The Butcher's Son - Grant McKenzie

This is a twisty little thriller that may serve as a warning to those with family secrets. They’re coming for you. And those childhood memories? Might want to rethink those.


Ian Quinn runs a private child protection agency. HIs own childhood was less than idyllic. First his older sister disappeared without a trace, then his father went out for the proverbial pack of smokes & never returned. Growing up above his grandfather’s butcher shop, he began to learn the trade as his mother slowly drank herself to death.

More than 30 years later he gets news his father has died & he’s now the proud owner of one very dilapidated butcher shop. Unfortunately he also inherited something that is bringing large, scary men out of the woodwork & soon his life has been turned upside down.


This is a book about innocence & secrets. What Ian gradually discovers about his father & grandfather leaves him reeling & second guessing everything he was told as a child. I’d wager he’s tougher than your average social worker. His frequent run-ins with thugs of all stripes leave him battered & bruised as he tries to clear a debt by digging up old family secrets, sometimes literally. He gets help along the way from cop/buddy Jersey Castle & a sexy lawyer with connections.


I haven’t read the prequel (“The Fear in Her Eyes”) but events from that book are mentioned & presumedly responsible for Ian morphing into a bit of a badass. Some of his actions stretch credibility but hey…this is  fiction. One thing that did wear on me was the excessive amount of “smirking” that occurs. Dialogue between all characters is preceded, contains or followed by a smirk. Perhaps a few could smile, grin, laugh, leer, snort, snicker, scowl or mock for variety. Or maybe it’s just a personal pet peeve.


Initially we spend a lot of time in Ian’s head but the pace picks up when he turns his gaze outward & starts actively dealing with the wide variety of characters he encounters. By the end all is revealed & most questions answered but a few are left open which may signal to fans that book #3 is in the works.




My sincere thanks to Polis Books for throwing a copy my way.