The Butterfly Clues
By Kate Ellison
Feb. 14, 2012
EgmontUSA, 336 pages
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place–possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.
But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire”–a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can’t get the murder out of her mind.
As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues,” with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined–a world, she’ll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death.
— Amazon.com description
I don’t know what I expected based on the title and cover of this book, but The Butterfly Clues is so much MORE.
It’s a twisty thriller that kept me guessing and kept my heart pounding. It’s an unlikely romance that took me pleasantly by surprise. It’s a deep, troubling look into the mind of a young woman suffering from debilitating grief, guilt and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Lo’s OCD was stunningly captured in this debut novel. Yeah, maybe I saw through a few of the twists, and maybe the mystery dragged briefly in a few parts for me, but the descriptions of Lo’s compulsions — to tap, say select words, touch things in a certain sequence — transported me into the brain of someone suffering from this disease. It was scary and brilliant.
And, you know, on a lighter note: Kudos to Ellison for getting me to fall for a second fictional white boy with dreads. Again, who knew this was possible?!