Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.
Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?
The Roses of May is the 2nd book in “The Collector Series” trilogy by Dot Hutchison but it is not a direct sequel to The Butterfly Garden. Instead, it’s a story about a completely different serial killer who has been killing one girl every spring for over a decade and leaving each of them covered in a different flower. It also has a brand new main character, Priya Sravasti, whose sister was one of the killer’s victims 5 years ago.
The Roses of May isn’t a story with the same horror, depravity, and terror as The Butterfly Garden so if you plan on reading this book, don’t go into it with the same expectations of it being exactly like that. It’s not, but that’s okay because it’s still a really good book!
It is a good suspense story although it didn’t quite keep me as enthralled as The Butterfly Garden. Also, I figured out who the serial killer was way too early on, which was a bit disappointing. Yet, The Roses of May is an overall captivating and engaging mystery that I definitely recommend because the book is just really well-written, the characters are wonderful, and the ending is so very perfect that it makes up for any complaints I might have. I think that The Butterfly Garden was just such a fabulous book that it makes The Roses of May hard to be the 2nd in the series. Still, that doesn’t make it any less than a captivating book, and it should be read and enjoyed only on its own merits.
While the story isn’t about the “butterflies” from the 1st book in the trilogy, it does have some of the characters from the book, and you get to catch up with how a few of them are handling their lives now they are free. Because I felt very invested in what happened to the girls in The Butterfly Garden, it feels right somehow to be able to check-in on their well-being so to speak.
But the main focus of the book is Priya. She’s a remarkable young woman who has been trying to put her life back together since her sister’s murder when she was only 12, but that’s become almost impossible since it seems she’s now the serial killer’s latest obsession. Priya’s strong, yet vulnerable, but she has a super strong mom who is amazing (and a little scary).
Plus, the “Quantico 3”, Vic, Ramirez, and Eddison from Book 1 are back but even more so. Since they have been working to find this serial killer and were part of the investigation into Priya’s sister’s murder, they somehow have become like family to Priya and Deshani, her mom. You get to learn a lot more about the FBI agents in this book, especially Eddison, and he is especially more likable in this book because of the protective, big brother type role he plays towards Priya. I hope we learn more about the “Quantico 3” in the last book in the trilogy!
Also, I liked how the author really formed a relationship with Priya and some of the “butterflies” from Book 1; it was nice to see them develop a friendship considering the hell all of them went through, and I look forward to seeing how that plays out as well.
There is so much to like about this book if you can read it without expecting it to be just like The Butterfly Garden! Even as horrible as the serial killer is and as disgusting and repulsive as he is, he appears likable and trustworthy when you first encounter him until you are hit with who he is, and go “oh wait…wow!”.
One thing is for certain, if you enjoy a good suspenseful mystery, excellent writing, and a strong plot, then you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this book! I’m highly anticipating the 3rd in the trilogy!! Hutchison is a brilliant storyteller, and it’s great to see how her writing technique and style is only improving with time. I’m hoping she’ll surprise us and have another thriller on par with TBG to finish out her trilogy!
*** I want to thank NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Dot Hutchison for the chance to read an ARC of The Roses of May in exchange for my fair and completely honest review. ***