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Troubador Butterfly Ranch

Released: 28/01/2018

ISBN: 9781788039963

eISBN: 9781788030717

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Butterfly Ranch

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“The Britisher lay on his belly, arms cradling his head. He was wearing dirty shorts and there 
were beads of caked mud in the hairs of his calves. A washed-out black tee shirt had slid up his torso 
and bunched around his shoulders, baring the base of his powerful spine...”

Tristan Griffin is a household name and the author of a universally popular detective series. For the past few years he has lived in self-exile in a remote jungle lodge nestled in the Mayan hills of Southern Belize, with his partner Hedda. Butterfly Ranch begins as he attempts suicide and Hedda disappears. Altamont Stanbury, an old Kriol police constable posted to the local backwater of San Antonio, rushes to the scene with his daughter Philomena, the village nurse.

Philomena saves Tristan but he remains unconscious. Altamont, a bumbler and long-time reader of crime novels, launches a half-hearted search for Hedda by radio but decides to remain at the lodge. In truth his reverence for Tristan the writer consumes all else, and he becomes obsessed with the Griffin books he finds at the lodge.

When Tristan comes to, he is distraught and at times delirious, haunted by flashbacks of his uncompromising, cursed love for Hedda and the dark secret behind her disappearance. His anger and increasingly erratic behaviour only find respite in the presence of Altamont’s innocent daughter. But he feels nothing but spite for Altamont himself, and the relationship between the two threatens to have fatal consequences for one or both. 

Butterfly Ranch is a story of obsessive love, self-destruction and unexpected redemption.

Breakaway Reviewers

Psychological suspense in Belize

A really satisfying read mixing tragedy, psychological suspense and exotic charm.
The reader is carried forward effortlessly by the writer's serene style.
"You better Belize it !" as they say in that part of the world.

by Zeraldo


This is the kind of the book that draws you in like a spider'web and before you know it, you are trapped in Tristan's world trying to make sense of a whole lot of dark secrets that leave you mesmerized.

I did enjoy reading it, perhaps, the fact that this was done indoors as it was raining heavily outside. Nonetheless, this book will thrill you and maybe just get you wondering how obsessed someone can be and how thin a line there is between love and death.

by Dora Archie Okeyo


I love how each section of the book focuses on a different viewpoint. Good, strong characters who have to face one complication / disaster after another and work through them. Ending was perfect for me.

by Denise Cross


A thoroughly interesting novel set in the southern part of Belize in Central America. A famous crime writer has bought up land in the secluded jungle, close to the small community of San Antonio. Not a lot is known of the novelist and his younger partner as they keep themselves very much to themselves. They own a lodge and the land which used to serve as a Butterfly farm. Now, and seemingly quite antisocial they want to live alone with little interaction with the local inhabitants or the wider world. As the novel develops the partner Hedda is seen as the recluse and it is Tristan Griffin who has bowed to her wishes.

The counterpoint to this couple is Altamont Stanbury a bumbling,but by the book police officer, whose career has stalled and he is spending his last years before retirement in this crime averse village. He spends most of his days reading crime fiction and dreaming of his detective skills in such stories.

Life throws Griffin and Stanbury together when it is reported that the writer lies dead up on his ranch.
With little experience and ill equipped from a medical standpoint he seeks the local woman who cleans for the couple to take him to the property. He is accompanied by his youngest daughter Philomena who is training to be a nurse and the designated medical volunteer in the area to assist in such matters.

What transpires is a classic scenario of a group of strangers trapped in a closed setting; unable to get immediate assistance and forced to work of the cuff and make do in trying circumstances.

Philomena is much brighter than her father and her training goes a long way to save Griffin’s life. The mystery is further compounded by the fact Hedda is missing. A radio call for next of kin produces a mercy dash across the sea from Norway of Hedda’s twin sister who we quickly find is like chalk to Hedda’s cheese.

The tension mounts as no professional doctor can attend and ultimately they are all fighting for their lives when a hurricane is declared to be heading their way.

This would make a great play. The characters are well drawn and Stanbury is so irritating that you wonder who will want to kill him first. However he discharges his duty with great purpose and efficiency. He lacks interpersonal skills and cannot see Griffin, who it increasingly seems likely had a hand in Hedda’s disappearance as anything other than a noble figure.

Although the drama takes place in a confined property the novel goes off with several back stories which add colour and substance to the players stranded together.

I thoroughly enjoyed what I believe was a debut novel by this author and found it a unique twist on a dramatic set of ‘strangers’ coming to terms with their situation and isolation and never really understanding everyone’s motives or behaviour.

There are surprises throughout and it is a great book to read and loose yourself in.

by Richard Latham (via NetGalley)


I am very curious. Is this really a story that will make me return to South America, involving several characters, and a life full of mystery. No need to spend a lot of time. From the beginning I was exposed to how RK Salters wrote this story.

Stanbury Altamont was introduced as a protagonist. A police officer who is waiting for a sign and is impressed that he is really useful for this criminal story. His job in the city of San Antonio which has the impression of calm and peace does not seem very striking. I don't like it a bit because he doesn't really care about his wife. Then the story becomes more complete with the presence of Philomena, daughter of Altamont Stanbury.

Obviously this story began when Hedda disappeared and Tristan Griffin committed suicide. Now Altamont really has a strong role. Griffin who was unconscious made a story like a shadow. Then why is Altamont told as a fan of Griffin's books? However, this part made me fall in love with the story. There was a police officer who should work hard to solve the mystery, but instead read all of Griffin's books casually.

I waited for Altamont to do something and it also frustrated me. Fortunately there is Philomena. Her job as a village nurse was really well described. A character who has great responsibility and also common sense. Very attentive to all patients and their environment.

While readers will surely be curious as to what the character of Tristan Griffin is. If I can be honest, actually he is not a character that I like. He is very selfish, controls all the stories and stories behind the mystery and hmmm, ... "he is the evil one"

Behind all these stories I would like to express my appreciation for RK Salters. I am really happy with characters who have the same roles and interests in this story. Behind the story of disappearing from the social environment there must be some beauty. All the grooves, characters and beauty in this story are like erasing the impression of mystery.

Dramatic, Tense and Perfect.

by Artrias Setiawan


RK Salters

RK Salters was born in Paris to an Irish émigré father and French mother. He is himself an exile, currently living in Lithuania, where he earlier met his future wife while exploring the collapsing Soviet Union. He is a passionate traveller and an expedition in Belizean jungles provided the setting for Butterfly Ranch, his first novel.

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