New Release Book Review: The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart

The Butcher and the Wren
  • Name of the Book: The Butcher and the Wren
  • Written By: Alaina Urquhart
  • Published on: September 20th 2022
  • Published By: Michael JosephPenguin Books Australia
  • Total No. of pages: 256
  • Genres: Thriller, Suspense, Fiction, Contemporary
  • Price: $32.99
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

What is the book about?

The Butcher and the Wren is a debut thriller novel by Alaina Urquhart, an autopsy technician and cohost of a true crime podcast. In the book, a killer is torturing and killing people in Louisiana while the medical examiner is out there trying to catch him. It is written from the point of views of the killer and the examiner, and it is full of information of the forensic science and historical crimes.

The co-host of the popular true-crime podcast Morbid, author Alaina Urquhart, resides in Boston. The debut novel of The Butcher and the Wren is an exciting cat-and-mouse chase between a deranged killer and a brilliant forensic pathologist. This hair-raising and thrilling story appeals to fans of true crime podcasts.

It is a story about an intricate serial killer who performs horrific medical testing on victims while managing to evade arrest, set in the Louisiana Bayou region. Generally, guided by judgment and knowledge, forensic pathologist Wren chases the killer, knowing his unique modus operandi. But even Wren’s efforts are futile as the body count increases, showing that the killer has become more successful. Will Wren manage to catch this monstrous criminal and stop his tyrannizing?

As a true crime fan, the tie to Urquhart’s position as the co-host of the podcast Morbid fascinated me despite my lack of listening to Morbid. Given as a present, Urquhart’s first novel was interesting to me with a fascinating summary, and I was ready to read it.

What did I like about the book?

I enjoyed reading the book as it was very suspenseful and gripping. I was hooked from the first page and I couldn’t stop reading until the end. A lot of unexpected turns and twists made the book so interesting for me as it kept me guessing. The characters of the killer and the examiner, who were both interesting and complicated, were also liked by me. 

The murderer was extremely intelligent and conniving, his motive for the killings was sinister. The person conducting the examination was very experienced and resolute; she had a personal relationship with the case. Their thoughts and actions were interesting to read as well as their dynamics as a group.

What did I not like about the book?

It was so graphic that I did not like the book. The book had many descriptions of the victims’ injuries and the killer’s techniques that were extremely violent and gruesome. The book also was comprised of some scenes that were very creepy and scary as when the killer was hunting the victim or when the examiner was in danger. 

The book might be too much for some readers because it was not for those with a sensitive constitution.

Who would I recommend the book to?

The book is thrilling, interesting, and exciting, so it is my recommendation to the fans of thrillers, mysteries, and true crime who want to read a fast-paced and thrilling book. The book would also be suitable for readers who are interested in forensic science and historical crimes and who would respect the author’s knowledge and research. 

However, the book is certainly not for readers with a weak stomach for anything violent, bloody, or horror-related because they would find it too unsettling and disturbing.

How would I rate the book?

The book would receive 4 stars from me, since it was a well-written and engaging book, but it was also very dark and gruesome. This was an excellent first book by Alaina Urquhart, and I am excited to read more of her work in the future.


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