Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: BUTTERFLY SKIN by Sergey Kuznetsov

Butterfly SkinFrom the back of the book:
When a brutal and sadistic serial killer begins stalking the streets of Moscow, Ksenia, an ambitious young newspaper editor, takes it upon herself to attempt to solve the mystery of the killer's identity. As her obsession with the killer grows, Xenia devises an elaborate website with the intention of ensnaring the murderer, only to discover something disturbing about herself: her own unhealthy fascination with the sexual savagery of the murders.

My Review:
Crime is on the peripheral in BUTTERFLY SKIN as the author, Sergey Kuznetsov instead draws attention to his core group of characters and their subtly deliberate fusion with the darker elements of the novel - the Moscow serial killer. 

I found this approach both refreshing and believable. Ksenia is a career driven young woman looking to further her professional aspirations in the journalistic and information technology fields in Russia. Running an online newspaper that regularly sits outside the top ranking, she concocts a plan to draw new readers by capitalizing on the fear associated with Moscow's yet to be captured serial killer. Aided by her co-worker Alexei and close friend Olya her venture brings instant fame and the unwanted attention of the killer. 

Graphic, evocative, blatantly sexualised - BUTTERFLY SKIN is not for those easily put off by descriptive dissection, and explicit sexual acts (though this isn't overtly so, and is well within context). The novel, as I mentioned earlier isn't all about the heinous crime that binds the characters and drives their motives but it does loom omnipresent. This is a dark novel that should be read as such to fully appreciate how good it is. 

This is the first book by Russian author Sergey Kuznetsov I've read and the only one I believe (though I could be wrong) that has been translated into English. Personally, I hope to read more.  


  1. yes, it's the only novel published in English. There is a story in the book Moscow Noir (Akashic Press, a few years ago).
    Anyway, thank you for review

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment! I've read a few of the Akashic Press Noir Anthologies but missed the Moscow one - I'll track down a copy.


  2. Sounds interesting though I'm a little squeamish so the graphic scenes might put me off.

    1. It's graphic and dark but not without cause. Everything is justified so nothing is explicit or over the top without it being necessary for the story. :-)