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The Butcher*

Tastes Like Chicken…

What a quirky story! I am familiar with this author, having read his first book, Blind Justice, and quite enjoying it. It’s hard to imagine two more different stories, and it is to the author’s credit that he can write a legal thriller and a dark comedy. Even though this is a comedy, the author still did seem to get under the characters’ skins, giving enough detail so that the characters felt individual and real. They felt like people I could meet, though I’m not sure I’d want to.

Like other reviewers, I felt that the first part of the book was a little slow going. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I’ve read other British writers whom I like who do a similar slow build, layering events and showing nuances of character before we get to the real action. It’s just rare today–a let’s-get-to-it attitude being more common–so it seems usual. Once I understood what the author was doing, though, I was willing just to sit back, read, and trust that he was going to get me there. And the book did not disappoint.

I found myself wondering how accurate this book is about the way that food and restaurant inspection is done in England. My father was a health inspector in the United States over 20 years ago–so I’ve seen the process here up close–and I found Emily’s time as a bumbling newbie health inspector interesting to watch. I have a feeling my dad would have related to some of it! I think he would have liked doing so few inspections, too! Also, oh, my goodness, the Pinch brothers! What an unusual way they found out of their situation. It was definitely a Fried Green Tomatoes moment. Parts of this book are laugh-out-loud funny, although, given the subject, you almost feel a little guilty doing so. Almost.

Whether he’s writing a dark comedy or legal thriller, Nathan Burrows has such a command of the written word that his books are hard to put down.