Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
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…
This is a free novel through Kindle Unlimited and it exceeded all expectations I had when it popped up in my suggested novels. The darkness and light that emanate from this horrific story just enthrall you.
Dot Hutchinson tells this story from the POV of Maya, a young woman who has just been rescued by the the FBI from a serial collector and killer. Switching between past and present tense, Maya explains how she came to live in a secret atrium with the other butterflies, these women whose backs are covered in an exquisitely detailed tattoos. The FBI are working to help Maya and the others by offering them counciling and prosecuting those who have worked to keep the girls locked up in the Garden. With many books the fractured timing seems to me a hinderance and takes away from the overlying story. For the traumatic recollection of Maya it adds the perfect amount of credibility to the story. Making everything written seem more truth then fiction novel.
Flashbacks take Maya back to waking up in the “garden” and being told about the butterflies and the “Gardener” by a woman not much older then herself. “The Gardener” is a lover of beauty and grace everything the young women he collects carry in spades, yet still he must claim ownership of every part of them by marking each of them with a tattoo that is captivating and despoilment. Maya and the others sometimes lived for years in the Devil’s version of the Garden of Eden. Each women “The Gardener” uses as he see fit until they reach the “peak” of beauty, which is when you must be sent to his gallery in order to remain perfect for all time.
I devoured this book in one sitting. Anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers or horror novels should read this. If you follow stories in the news of kidnap or murder victims this book reads like it could have been yesterday’s news-cycle. I would in all honesty recommend this to almost anyone(even a non-reader) as it engages from the beginning and doesn’t even let you go in the last sentences.