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Publisher's Summary

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees...and a collection of precious "butterflies" - young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who'd go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she's still hiding....

©2016 Dot Hutchison (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,700
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Performance

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    249
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't let the negative reviews fool you...

I read a few reviews before I downloaded this book and some were so against it, I almost didn't get it. But I took a chance and downloaded because there were many good reviews too. This book was very good. I thought the narrators did a great a job, the plot was good, the twists were drawn out and good so you didn't see them coming. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Law and Order SVU, NCIS, CSI, Gone Girl (or anything by Gillian Flynn really). The main character was so easy to side with and you really felt all that she thought of every character. Give the book a try, some parts might make you queasy but you can always skip 30 seconds ahead and it's usually over by then. I loved this book and I could definitely listen to it again.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Bad narration doesn't help a bad book.

What disappointed you about The Butterfly Garden?

This is just not an enjoyable audiobook.
I don't mind when elements of a story are unrealistic- it's fiction - and this is my favorite genre (crime fiction/suspense) so give me 'disturbing' any time: but the plot of The Butterfly Garden is bizarre to the point of laughable, but you can't laugh when the characters are just so ridiculous. I could only try so many times.
There are FBI agents who are scaredy cat ineffective. They are scared of the interviewee, a barely- 18 overly intellectual pretentious brat. Are you going to tell me that 2 hardened FBI agents can't grasp control over a difficult subject? They are so disturbed by assault and murder that they are near tears and have to leave the room?
Agent 1 has little personality, absolutely non-compelling. The male narrator reads like he's talking to kindergarteners. Agent 2 'bad cop' is yelling and banging tables just because he's so mad at the bad guys, not for any other apparent reason, such as, again, trying to elicit information from a hostile witness. He is such a baby that he can't stay in the room for more than a couple minutes at a time. And they are both quaking in their boots by the prospect of dealing with a politician mother of one of the victims? Come on.

What was most disappointing about Dot Hutchison’s story?

Why is our protagonist so hostile? It's unclear what she has to gain by her ridiculous posturing and purposeful antagonistic banter with these sad law enforcement agents. She is not willing to assist in a mass casualty investigation? Put her stuck up bottom in a cell that's not as fun and luxurious as being in a sorority garden of other gorgeous women who all love each other, and wait for her to be less spoiled. Brings up flashbacks of Orange is the New Black- which I also despised.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster ?

Just like a great narrator can save a so-so book, a poor narrator can kill an otherwise decent book. Here, unfortunately, this is some of the worst narration I've heard, and the story cannot survive it. I can't think who WOULDNT do a better job narrating this book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Pretty good and irritated.

Any additional comments?

Sorry, I don't buy it. I wanted to love this book, but I am really disappointed by the characters and the overly bizarre plot and these narrators. Make it stop.

Quite simply, I don't recommend this book.

69 of 83 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Train Wreck

Would you try another book from Dot Hutchison and/or Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster ?

No

Has The Butterfly Garden turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What aspect of Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster ’s performance would you have changed?

Mel Foster is absolutely ghastly at trying to do female voices. Lauren Ezzo I thought was wonderful, but I will never listen to any book narrated by Mel Foster again. Every time he tried to impersonate a women I cringed. It was whiny and condescending and like nails on a chalkboard. Also, he sounds like a car commercial announcer so when he narrated any part it came across as cheesy and overdramatic.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Honestly... I haven't ever read/listened to a book I was so eager to review, and I sincerely hope that the author reads these comments. The one positive thing I will say about the story is that I had to finish it. Like I can't keep from looking at horrific accidents on the freeway I pass... I had to finish it. That's it.

Otherwise, here is what you will be subjected to if you choose to listen:

-Poor and unrealistic character development. An 18 yo woman with a childhood that would realistically cause her to become a sociopath in her own right, somehow is confident, wise and compassionate. Riiiight. And that's the protagonist. The rest of the important characters are equally as ridiculous.

-The most disgusting, disturbing and silly plot line imaginable. A gentle and loving serial killer abducts countless women over the course of 30 years and because he isn't rough when he rapes them and gives them gifts like running water, not once in 30 years do they ever band together to kill the mo' fo'. Ok then. They're allowed to be brutally honest with him... and are... they're painted as intelligent, but somehow this gentle and loving serial killer just inspires in them only the desire to be subservient. Honestly, this is the kind of drivel that gives misogynists the ammunition to spew fowl opinions on women wanting to be raped and controlled deep down. Also... the "twist" that the roommate was once a butterfly and escaped pregnant, but then didn't tell anyone for years and year because she didn't want to lose her baby to A SERIAL KILLER? Seriously? I don't know whether to puke or laugh. Also, apparently it's plausible in the author's mind to even imagine that the FBI allows agents that yell and threaten VICTIMS of heinous and unimaginable crimes. Perfectly normal to scream at them that you want answers. Nothing weird about that.

-A male narrator who's portrayal of women should be illegal. See my comments above. Whoever this Mel Foster is, he should not be narrating.

I highly suggest you just skip this. It's just really, really not a good story, a good listen or in anyway redeeming. If you don't I'm sure you'll hate it but feel the need to finish it as I did and wonder why you wasted the time. *le sigh*

Any additional comments?

Just don't.

119 of 144 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Major let down

What a waste of a brilliantly twisted idea. There wasn't a moment of this story I enjoyed. The writing is lazy and cumbersome, so much telling and so little showing and feeling. The characters are incredibly under developed, and there are so many names of girls that are mentioned with such little effort of having them mean anything.

The plot summary of this book is the best part. Don't bother reading it. There are no compelling characters to hope for, no plot twists to shock you, no passages that will haunt you.

The highly rated narrators do nothing to help this book. The male voice sounds nice, but made it impossible to distinguish between the two male detectives and his inflections for the girl made her sound like an irritating snob.

Just awful.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Voice performance

The girls voice was fine but the male voice made the main character seem like everything horrible happened to her was a minor inconvenience to her. That might be how the author wrote it but that's not a sign of strength that's psychotic. Also the twist at the end or whatever was so stupid.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully Twisted

This story could be too disturbing for some listeners. Think law and order SVU on steroids. It's dark and creepy and horrible to think could really happen. However, it's beautifully told and hard to stop listening. If you can handle that sort of thing, I strongly suggest this book.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent and superbly narrated

This should be one of those Criminal Minds stories. Detailed yet not overbearing. A horrifying crime story written and narrated so well it does not leave one terrified but holds your attention to the very end with this perfectly plausible and extremely well thought out criminal scenario. Enjoy

26 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

So Bad it is Good

This is like listening to a Lifetime movie. Completely unrealistic, terrible acting and ridiculous plot BUT, that being said, I listened to the whole thing. I laughed when I wasn't supposed to and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that it was so terrible.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 09-07-16

Not my taste in novels!

The Butterfly Garden is a dark, dark, sick, sick novel; it is worse than a waste of time. I finished it, but I regret beginning it. Mel Foster, the male narrator, is simply incompetent. Lauren Ezzo is an excellent narrator.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chilvr
  • new bedford, ma United States
  • 06-09-16

Deeply Disturbing

A definite read for fans of serial killer type stories and will be overwhelming for those of us who like to read about the underlying thoughts, morals and dysfunctional thinking from all perspectives. I will be looking for more books by this author as I loved the language, characters and format of the writing. Don't start to read this book if you don't have time to read or listen in its entirety as you will be unable to put it down!

23 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • KRISTINA
  • 05-30-17

A good page turner

It was hard to stop listening, despite the dark twisted nature of the story. The main character is likeable and she draws you in to her life story, I respected her strength and attitude having suffered the way she has. However, throughout listening you feel as though you are constantly waiting for something, a twist or a turn ... that never comes. The ending is really disappointing and silly, it discredited the rest of the book for me. Because of the ending I lost interest and won't be listening to Dot Hutchinson's follow on book.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 06-03-16

An Hypnotic Danse Macabre

Fascinating, intriguing, gentle and brutal. An hypnotic Danse Macabre that genuinely surprised me. They say never judge a book by its cover and well in this case you should beware the innocent sounding title as well! Hidden behind it is as twisted a story as you’re ever likely to read. There is insanity, brutality and the extinction of hope yet the quality of the writing within and the ultra-smooth delivery of Lauren Ezzo lead you on an almost surreally tranquil journey through the story's stark landscape.

The book is structured around an interview of one of the survivors of the garden. It’s a clever device which actually works better than I expected and gives the book a good rhythm without disrupting the flow. Foster’s gruffness provides a growling counterpoint to the smooth narrative sections from within the garden. There are some lighter, very human moments as the relationship between the FBI agents and the girl develops. There are also some surprisingly gentle interactions within the beautiful yet horrific world created by The Gardener.

For all those gentle touches though this book deals with the disturbing including moments of extreme cruelty. It really is no light holiday fiction for all the delicateness of its title and moments of genuine humanity. What it is, is a darnn good read though. If you have the fortitude to enter these dark places and appreciate the good writing you find when you get in there then you’ll find this a genuine treat from Dot Hutchison.

39 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Samantha Collins
  • Samantha Collins
  • 10-12-17

Brilliant

Fabulous, gripping from start to finish. Absolutely loved this book. Brilliant plot, and great narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Devon67
  • Devon67
  • 07-05-17

A toe curling, well written, uncomfortable audio.

I bought this audio book because I'd read on a blog that is was similar to Riverdale, as in, ' A town with a dark secret'.....its not like Riverdale at all. It is a book, however about a Family with a horrific, HORRIFIC secret, which thankfully is uncovered. I don't want to spoil the story so I'll say nothing more specific about it, but I would say that tales like these are not for the faint hearted and 'I am' firmly in the faint hearted category of human being and the subject matter did knot my stomach. Once Id started listening I didn't want to abandon the girls terrible story, so I saw it through. I commend the writer as she skillfully edged us into the horror of the girls situation via the main character Mia who didn't in any way over describe the vile things that happened to her or the girls which kindly spared both the listener and the detectives who bore witness to her testament. I can't fault the writing, but I think the guy who read the male parts of the book may have been a little Off with some of his inflections , but that's just personal taste and I'm British ; we're a lot less flippant about such horrors. Anyway, I'm frightened of your imagination Dot Hutchinson, your story will haunt me for a long time. Five stars.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 09-20-16

Twisted

Really enjoyed listening to this book - honestly made me wonder for the sanity of the author though! What a twisted story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Derek
  • 03-18-18

For want of a nail...

‘For want of a nail the city is lost’
Bad choice of narrator in Mel Foster.
I very nearly gave up on this solely due to Mel Foster’s awful narration. just about every vocal inflection is wrong and the transition between Lauren Ezzo’s sensitive interpretation and Mel’s third grade drama class style is grating.
The story is very good, well written, disturbing yet compelling.
Would have been much improved if it was narrated by Lauen Ezzo alone.
I am pleased I didn’t give up but Mel Foster is on my list of narrators to avoid at all cost.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 07-14-17

loved every word

kept me gripped throughout. interesting theme although didn't quite get the plot twist at the end

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs T T
  • 07-09-17

intriguing

I loved the way the story gradually unfolded as an interview. there are a lot of deep ethical questions being asked throighout the story. I just couldn't put it down.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MISS ENGLAND
  • MISS ENGLAND
  • 01-31-18

Unputdownable!!

Every now and again you get a book you just can’t put down. This is one of those. I have listened to lots of books but never felt like sharing a review - but had to share how good this book is.
Original storyline, characters have depth and believability. Narrators were well suited for the roles, unpredictable and interesting plot. Could not stop listening.
Enjoyed immensely and will listen again. Now to listen to the second in the series.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen J
  • 07-09-17

Good Story

The storyline was gripping, terrifying and moving. However I did not like the different narrations and it would have been better to keep the same voice for Anarah as the girl's voice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Narelle
  • Narelle
  • 11-16-17

Disappointed

I wanted so much more from this book. It was disturbing but I just wanted more. It got quite boring in the middle and I was disappointed.