Butterfly Potion by Trent Zelazny. Book review

butterflyBUTTERFLY POTION by Trent Zelazny, Nightscape Press, Paperback £4.64, eBook £1.98 94pp http://www.nightscapepress.com/butterfly-potion/

Reviewed by Chris Limb

Perry is at rock bottom.

Waking up mid afternoon lying in the dirt, his wallet and cell phone stolen, his recall of the previous evening flawed and fractured, all he can do is return to the scene of his last coherent memory. The bar. Here he can start drinking again before beginning his quest to find out what just what happened to him and who took his possessions. Enlisting the help of fellow barfly Talia, he embarks on a journey which forces him to confront the tragedy in his recent past, an event that sits at the centre of his mind like a tumour slowly eating away at his sanity…

Despite the fact that the events of ‘Butterfly Potion’ take place over less than twenty-four hours and despite the fact that nothing much really happens, this novella is a compelling read and one that the reader will probably devour in one sitting. An exploration of the darkness of the human mind, this noir mood piece engages the reader with the sheer power of its prose and makes even the darkest of descriptive passages compelling.  The confusion and panic that results from swathes of missing time are convincingly described, as are the irrational decisions the protagonist makes as he stumbles through the long dark night of this novella.

Perry, to whose thought processes we are privy, is utterly flawed but nevertheless engaging and shrewd, possessing a mind that on occasion can cut through the fog of his alcohol induced daze to work out what has happened to him.  His counterpoint, Talia, is a femme fatale only ever seen from the outside and therefore perhaps more difficult to get a handle on, but in the end she comes through for Perry and perhaps together they will be able to see the possibility of a brighter future.

‘Butterfly Potion’ is an absorbing account of human misery, touched with a scintilla of hope.