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November 2022

Book Review Review

BOOK REVIEW: The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart

Published by Zando on September 13 2022
Genres: Thriller
Format/Pages: Hardcover, 256 pages
Available Formats: Hardcover, Audio, Ebook
Buy on Amazon
Warnings: Details in dead bodies/autopsies, Death/Murder

Rating: 2 out of 5.


A thrilling debut novel told from the dueling perspectives of a notorious serial killer and the medical examiner following where his trail of victims leads.

Something dark is lurking in the Louisiana bayou: a methodical killer with a penchant for medical experimentation is hard at work completing his most harrowing crime yet, taunting the authorities who desperately try to catch up.

But forensic pathologist Dr. Wren Muller is the best there is. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of historical crimes, and years of experience working in the Medical Examiner’s office, she’s never encountered a case she couldn’t solve. Until now. Case after case is piling up on Wren’s examination table, and soon she is sucked into an all-consuming cat-and-mouse chase with a brutal murderer getting more brazen by the day.


When I first heard Alaina from Morbid, I had immediately preordered it. I mean, she is an autopsy technician who wrote a murder mystery book?! Sign me up!

However, after months of waiting and my excitement grew, I was disappointed with the read.

The best way I can think of to describe these characters are that they were very stereotypical and exaggerated. There was a lot of potential for deep character development, but the characters are very flat with nothing to really connect or emphasize with.

Even for the characters that I thought I had some sense of their motives, some of the ways they were introduced were vastly different than just a page later. For example, one of the victims near the end went from being super ditsy and drunk in a bar to someone who knew what amalgamation means.

“You’d be surprised how many secrets the dead have told me.”

– Alaina Urquhart, The Butcher and the Wren

Most of the dialogue did not feel natural or like what someone would actually say:

“I really am sorry about the cream. I know you hate it when I leave the empty container in the fridge like an asshole,” Leroux asked sheepishly.

While I like dialogue that helps move the plot along, I think it is extremely overdone to the point where it was a bit distracting.

“What book was that? I’m looking for some good mindless reading.” said to a book that randomly fell out of a messenger bag. I get that the character was trying to make awkward small talk, but seriously?

On that topic, there were so many scenes where action was laking, notably in regards to where someone is location wise. I found myself asking, “hold on, when did that happen??” so often I lost count.

One page he would be watching from some monitors watching their conversation, the page flips and suddenly he is hiding in the bushes right next to them. I reread that page about 10 times trying to find when he moved, but it was never explained.

“But now Cal’s crooked smile haunts her once more”

– Alaina Urquhart, The Butcher and the Wren

Now, this book is not all negatives. The basic plot was intriguing and kept me reading – the twist surprised me (to be fair I’m always surprised).

I thought the dual perspective was an interesting addition. Although I think it could have been portrayed better I liked the contrast between the two storylines.


Characters: 3
Setting: 2
Writing: 1
Plot: 3
Enjoyment: 2


Overall, I wanted to love this book but I was quite disappointed. If you are wanting to read it, I would say read it, but if you have no prior want, I don’t think you’re missing anything.


3 Biggest Book Pet Peeves (+ 1 Bonus Reading Ick

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Here are some of my biggest book pet peeves (and a bonus reading ick!)

Thin Pages

This is going to be controversial, but I like to write in my books. (I actually prefer my books to look like they have been read, so crack those spines!) But I haven’t found a pen that 100% WON’T bleed through thin paper, which makes it hard to read when you turn the page.

Also, thin paper rips so easily. I like my books read, not ruined.

Photo by Tony Tran on Unsplash

Suuuuuupppeeeeerrrr Long Chapters

Long chapters bother me most when there are a lot of unnecessary, dragged-out descriptions. I appreciate the writer’s attention to detail, but I have a short attention span – I can’t spend pages on the background with no action.

In contrast, when chapters are so short there is not sufficient information or action, it feels like pointless fluff.


I’m not the best at noticing inconsistencies, but when I do (or more likely, they’re pointed out to me), I fixate on it. It’s hard to keep things straight when writing a book, or a series, so I understand not being able to catch every single thing.

But when it’s a BIG plot point or multiple simple things to keep consistent, it drives me nuts.

Photo by pparnxoxo on Unsplash


As for the reader ick, I’ll give you a scenario:

You are reading a book, whether that be at home, on the train, in a park, or in a coffee shop. Someone sees you and decides to come up to you.

They ask, “What are you reading?” You tell them.

They ask, “What do you think of it?” You say you like it so far, but you just started.

Turns out, they hate it! And they go on about exactly how much they hate it and what they hate about it.

All you are trying to do is read your dang book! Why so negative dude??

If it wasn’t clear, these are not deal breakers for me personally, just little tics I could do without if given the choice. And these are my own opinions.

So there you have it! Some of my Book Pet Peeves!

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