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The plot took a dramatic and gory turn shortly after the hulking, revenge-obsessed loner Henry Dunlop; a cold self-made king of the stock-market, was introduced in the second chapter. All pretence of mystery is thrown aside early in the story when not only the villain but his unusual and horrific methods are exposed to the reader; but excruciatingly, not to the frustrated and evidence starved PI Bart. Faced with a calculating and endlessly funded serial killer, Bartholomew Pigge must gather his scant resources and his dogged endurance to bring this animalistic killer to justice, an end that has gone far beyond the picking up of paychecks.
Heavy use of irony is made throughout the book, from Dunlop’s rationalization of his sick crimes as necessary in a struggle against evil to the final morbid picture of a man being consumed- literally- by his own revenge. The underlying theme appears as the savage, insatiable nature of both animal and man.
Fredrick Fichman is a new, independent writer and “Butcher Boat” is his first foray into the densely populated world of crime fiction. At 181 pages this is a short novel, and I would recommend it as a light read to fill a long flight or an empty afternoon. In its current form it requires further editing and smoothing off of the edges as well as rectification of a couple minor plot inconsistencies.
Although not particularly skillfully written or constructed, Butcher Boat holds a certain entertainment value. With its shocking violence and a quick pace this tale is well suited to passing the time.
Reviewed by Alex Henry
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