This is a story about a deeply disturbed man, dubbed The Gardener, who owns a garden out on an isolated estate. He kidnaps girls (whom he sees as butterflies) and brings them to his garden, where he tattoos intricate butterfly designs on their backs and then, after a time, kills and hangs them on his wall in the name of collecting and preserving beauty. The FBI has arrested this man and rescued the women found on his property, so we discover the story through the eyes of Maya, one of the survivors with a disturbing past herself. She relates her experiences rather slowly and casually to the FBI, frustrating the detectives and making them wonder if she is actually involved in the crimes somehow.
I read about 50 pages and had to stop as there was account after account (at least semi-detailed) of sexual assault against women and girls, casual sexual promiscuity, sexual abuse of a child, and the deranged Gardener’s idea of “preserving beauty,” not to mention the f-word at least 10 times. It’s a shame because it was an easy read and written like a thriller should be; the author is certainly talented. The story itself is also an interesting idea so I was excited to get the book with the Kindle First program and really wanted to continue reading it. But in the end the story line doesn’t seem great enough to justify the continual beating the reader must endure.
Rated: DIRT for everything mentioned above.