Review: The Roses of May – Dot Hutchison

The Collector #2

SYNOPSIS: 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? – via Goodreads

I gave The Butterfly Garden a read quite some time ago, and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. It requires a lot of suspended belief before you can get into it, but if you picture it all happening in some alternate reality, it works. I was interested to see how Hutchison would continue the story of the escaped butterflies and all the trauma that followed, so I picked this up at the first opportunity I got.

The Roses of May is completely different from what I was expecting. For one, the butterflies are not the focus of this one or the aftermath of the explosion. This is not a bad thing at all, just unexpected. In a series titled The Collector, I was expecting more of… I don’t know, the Gardner collecting more girls? His trial? Anyway. The story focuses of a young girl named Priya, whose sister was brutally murdered years ago by a serial killer, and it is likely he is stalking her. We get a long look into Priya’s life and mind and relationship with her mother Deshani, and it is something I quite enjoyed.

The agents of The Butterfly Garden return, and we learn so many more things about Eddison, Hanoverian, and Ramirez. I find that really interesting, as in the first book they were just there as the officials getting the story out of Inara, whereas here they are characters with lives and emotions and everything. I was interested in how Hutchison brought Priya, Bliss and Inara together, too, and thought it worked quite well.

The Roses of May is a little predictable, but the writing (I feel) is more solid this time around. It reads faster and with less drag. I know there is a lot of comparison in this review between  this and the first book, but the first book essentially set things up that this was to continue, and made the agents minor characters, etc. so the expectation going into this was totally different.  While predictable, it does not take away from it being an entertaining read nonetheless. I enjoyed reading about Priya in the park with the veterans playing chess, and it was nice to read about the relationship between Priya and Eddison, too.

The Roses of May is worth the read, that’s for sure. Hutchison polished up some of the issues from the first book, and gives us another compelling story to get into.

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