The Staten Island Butcher
George R. Hopkins
Reviewed by Michel Violante for Reader Views (12/18)
“The Staten Island Butcher” by George R. Hopkins is the seventh book in his mystery/thriller series featuring brothers, Tom Cavanaugh and Jack Bennis.
The story begins when a girl named Sophia Bellini is kidnapped while she was jogging on the boardwalk in Staten Island, New York. A month later Father Jack Bennis and his retired cop brother, Tom Cavanaugh meet an army veteran at a restaurant by the water, for lunch. Father Bennis had invited the now homeless veteran to lunch when he recognized him from his training camp during the Vietnam war. Their waitress recognizes Father Bennis from high school. He was her English teacher years before he became a Priest. Little did Father Bennis know that one of his former students would be the next girl to disappear later that rainy night as she accepted a ride home from a familiar face. Father Bennis and his brother decide to tackle the case on their own to find out what happened to his former high school student. They didn’t know she could have been another victim of the serial killer on the loose known to police as ‘The Staten Island Butcher.’ Nor that the homeless veteran would be considered as a suspect…
George R. Hopkins presents crime story fans with a well written who-done-it mystery. The intriguing story unravels through a lot of dialogue, which features the author’s skills in “showing vs. telling” the reader what happens through convincing writing. The descriptions are on-point, providing clear pictures of local landscapes and settings, while also leaving room for individual imagination.
The characters are well developed, the interaction between the brothers both familiar and genuine. There are numerous plot twists to keep the reader engaged, though I would love to have seen a little more suspense. But, in all honesty, I still enjoyed this story as a five-star read!
Overall, I recommend “The Staten Island Butcher” by George R. Hopkins to all readers looking for a captivating mystery. Furthermore, I encourage them to check out all Hopkins’ other books featuring Father Bennis and Tom Cavanaugh…I know I will.