Brenda Chapman’s first Stonechild and Rouleau novel, Cold Mourning, was nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel, 2015. Midwest Book Review highly recommends the series, calling it “outstanding.” Brenda is a former teacher and senior communications advisor and lives in Ottawa.
Two separate crimes, two tragic outcomes.
Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position of head of the town’s Criminal Investigations Division. One hot week in late September, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment. In another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women’s pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Kala Stonechild, one of Rouleau’s former officers from Ottawa, suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help.
Stonechild isn’t sure if she wants to stay in Kingston, but agrees to help Rouleau in the short term. While she struggles with trying to decide if she can make a life in this new town, a ghost from her past starts to haunt her.
As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Who murdered Leah Sampson? And why does Della Monroe’s name keep showing up in the murder investigation? Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Stonechild and Rouleau race to discover the truth before the violence rips more families apart.
What makes this mystery most interesting are the tightly knit details. Chapman never tips her hand as she presents readers with a wide-open field of suspects. For the majority of the novel, the list of potential culprits is lengthy, and the author skillfully deploys twists and decoys to misdirect us, while also dropping tiny clues to help make the final reveal seem perfectly logical.
Altogether, Butterfly Kills is a very satisfying novel
This novel is well-paced and well-plotted…the book also smartly sets up some subplots that will no doubt carry the series forward.
This novel is beautifully written, the plot is expertly crafted, and the characters are complex and well drawn.
Butterfly Kills is another Stonechild and Rouleau mystery by Brenda Chapman whose impressive abilities in crafting memorable characters embedded in a complex mystery/suspense tale of unexpected twists and surprising turns results in a compellingly entertaining read from beginning to end.
By the final chapter, Chapman has established the grounds for further entries in the series. Readers of crime fiction, especially Canadian ones who find local settings and concerns often hard to find in their favourite genre should be pleased to hear it.
Chapman provides a fine balance between the minutiae of police work and the characters' complex personal lives. It's a story that is highly readable from beginning to end. I'm looking forward to Stonechild's next adventure.
In Butterfly Kills, Brenda Chapman has written a gripping and disturbing sequel to Cold Mourning.
A wonderfully knitted suspense filled with secrets, life, crime, and working hard to solve cases.