Butterfly Skin by Sergey Kuznetsov – Review

butterflyskin.jpg.size-230A serial killer is stalking the streets of Moscow. The victims are all female and tortured to death in the most gruesome fashion. Ksenia is the ambitious young editor of online Moscow newspaper Evening,ru. She’s determined to make a name for herself and decides to track down and trap the killer by creating a website dedicated to his work. Problem is that as Ksenia gets closer to the killer she realises that her fascination with his savage crimes reflects her own dark sexuality and desires.

Sunset Red Square

Sunset Red Square

Butterfly Skin has been described as Russia’s answer to Silence of the Lambs and the unnamed killer is certainly at least on a parr with Dr Lecter with regard to the gruesome cruelty of his modus operandi. Ksenia though is a much more interesting and complex character, perhaps closer to Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander than the Lamb’s Clarice Starling  and perhaps that’s why I found Butterfly Skin so hard to put down. Kuznetsov’s narrative has been brilliantly translated from the Russian by Andrew Broomfield and once you get past the quirks of  his narrative style the story crashes along like a runaway train careering towards a precipice. No matter how gruesome (and it does get very gruesome) it gets, you find you can’t look away from the page. which of course makes your own enjoyment of the novel all the more disturbing.

A shockingly brutal and disturbing, but very readable thriller  I give Butterfly Skin a 555/666


Butterfly Skin is published by Titan Books price £7.99 in the UK