Monday, January 21, 2013

Butterfly Clues, by Kate Ellison (fiction) - obsession, loss, mystery

book cover of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison published by Egmont
If the arrangement is precise,
life will fall into place.
If the collection is balanced,
personalities will align again.
If manipulating objects could only heal people...

Lo isn't hoarding; she's trying to make sense of hurtful events that seem so random. Even if it puts her in danger, investigating in a bad part of town, compelled to steal things to add to the display of possible find a killer, to discover why her brother left, to find herself.

It's No Name-Calling Week, highlighting ways we can prevent bullying behavior, put-downs, and harassment, like Lo experienced with the acid-burned photos stuck on her school locker.

Just out in paperback (look for the blue cover with red butterfly), you'll also find The Butterfly Clues  in hardback at your local library or independent bookstore.

How much can we rearrange things and people?

Book info: The Butterfly Clues / Kate Ellison. Egmont USA, hardback 2012, paperback 2013. [author's website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation:  Lo is guided to each object she takes, compelled to arrange them just-so, trying desperately to be unnoticed at school like she is at home, since her brother disappeared. She ignores those who call her Penelope, like Mom ignores the outside world now.

She taps significant patterns to keep her safe as she roams neighborhoods to stay out of the too-quiet house. A bang, shattering glass, a bullet in the brick wall nearby – Lo checks the news online later to discover that a young woman was killed at that moment, in that place, jewelry stolen.

At the flea market, a butterfly figurine calls to her to be taken (but-ter-fly, 3 perfect syllables). Lo recognizes it from the news article, stolen from the dead girl Sapphire, she just knows it. Seller says it was in a dumpster, but who’d stick around a murder scene to steal costume jewelry and knick-knacks, then dump them? Something is off-balance here, and Lo can’t stand for anything to be unbalanced, so she starts to investigate.

Visiting the gentlemen’s club where Sapphire worked, talking to homeless people, Lo can’t stop looking for things that will unmask the killer. Meeting Flynt the artist is an unexpected bonus, a joy, but can he be trusted not to tell what Lo is doing in this bad part of Cleveland on her own?

When the phone rings at home, telling her to mind her own business, Lo is a little worried. When acid-scorched photos appear on her school locker, telling her to back off, she gets anxious. When she sees Flynt’s tattoo and remembers a clue in Sapphire’s house, she gets frantic.

Will the killer come to her home?
Will Flynt deny the connection that Lo has discovered?
Will she be able to keep her counting compulsions under control long enough to convince the police to do something?
(One of 6,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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