Review: Butterfly Assassin by Annabelle Jacobs

Murder, mystery, and an inconvenient attraction… 

Shifter Aaron Harper gets drawn into illegal underground fighting to keep an eye on his best friend. The thrill of the fight keeps him coming back for more, but discovery could mean imprisonment and banishment from their pack. Without a beta to watch over them, common sense takes a back seat.

Michael Archer of the Shifter Crimes Task Force is investigating recent murders. Despite the brutal cause of death pointing to the work of a shifter’s claws, instinct tells him a well-known nightclub owner is involved, but they have no proof.

Aaron and Michael’s paths cross after another body with the same injuries is discovered. With Aaron finding himself on the wrong side of the SCTF and Michael looking for a killer, any attraction between them is both ill-advised and unlikely. But fate has other ideas.

Set in the Regent’s Park pack world, but can be read as a stand-alone.

I've been on a fairly serious crime drama kick lately so it's really difficult for me to see the words "killer" and "murders" in a blurb and not rate the book on those things. Logically I know it's not a crime drama nor should it be rated as such but it's hard to separate the two. It's not that Butterfly Assassin is a bad book I think it just doesn't know what it wants to be-mystery? romance? Fight Club, the remake?

The backdrop is illegal underground fighting that a man known as Mr. Smith runs and makes a pretty penny off of to boot. Aaron wound up in this world under strange circumstances. I think he likes the adrenaline rush of being a shifter in what's supposed to be a "humans only" fighting ring and it doesn't hurt that he's garnered a reputation and following along the way, but he also seems to hate it too. I've no idea if underground fighting is depicted well or not; it's more of a staging area than the focus anyway but why Aaron has continued to fight still alludes me. There's a lot I'll do for friends but getting the crap beat out of me on the regular is not one of them.

The mystery aspects of Butterfly Assassin are where things started to fall apart for me. I know it's not meant to be crime drama but the case of a killer brutally murdering humans by ripping their throats out is what drives the plot forward, only the procedural parts of this case are either woefully lacking or don't make sense which I found frustrating. I'm not going to nitpick each and every thing because we'd be here forever and what's the point? Suffice to say, the case and the investigation of it are flimsy at best.

Which leaves the romance between Aaron and Michael. I liked the forbidden nature of a romance between a shifter under investigation by the police officer who's investigating him even though it's clear Aaron had nothing to do with the murders early on. Their attraction slowly burns over the course of the story with UST and kissing and one quasi public blow job but I never felt their chemistry. As a romance reader what I crave and seek out is that intangible thing that binds two people together, that keeps the coming back to each other, that you feel rather than know and it just never happened with them.

What I continue to enjoy about Jacobs shifter universe is how she showcases pack dynamics. I love how tactile the alphas and betas are with the other pack members and how they respond to their superiors. I also noticed that Michael seemed to innately sense whenever Aaron was on edge and seemed to use some of those same pack techniques even though he's human which I thought was sweet. So I didn't hate Butterfly Assassin and I would probably read another book in this universe. There are good ideas here that were poorly executed in my opinion; but, my opinions are my own and YMMV.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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