, Brian Munroe, are all characters, that as an emotional reader, I felt deeply for.

Butterfly Kill is a book that made me feel a little bit of everything. It was entertaining and as mysterious as it sets out to be.

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