The Staten Island Butcher

Fiction - Thriller - General
183 Pages
Reviewed on 08/02/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite

The Staten Island Butcher by George R. Hopkins is a mystery thriller that has all of the right elements to keep it exciting and hard to put down. Father Jack Bennis and his brother, Tom Cavanaugh, are the heroes trying to find the man dubbed The Staten Island Butcher. The Butcher is revealed and we, the readers, are privy to what he is doing to the girls he abducts. Sgt. Malchus Anthony, a homeless veteran, is Jack’s old army friend and the suspected butcher killer. Gretchen Leone is the latest girl taken by the Butcher. Greta Johnson is her grandmother and has enlisted Jack to help in finding her. Each one of these characters plays an important role in the story and contributes to the evil and good of the mystery.

The Staten Island Butcher has many twists and turns and while I knew who was good and who was bad, the chase made it a book that was hard to put down. George R. Hopkins wrote a true mystery thriller and I look forward to reading more of his works and hopefully more adventures of brothers Jack and Tom. I can easily see The Staten Island Butcher as a TV movie and already have my favorite actors in mind for each character. If you enjoy a good whodunit, why and how, then this book is certainly a perfect read for you. I really enjoyed it and recommend it goes on your summer reading list. It is a great book for sitting by the pool or on the porch with a refreshing glass of iced tea.

Jack Magnus

The Staten Island Butcher is a serial killer mystery novel written by George R. Hopkins. This is the seventh book in Hopkins’ stand-alone mystery series featuring Father Jack Bennis and his brother, Tom Cavanaugh, a now-retired NYC homicide detective. Sophia Bellini wasn’t the first young woman to disappear, and many were beginning to fear she had been taken by the man the media was calling the Staten Island Butcher. She had been out on a run in preparation for the New York City Marathon when she vanished without a trace. When Gretchen Leone, the young college student working as a waitress at The Waterview, also vanished shortly after serving the brothers and Jack’s guest, a homeless veteran he knew from when he was in the service, Jack knew he had to get involved -- Gretchen had been one of his students when he was an English teacher. The image of the dismembered bones recently found floating in the water nearby was hard to shift, and he was determined to find Gretchen and stop the killer. Sergeant Malchus Anthony was considered by the authorities to be the most likely suspect, but Jack wasn’t at all convinced.

George R. Hopkins’ serial killer mystery novel, The Staten Island Butcher, is a fast-paced and exciting story about a terrifying serial killer. I’ve read a number of Hopkins’ Bennis/Cavanaugh mysteries and would find it hard to pick a favorite as they’re all marvelous reads. I particularly liked the focus he places on the plight of homeless veterans and the seeming intolerance many display when trying to overlook their presence on city streets and laying the blame for their homelessness on perceived failures of character. Hopkins paints a masterful portrayal of a veteran whose medals and triple tours in Vietnam end in a dishonorable discharge and a denial of the support system veterans often need. Watching as Jack interacts with the often challenging Malchus Anthony gives the reader new and welcome insights into Father Jack Bennis’ character and his past life. The author’s plot is neat and filled with twists and surprises, and his characters are credible and finely rendered. The Staten Island Butcher is most highly recommended.

Viga Boland

The Staten Island Butcher revolves around the disappearance and mutilation of beautiful young women. When body parts start surfacing in a lake, and women’s bras and panties are found in trash bins, police are at a loss where to start looking for the Staten Island Butcher. He has covered his tracks cleverly. When Father Bennis asks Cavanaugh to join him and the long lost Malchus Anthony for a bite to eat, Cavanaugh is appalled and immediately suspicious when he notices the disheveled vet, who can’t stop ogling a beautiful waitress, blow his nose on a pair of black lace panties. Could this angry looking, foul mouthed bum be the Staten Island Butcher? Shortly thereafter, the highly respected Otto Grub, much to his annoyance, has to prepare the body of a young Chinese student for a funeral. He has far more important things to do with his time. In the meantime, Malchus suddenly drops out of sight, especially when clues to the young man’s death point to him. Could Malchus have killed both the student and those girls? Father Bennis doesn’t believe he’s responsible for all the deaths, and despite himself, after a while neither does Cavanaugh. But how will he, his brother and the police nail The Staten Island Butcher who leaves no clues for anyone to follow? Readers will be biting their nails trying to sort out who is who and who did what in The Staten Island Butcher.

The Staten Island Butcher has been described simply as a “thriller”. Well, after being completely creeped out by the perverse pastimes of Otto Grub, a nattily dressed funeral director, and nauseated by the actions of the smelly and homeless Vietnam vet, Malchus Anthony, I’d have to modify that classification with one word: “psychological”. The Staten Island Butcher is one heck of a psychological thriller. If it weren’t for the “time-outs” retired detective Cavanaugh takes while his infant son is hospitalized, and the religious asides made by his priest-brother, Father Bennis, readers would be barely able to breathe by the end of the book! This novel by George R. Hopkins is actually a look at the aftermath, in one case, of early childhood abuse; in the other, of PTSD in Vietnam vets. Both situations can and do produce killers. How and why they act on that killer instinct is what gives The Staten Island Butcher its psychological thriller flavor. If that kind of reading is your cup of tea, go for it. See how long it takes you to figure out not just who is the Staten Island Butcher, but who the heck is the mysterious and evil Suadela?

James Coyle

I have read every book by this talented author and he never disappoints. The characters come alive and spin a tale of intrigue that makes it hard to put the book down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to what’s next