A psychopath with mother issues. A policeman with his career on the line. A beautiful agent with unclear allegiances. And an ancient organisation guarding a secret that could get them all killed.
Hiko Shimizu is not a nice man, but he is ingenious. Ingenious enough to find a lost artefact capable of catalysing a revolution in China? Maybe. And that’s close enough to draw the attention of powerful forces that won’t hesitate to kill to keep their secrets safe.
Meanwhile, Matthys Rossouw is in hot pursuit, unaware of the full scale of the danger he faces. Butterfly Hill is the exciting follow-up to Drachen. Set in the hills above Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, it’s another high-stakes game of cat and mouse that races towards an explosive conclusion.
Seven hundred years ago a Dynasty died, how far will people go to keep it dead?
Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2L14ELl
Self Publishing Reviewed:
Combining global conspiracies, powerful ancient weapons and complex, unknowable motives, Butterfly Hill is a skillfully penned piece of suspense from Brendan Le Grange. Following on from his debut book, Drachen, this second installment can stand alone, although reading the first book will provide quite a bit more character backstory for the key players, including Hiko, Matthys and Gu.
Unlike many other “good cop chases bad guy” stories, the lines of morality are far from clear in this novel, and in fact, it’s difficult not to like the bad guy, despite his psychopathic tendencies. Hiko Shimuzu may be the antagonist, and he does have some matricidal qualities, but he is also oddly charming and sympathetic. He is searching for an ancient treasure, which gives him an alluring air of adventure, but his intentions with it aren’t altogether clear.
Inspector Matthys, on the other hand, is in the traditionally heroic role, but doesn’t always come out on top. Matthys manages to find time for a bit of romance, as well as brotherly camaraderie with Gu, so readers are able to see the human side of him, but even so, there are moments when readers will struggle to choose who to root for.
As the plot thickens, and Matthys realizes that Hiko isn’t the only dangerous player in the game, Le Grange’s storytelling skill shows itself. The pace gradually speeds up in the second half of the novel, and doesn’t let up until the exhausting and adrenaline-fueled finish. The author’s time living in Hong Kong lends much credence and authenticity to the writing; the city and its surrounding areas are beautifully described on these pages in the intimate way only personal experience can provide. Having a Belgium inspector operating within such a foreign space forces the environment to become a character itself, giving plenty of opportunities for Le Grange to play with the dichotomies in Matthys’ character.
Le Grange is also quite flexible in his writing, capable of shifting rapidly between action-packed shootouts and intense, plot-progressing dialogue. Even in those transitions, the pacing and the constant tension are rarely diminished. Having created a strong mood that stretches from start to finish in the novel, Le Grange plays with tropes from the noir genre, but also weaves in fantasy and sci-fi elements to further increase the appeal and energy of the prose.
Brilliant, detailed descriptions help to paint the scenes and bring this shadowy world to life, and as the investigation turns into an adventure, readers can’t help but be swept away and encouraged to keep flipping pages. On the technical side, the book is polished and clean, with few unnecessary sentences or scenes. The novel is tightly conceived from to start to finish.
Even as this deadly treasure hunt draws to a close, conflicting feelings about the hero and the villain remain. Forcing readers to balance on the edge of such an important knife is an ambitious move on the part of the author, but it encourages active reading and moral consideration. Reading a truly exciting book can feel like a full-contact sport, and there are plenty of memorable hits in this thrilling and unpredictable novel.
Brendan le Grange lives in Hong Kong with his beautiful wife and daughters, writing high-paced action thrillers when his day job allows. Luckily, that day job also allows him to travel to the exotic locales in which his books are set.