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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

Young women abducted and kept prisoner in a large enclosed garden 'like butterflies'

The Butterfly Garden (#1 the Collector) by Dot Hutchison

Genre: General Fiction / Thriller?

Published 2016, 288 pages

This one is hard to categorize - not really a thriller since you know the crime from the beginning, so also not a mystery. Definitely not a romance or fantasy. Billed as horror, but not what I'd consider horror, so what then?


This is the best Amazon first read (free) book I've read in a while. The premise is somewhat unusual: young women captured off the street and kept in a greenhouse type huge garden - fed and clothed and basic needs met. However, they are tattooed with giant butterflies immediately upon their capture and then kept to satisfy the sexual desires of the captor and his son (rape is mentioned, implied, and painful results described but not the actual acts - if that's a trigger for you, avoid this book). Friction starts to develop between the dad (original instigator) and his sons as one becomes more and more violent toward the captives.


I liked Inara, the main character - flawed but strong and the kind of person who does what needs to be done. Hard but soft. She's the one telling the story and it starts from the girls' rescue and moves backward. She is a reluctant story teller, not wanting to betray the confidences of any of the girls until they're each ready to tell their own story. The lead detective gradually pulls the story out of her and it's revealed to us a little at a time.

The couple of main female characters were given a fair amount of backstory, but there was almost no backstory for the man abducting them or his sons. There was no motivation or glimpses into their history or how they could keep this giant garden a secret in the middle of NYC.

There is a full circle type of resolution which wraps up nicely. This is apparently a first in a series, but I'm not sure who the main characters will be going forward - Inara, the woman 'butterfly'? - the detectives?

photo by Terrie Purkey

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