11 February 2012

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.

The Butterfly Clues was a gripping, intense story with a fascinating, unique main character.  I don't know exactly what I was expecting when I first started in: a quick, easy read, I guess.  But Kate Ellison pulled me in fast with her addictive main character, Lo, and heart-racing storyline.

Lo, at first, was a bit off-putting with her psychotic tendencies to steal and her must-do-or-the-world-will-fall-apart paranoia of tap, tap, tap, banana-ing before entering and leaving a room.  Her obsession with threes, sixes, and nines would make you raise your eyebrows at the page.  Still, there's something vulnerable lurking between all that paranoia and obsession, something tender and fragile that really captured me, and made me want to know more about her and her story.

The setting of The Butterfly Clues was creepy, to put it lightly, but alluring in its own way.  I don't think having a tour of the interior of a strip club or a place called Neverland could have worked in any other book.  Here, it was fitting.  Entirely so.  Nothing streamline for this book. 

There were only a few things I think lacked.  For example, though I thought that the romance was well done, a few of the scenes were a bit too cliche, and moments that should have been crucial were understated.  Also, Lo's relationship with her parents was not as well-balance throughout the book as I would have preferred.  All of the drama with her parents came at the end, as if trying to fit its bigger role in at the end.

The mystery was fantastic, though.  I was very impressed with how it was written--how it played out.  I love books that surprise you, but I also love it when your suspicions turn out correct.  It's a very satisfying moment.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for mystery and chilling stories.


Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 336
  • published - February 14th, 2012
  • publisher - EgmontUSA
  • genre - contemporary fiction
  • received via - NetGalley
  • rating - 4/5
  • theme song - The Perfect Crime by Hey Shay and the Pretty Penny