Official Review: Butterfly Hill by Brendan le Grange

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joshfee77
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Official Review: Butterfly Hill by Brendan le Grange

Post by joshfee77 » 05 Jan 2019, 19:09

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Butterfly Hill" by Brendan le Grange.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Butterfly Hill by Brendan le Grange is a crime novel set in Hong Kong. Katsu Shimizu and his wife get away with embezzling more than ten million dollars from the bank Katsu works for, a heist dubbed "The Great Haul of China" by the South China Morning Post. Katsu's son Hiko believes his mother ripped his father off on the deal, pocketing the lion's share, and that ten million was just a small portion of the real loot. Hiko decides to carry out another bank robbery, this time the "old-fashioned way". He plans to steal gold and diamonds from the bank's safe deposit boxes to avoid the hassles of depositing stolen cash. The Butterfly Stone, a diamond of "unprecedented size and colour" in the Chairman's vault, is Hiko's target. Meanwhile, Belgian detective Matthys Rossouw and his partner Elaine are trying to track down the elusive Hiko. And Captain Zhong Zhang of the People's Liberation Army has other ideas altogether...

Le Grange's writing is crisp and punchy; for example: "Good thing karma was bullshit." He tells the story neatly without unnecessary detail, advancing the plot at a decent pace. His descriptions of the natural environment are solid, really setting the scene for the reader. Hiko's mountain-climb and traversing of a bat-infested cave are realistic and believable. The characters are also well-defined. Two examples of this are Captain Zhang's relentless ruthlessness and Matthys Rossouw's habit of running off into irrelevant detail about his life while conversing about important police work.

The clever plot features some ingenious planning and execution by Hiko. Le Grange only reveals each step in the plan after Hiko carries it out, and much of the story has a "heist" or "caper" feel, which I enjoyed. It features a few decent twists, including a strong twist ending. There are also some clever pop culture references, such as when Hiko is climbing a cave wall being bombarded by bats: "He was swatting bats like they were midges by the sixth level, and bleeding from their strikes by the seventh. Hitchcock would have loved this." This is a clever reference to Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.

As for negatives, there are around two dozen minor typographical errors throughout the book. The author also sometimes uses a comma in places that need a semicolon. A comma is for a slight pause, nothing more; a semicolon is for a new clause within a sentence. However, these minor issues did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, I rate Butterfly Hill 3 out of 4 stars, with one star subtracted for the errors. It is a solid crime caper with well-defined characters, a decent plot, readable prose, and some good description. With a final edit, I believe it would be worth 4 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys well-plotted, character-driven crime thrillers, especially those who like learning about other cultures. It does have strong violence, but nothing too graphic, and has no sex scenes.

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Butterfly Hill
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kandscreeley
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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Jan 2019, 12:26

The plot sounds intriguing, though I don't normally gravitate towards crime novels of this sort. I find myself wondering if any of them get caught. The errors don't sound horribly distracting, so I might try it anyway. Thanks so much!
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Post by esthersamone » 09 Jan 2019, 06:44

It is a solid crime caper with well-defined characters, a decent plot, readable prose, and some good description.
What a brilliant description of a book. Thanks for this review.

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Post by Sweet Psamy » 11 Jan 2019, 08:21

Embezzlement is bad, but when it becomes a family business, that'sounds baaaaadddddddd!!!!!!! I'm interested in reading this story.

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Post by joshfee77 » 18 Jan 2019, 00:31

kandscreeley wrote:
07 Jan 2019, 12:26
The plot sounds intriguing, though I don't normally gravitate towards crime novels of this sort. I find myself wondering if any of them get caught. The errors don't sound horribly distracting, so I might try it anyway. Thanks so much!
Yeah, a great plot with plenty of twists. I love a good mystery myself. Thanks!

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Post by joshfee77 » 18 Jan 2019, 00:32

esthersamone wrote:
09 Jan 2019, 06:44
It is a solid crime caper with well-defined characters, a decent plot, readable prose, and some good description.
What a brilliant description of a book. Thanks for this review.
Thanks! Much appreciated. :D

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joshfee77
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Post by joshfee77 » 18 Jan 2019, 00:33

Sweet Psamy wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 08:21
Embezzlement is bad, but when it becomes a family business, that'sounds baaaaadddddddd!!!!!!! I'm interested in reading this story.
Definitely an interesting plot with a lot of mystery. I really enjoyed it.

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