Butcher by Gary C. King ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1934-2 ISBN-10: 0-7860-1934-4
King’s accounts were clear and left no room for hiding facts or twisting the tru...moreButcher by Gary C. King ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1934-2 ISBN-10: 0-7860-1934-4
King’s accounts were clear and left no room for hiding facts or twisting the truth. Instead he presented the facts of the story, and a great deal of information as well, and let the readers come to their conclusions. As a result I could finally understand just how a killer like Pickton could hunt in the same grounds for over and decade and continue on with seeming impunity. I found myself becoming disgusted with the obvious disregard that law enforcement viewed the continued disappearances of Pickton’s victims and their bumbling attempts at investigation. Their interrogation was truly laughable and the way he was eventually caught was purely luck. Very saddening.
Despite enjoying the book there were enough flaws present that kept me from awarding it a four-star rating. The biggest detracting factor was the way the book started off. While I thought it was wonderful that King fleshed out the stories of Pickton’s victims, thus making them real and human for readers, the way in which their stories was strung together and presented was initially jarring and confusing. The time line that the author attempts to build during the first ten or so chapters comes off choppy and can make it difficult for the reader to keep everything in focus. Especially since there is some chronological jumping around. While discussing the victims, specifically the older ones that have not yet had charges brought against Pickton for, King makes comments and references facts and later events that those not entirely familiar with the case will find confusing.
Given the fact that the Canadian authorities did a spectacularly awful job interviewing and interrogating Pickton, I’m not entirely sure why the author felt the need to dedicate so many chapters to the interrogation. I felt it would have been much better for King to give the readers brief glimpses of the interrogations, for the sole purpose of viewing the authorities poor abilities, and then conveying the information discovered in the author’s own words. The authorities’ methods and attempts read like a badly written B-movie and there was just no saving that section. As a result it dragged the novel down and detracted from King’s otherwise wonderful writing.
I must confess that I was also disappointed with the photos included in this book. The book is billed as having “16 pages of disturbing photos” and yet there wasn’t anything truly disturbing about the photos provided. The courtroom sketches of Pickton were haunting, yes, and the photos of some of the victims was saddening, but there was nothing out and out disturbing about them. In fact, they were all photos that could have been safely used on the front cover of a newspaper and probably have been. Not what I would expect to see in a true crime novel that purports to have “disturbing” photos.
For the most part, I found King’s Butcher to be a well-written account of serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton that not only chronicled his crimes, the events around and leading up to his capture, the actions of the blundering authorities, but also explained and answered just how and why Pickton was able to continue his heinous acts unchecked for so long. I will likely be adding King’s other true crime novels to my reading list.(less)