#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Butcher and The Wren by Alaina Urquhart @MichaelJBooks #TheButcherandTheWren #damppebbles

“WREN WAS NEVER AFRAID OF THE DARK. UNTIL SHE LEARNED THAT SOME MONSTERS ARE REAL . . .
_________

In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch.

With her encyclopaedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice.

And yet, he continues to elude her.

As body after body piles up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.

How far is Wren willing to go to draw the Butcher into the light . . .?
An addictive read with straight-from-the-morgue details only an autopsy technician could provide, The Butcher and the Wren promises to ensnare all who enter.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining The Butcher and The Wren blog tour. The Butcher and The Wren by Alaina Urquhart was published by Penguin Michael Joseph on 13th September 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Butcher and The Wren but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Sriya at Penguin Michael Joseph for sending me a proof copy.

Dr Wren Muller is an experienced forensic pathologist used to dealing with the darker, gorier side of life (and death!). When a serial killer with a penchant for experimenting on his victims starts terrorising the streets of Louisiana, Wren is determined to put her vast knowledge of pathology and criminology into catching the killer. A killer the press have dubbed ‘The Butcher’. Working with the New Orleans Police Department, finding ‘The Butcher’ becomes a matter of urgency for Wren and Detective Leroux. Wren’s obsession with catching the killer grows as the body count rises. No one in Louisiana is safe. Each new victim bringing with them a tale of torture and terror. It’s down to Wren to draw the killer out of hiding before another victim meets a horrifying end…

The Butcher and The Wren is a compelling debut thriller which had me turning the pages at a rate of knots keen to discover how things were going to end. I’m a huge fan of the serial killer thriller. It’s one of my ‘must read’ sub-genres under the crime umbrella so I will always jump at the chance to read anything featuring a multiple murderer (yes, I am odd – although with the number of true crime fans these days I am clearly not in the minority anymore!). The Butcher and The Wren promised a great deal, being written by the co-host of a popular true crime podcast who is also a mortuary technician, and I felt it delivered. The author has used her own experiences and knowledge to give the story an authenticity which I very much appreciated.

The plot is well paced and told from both Wren and the killer’s points of view. This dual narrative really drew me into the story and kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to discover what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed the New Orleans setting with the swamplands featuring strongly throughout. I thought the author did an excellent job of painting a vivid picture of the swamps for the reader. There is one scene in particular in the book which gave me chills. It was so atmospheric and dark in tone.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Butcher and The Wren is a wonderfully gory and addictive serial killer thriller which I enjoyed. I found the story compelling and was hooked from start to finish, powering through the book in a couple of sittings. The characters were interesting and I hope, should a sequel be planned, that we get to peel away the layers a little more and dig a little deeper into what makes them tick. Having finished the book, I felt the killer was more defined in their character than Wren, our lead, was. However, I do get the impression there is more to come so there’s plenty of time for that. The Butcher and The Wren is a good, solid, well-written debut thriller and I look forward to reading more from Urquhart in the future. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Butcher and The Wren. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Butcher and The Wren by Alaina Urquhart was published in the UK by Penguin Michael Joseph on 13th September 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

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Alaina Urquhart is the science-loving co-host of the chart-topping show Morbid: A True Crime Podcast. As an autopsy technician by trade, she offers a unique perspective from deep inside the morgue. Alaina hails from Boston, where she lives with her wonderful husband, John, their three amazing daughters, and a ghost Puggle named Bailey. She is about 75 percent coffee, and truly believes she and Agent Clarice Starling could be friends.

Before writing her first psychological horror novel, she received degrees in criminal justice, psychology, and biology. When she isn’t hosting Morbid, she hosts the Parcast original show Crime Countdown, and a horror movie podcast called Scream!. Her days are usually spent either recording or eviscerating. The way she sees it, when she hangs up her microphone for the day, it’s time to let the dead speak.