Butterfly Skin by Sergey Kuznetsov, translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield, is a dark thriller featuring a brutal serial killer at loose in Moscow and a young journalist in pursuit, who discovers, amid the acts of sexual sadism, an echo of her own desires (available September 23, 2014).
This book plays by its own rules.
From the first chapter, no, earlier, than that—from the first word Sergey Kuznetsov cobbles together a book designed to get under the reader’s skin. The first word of Butterfly Skin is “You.”
You are being watched. Someone is watching all the characters in the novel and the feeling of being stalked leaks off the page.
Butterfly Skin tells the story of a sadistic serial killer in Moscow, who takes an artistic delight in skinning, slicing, and slowly torturing his young, female victims. However, before you click over to a review of a book about a topic that’s actually fresh, Kuznetsov’s novel takes a unique approach. Instead of a grizzled, disillusioned cop chasing the killer, Butterfly Skin’s main character is a young journalist named Ksenia Ivonova.
Ksenia partners with investors, freelancers, and editors to set up a website meant to compile as much material about the killer as possible. The website includes accounts of the killers, descriptions of the bodies, theories about why this is happening, maps of the crimes, and forums devoted to discussing the crimes.