Series: The Collector #2
Published by Thomas & Mercer on May 23, 2017
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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?
When I finished The Butterfly Garden, I wasn’t sure if I would continue with this series. I remember closing that book on my Kindle, sitting down, and pacing for a few minutes because I needed to process what I had just read. It’s dark and disturbing and just, wow. And I didn’t love the ending. But I couldn’t help myself and a few days later, I caved and started this one.
But oh my goodness: I COULD NOT STOP READING. I’m so puzzled by the mixed reviews! I mean, different strokes for different folks and all, but I thought this was great. I liked it better than the first book.
The Roses of May picks up a short time after the Butterfly Garden has been destroyed. The case is still ongoing, however, and the investigators that we met in the first book are the same investigators that are featured in this one: the Quantico Three. Here, they’re investigating a string of very unpleasant serial killings in which young girls are found murdered in similar fashion, all in churches, all surrounded by flowers. The Quantico Three are simultaneously juggling this case and the Butterfly Garden case.
So! the big question is: are the “butterflies” in this book? Yes they are. At least, the ones that are left.
This book actually features Priya, the sister of one of the victims of the serial killer. Priya and her mother are very interesting and have spent the last several years grieving and moving around from place to place…for reasons I don’t really want to tell you. They’re super, super, always on the lookout for someone that could possibly be the killer because Priya has been receiving gifts that fit within the killer’s profile. Let that sink in. But because of technicalities at the FBI that include low funds and a boss with a chip on her shoulder, the Quantico Three are limited in what they’re allowed to do to protect Priya and her mother from what is really shaping up to be a dangerous situation, but OH HELL NO that won’t be stopping these top-notch investigators. Hell-to-the-no.
This book felt different to me than the first book because – where the first book focused on the crimes as they were being committed and was really dark – these serial killings have already taken place, so the investigators are trying hard to find the bad guy. There is a big focus on their investigation, on protecting Priya from any harm that could happen to her, and on their increasing suspicion that harm will happen to her. There is also a focus on the aftermath of these crimes, and on the well-being of the victims and their families from both the first book and the crimes from this book. So this is an entirely different focus and feel.
Also: I really thought I had this one all figured out. But nope, I was wrong again! I’m generally awful at picking the bad guys in books, but that’s okay because it’s so much fun being so shocked when I’m wrong. You could have knocked me right out of my chair when the big reveal happened!
Some other fun things about this book:
1. The link between this book and The Butterfly Garden is obviously the characters. The “butterflies” feature heavily in this book as a means of support for both Priya and the investigators. LOVE LOVE LOVE. The investigators are so great.
2. The characters that I didn’t really love in the first book are surprisingly some of the characters that I absolutely loved in this one. Specifically: Brandon Eddison, the FBI Agent. I thought he was a jerk in the first book because of his methods of investigation, but he has totally different methods in this case, and I feel like I understand him 100% better. He has different strengths than his two partners plus he has a backstory. I’ll just leave it at that.
3. The “butterfly” that I didn’t really love from the first book – she’s so great in this one. She reads almost like a different person entirely now, but I would imagine that if you’re no longer in captivity and you now have a voice — anyone would be different.
4. I loved the way the book mentions (a few times) that the media has impacted their recovery, their return to normalcy, and their privacy (or lack of it). Also how the media has made their lives more dangerous and brought attention to them in ways that could make them the focus of further crimes against them, bullying, and cyberbullying. This isn’t something that we always think about as we are interested in these big news stories, but I appreciate how these characters were able to make this a theme in this book.
I loved this one. I think I can officially say now that I’m super, super eager to read the next book but I’m so impatient for the release date! Why does it have to be so long from now? WHY? I hope it features the Quantico Three again. I’ve grown quite fond of them. I hope we continue to hear from the “butterflies” and I hope we hear from Priya and her mother.
I think this book ended in a much better way than the first book. I actually think this book was much better than the first book in pretty much every way. I hope the next book is just as good. My heart raced throughout this book and I just couldn’t stop reading — this is exactly the type of suspenseful read that I love.