The Butcher [NOOK Book]


From the author of the acclaimed suspense novels Creep and Freak and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a “top of the line thriller writer,” The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police ...
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The Butcher

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From the author of the acclaimed suspense novels Creep and Freak and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a “top of the line thriller writer,” The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hillier (Freak) squanders an intriguing premise with poor plotting and lackluster characterization in this disappointing psychological thriller. In 1985, Capt. Edward Shank of the Seattle PD made his reputation by apprehending the Beacon Hill Butcher, a serial killer who terrorized the Pacific Northwest. In the present, soon after Shank’s grandson, Matthew, discovers highly unsettling evidence regarding the case among the retired police chief’s papers, the murders resume. Hillier trots out a series of disturbing crimes—rape, dismemberment, incest, sodomy—but her writing fails to get any horror across. The killer, meanwhile, remains a concept rather than a well-rounded character. Sluggish pacing undermines the suspense, while much of the novel focuses on an entirely predictable love triangle and a subplot about Matthew’s reality TV ambitions. Although the high body count and the gore may attract some readers, the story fails to deliver on its initial promise. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg. (July)
“As she ably proved in her debut (Creep, 2011), [Hillier] has a fine knack for creating hideous killers. This time she turns the formula whodunit on its head… A tense, suspenseful, thoroughly creepy thriller.”
Suspense Magazine
"Once I got started I couldn’t stop reading, and I confess to having sweaty palms a few times. A thrill ride that will have your attention from start to finish! This one is 4.5 stars."
Dead End Follies
"The Butcher is a clever, twisted thriller about genetics, faith, and death . . . The greatest thing about The Butcher is its uncanny ability to trump the narrative conventions of the conventional serial killer novel over and over again . . Jennifer Hillier's prose remains fast paced and immensely readable as her content becomes quirkier and more cerebral with every novel."
RT Reviews (Top Pick)
"Hillier writes beautifully horrific stories… Readers will be immersed until the final page, thanks to the velocity at which this unique thriller is told.”
Fresh Fiction
"[A] rapid-fire thriller of dark, unsettling proportions with some very surprising twists. With the turn of each new page, the suspenseful plot is tense and gripping...a skillfully penned tale of murder and cover-up that will keep readers enthralled until the powerful finish. Thriller fans should not miss The Butcher!
NJ Journal of Books
“Replete with plot twists and surprises, The Butcher is an engrossing tale that piques the reader’s interest immediately and then holds on to it like an angry pitbull.”
Kirkus Reviews
Thirty years ago, Seattle Police Capt. Edward Shank put down a serial killer dubbed the Butcher. Edward’s bullet ended Rufus Wedge’s sorry life. But did the killings end?Hillier’s (Freak, 2012, etc.) third thriller fairly shudders with tension. Edward is ready to retire to an assisted living facility and give his grandson, Matt, the family home, a beloved Victorian in a posh neighborhood. An up-and-coming chef, Matt has parlayed his successful food-truck business into Adobo, the hottest restaurant in town, and the reality show networks are calling. The only trouble is that his girlfriend, Samantha, can’t understand why Matt hasn’t invited her to move in, too. After all, they’ve been together for three years. Pressuring Matt, though, isn’t getting her anywhere, and even their friend—well, really Sam’s friend—Jason is a little mystified. Certainly, Matt’s history of anger management trouble gives Jason pause. While Matt renovates the house and works late, Sam turns back to researching her latest true-crime book. This time, she has a personal investment. She’s convinced that her mother was killed by the notorious Butcher. Bored at the retirement home, Edward has become an invaluable sounding board. Like the Butcher’s other victims, Sam’s mother was raped, strangled and left in a shallow grave. Unfortunately for Sam’s theory, her mother was killed two years after Rufus Wedge’s death. Meanwhile, Matt’s contractor has unearthed a crate filled with gruesome artifacts. As Matt investigates the crate’s contents and Sam questions a mysterious informant, their romance unravels and the body count begins to rise. Hillier sends her reader into a labyrinth of creepy twists and grotesque turns. There’s no escape from the brutal truths exposed.The secrets of the past refuse to keep quiet in this disquieting, taut thriller.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476734224
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 7/15/2014
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 9,619
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jennifer Hillier made her fiction debut with Creep. Originally from Canada, she spent almost five years in the beautiful Pacific Northwest before returning to her hometown of Toronto, Canada. Visit her on the web at
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Read an Excerpt

The Butcher

  • APRIL 25, 1985

It had once been a lovely apartment building, but the crackheads had changed all that. Graffiti covered the old brick walls and the front doors were badly in need of a new coat of paint. Most of the windows—the ones that weren’t broken—had mismatched bedsheets as curtains, and the courtyard in front of the building looked and smelled like a garbage dump.

The light Seattle rain drizzled down steadily, covering Captain Edward Shank’s face with a fine mist that felt good. Twenty feet away from the apartment’s entrance, he stood still in the dark, feeling secure, if a little warm, under the weight of the Kevlar vest hugging his torso. Several other police officers flanked him on either side, and though they weren’t touching, he could feel the tension in their bodies cutting through the cool night air.

He spoke to them in a low, commanding voice and gripped his weapon tighter. “Nobody moves till I move.”

The only light in the area was weak and yellow, seeping from a bare bulb over the doorway to the building. A striped cat with missing patches of fur moved quietly through the shadows and into the walkway light, pausing to sniff the air. The front door to the apartment building opened and the cat scampered away. A middle-aged man, potbellied and wearing a too-tight wifebeater-style tank top and a pair of saggy denim shorts, stepped out.

Edward Shank moved forward, aiming his weapon at the man’s chest. “Rufus Wedge!” His voice, strong and authoritative, carried easily into the quiet night. “This is Captain Edward Shank from the Seattle Police Department. Don’t move. You’re under arrest. Get on your knees and place your hands in the air.”

Startled, Wedge turned in the direction of Edward’s voice. His left hand crept toward his back pocket.

Without hesitation, Edward fired. So did the four other police officers beside him.

The gunfire propelled Rufus Wedge backward. The man hit the door hard before slumping to the ground, bright spots of blood immediately appearing in several places across his torso, stark against the white cotton of his shirt. The man’s grizzled jaw went slack, the few stray hairs from his comb-over falling across his pink, shiny forehead in moist wisps. As the light went out of his eyes, the dull yellow bulb above him cast a golden, almost angelic glow on his face.

An interesting contradiction. Edward almost felt guilty.


“We got him, Captain,” someone said. Edward recognized the voice but didn’t turn to look. He couldn’t bring himself to take his eyes off Rufus Wedge, so he nodded without averting his gaze. “We finally nailed the Butcher. Thank fucking Christ.”

From somewhere in the dark, the striped cat yowled.

The officers around Edward rushed forward to check the man’s vitals, as was protocol, guns still drawn. Their captain stayed behind, unmoving, under the cover of the darkness, his eyes fixed on Wedge’s dead body.

Rufus Wedge, otherwise known as the Beacon Hill Butcher, had been the most wanted man in the Pacific Northwest for a long time. The manhunt was now over.

Holstering his weapon, Edward let out a long, slow breath. Wiping his brow, slick from the rain, he stepped forward into the light toward the dead man. Wedge stared up at him with blank, glossy eyes.

“No more now,” Edward said quietly. He wasn’t speaking to anyone in particular, except maybe himself. “No more.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2014

    I have read this authors 2 previous books, and she just gets bet

    I have read this authors 2 previous books, and she just gets better and better w/each one. wish I could give more than 5 stars!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Lots of murder, rape, and suffering in this book.  I think it wa

    Lots of murder, rape, and suffering in this book.  I think it was not a bad effort by the author,
    who is still new to writing I imagine.  Predictable from the start and yet not a bad story line
    running through the book.  I would have liked less predictability as a reader and a bit more mystery
     – there were too many clues from the author to the reader along the way.  I am sure the author
     was worried the reader might feel robbed, but she gave plenty away without all the extra clues.
     This author needs to give her readers more credit for thinking on their own and not leading
    them along like a pack horse.
    If you like murder mysteries you might enjoy this fast paced book – short and quick to read
     – I started last night and finished up today.  I think her next book will be better as her writing
     improves and hopefully she lets the reader come to their own conclusion without throwing so
    many clues at them – I like a bit more mystery in my mystery.
    Also, I think that Sam was a bit dumber then she should have been when it came to the mystery
    behind her mother’s death.  Clues were screaming at me and yet she walked around like she was
    asleep the whole book.  I do realize I know more than the characters, but please – if you give her
     brains she needs to keep those throughout the book and not lose them around the killers.
      And what happened to the girlfriend whats her name?  Too many holes to mention. 

    Anyone can write thrillers if you use enough f-bombs and rape - burn and torture your victims
     - me I like a bit more mystery in my books.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2014

    I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review. Th

    I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.

    This is one of those books that you just can not believe that the serial killer is someone with power. Though you find out early on who it is. 
    I normally like to be guessing until the very very end who the killer is or was, and when I know early on it normally drops my rating down on the book.
    But with The Butcher, to me it is a solid 5 star rating. Being as the way The Butcher is connected to the other characters within the story and they have no clue until something is unearthed in the backyard. With this damaging evidence that could bring the serial killer to justice the person who finds it doesn't quite believe his eyes.
    We start the book off with a murder occurring which has you already wondering where is this exactly going to go. 
    Then we start meeting the characters Matt who is very strong willed and wants to be successful at his restaurant. His girlfriend Sam who writes crime novels, and her latest writing will be about The Butcher who was killed when found by the police. And the Chief who is Matt's grandfather and the person who took down the famous serial killer The Butcher. 

    Matt and Sam have a weird relationship they are together but once Matt gets his grandfather's house he starts distancing himself from her. Sam who believes that The Butcher is still alive being as he killed her mother goes on a quest to get answers.  
    When Matt finds out the dark truth hidden in the house that he lives in, he lets it get to him. And when that happens his does the unthinkable thing and ends up calling his grandfather for help. 
    Now Sam gets the police involved with opening up the case again and the police of course ask the Chief for his advice on things. But is this the best thing to do?
    Secrets come out that can damage everyone. Does this keep you on the edge of your seat, umm to me not so much. The gruesome fact not really there except with the cutting of something up. The romance or sex scenes not truly there. Yes there was one part but it was nothing that you have to cover your eyes and go OMG. Overall really good story being told. Different, being as you get to know the serial killer early on but everything unravels to the why and how this person got away with it. Is justice serve? Yes it is for all those involved.  I really like this author and will be checking out the other books written by her to see if they are just as good.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Most Evil Suspense Psychological Thriller!

    A special thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Jennifer Hillier’s THE BUTCHER, is by far the most evil suspense psychological thriller—hooking you from the front cover, keeping you entranced until the last word. You then look up and say, “Wow, what just happened here?” No, he didn't. This is one twisted and sick guy . OMG!

    • First, the front cover is stunning – drawing you into this intriguing, sick, twisted, psychological mind
    • Second, the publisher’s summary was right on—a book I want to read!
    • Third, the story; THE BUTCHER was totally epic in every way. What a chilling ride – Fast-paced, heart pounding, suspenseful, holding your breath to see what would come next.
    • Last, but not least – The author: Jennifer Hillier, what an imagination! She masterfully crafts each of the characters, with a unique cleverly twisted plot-Brilliant!

    In 1985 Captain Edward Shank of the Seattle PD made his reputation and a name for himself in this town, by apprehending the Beacon Hill Butcher, a serial killer who terrorized the Pacific Northwest. Everyone was grateful to Shank and his team, as most of the victims were young teenage girls.

    Flash forward thirty years and now Edward Shank is retired, a widower and transitioning his life into a retirement village—giving his home in the center of Sweetbay, one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, and also one of the most desirable—to his only heir, his grandson, Matt.

    Now eighty years old, bored, with a bad hip, arthritis, he spends his days playing checkers, dreaming of the good ole days, and watching TV—his days of glory are long gone.

    Matt, his grandson, an award-winning chef, owns the most successful restaurant in Seattle with recipes from his beloved grandmother (Iola), who is deceased. In addition to his famous restaurant, Adobo, he operates gourmet food trucks and now has gained attention of a Fresh Food Network TV show. Matt inherited his grandfather’s height, build, and personality, but his love for food and cooking was all from his grandmother.

    With all his fame, and work, Matt is stressed, self-centered, ambitious, hot tempered, and has anger management issues. There are three things Matt loves most in the world: Adobo, the Seahawks, and Samantha (last).

    Samantha (Sam), a writer of ‘true crime’ books with an interest of turning ‘The Butcher of Beacon Hill into her next venture, as she believes her mother was killed by THE BUTCHER, even though it was several years (1987) after he was killed.

    Soon after Matt moves in to his home, he begins renovations with the installation of a hot tub. The construction crew uncovers a locked crate. When he uncovers the contents of the crate, his life will never be the same.

    However, this is only the beginning of what lies ahead – a nightmare with twists and turns you do not see coming!

    What makes this novel so different than the normal run-of-the mill physiological chilling thrillers—-the human interest side; how Hillier masterfully intertwines realistic everyday characters –a chef, a writer, and an ex-police chief—a story which could happen to any of us. Taking readers inside the mind of one troubled and twisted man.

    Looking forward to reading Hillier’s previous novels, Creep and Freak! This is an author to follow—she is right up there with the best of them!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2014

    The Butcher  by Jennifer Hillier This is a dark look into the mi

    The Butcher 
    by Jennifer Hillier
    This is a dark look into the mind of a killer. Captain Edward Shank, made a name for himself with the bust of the Butcher of Beacon Bill. The dramatic death of Rufus Wedge, gave his carrier a boost, he became Chief of Police in Seattle. His live was good, only problem was his dark secrete and the urges he could not ignore.  The Butcher a notorious serial killer that unsettled the Washington area from the 70’s until Rufus Wedge’s death in April of 1985 was the fire that kept the police on their toes. Now retired and a resent widower, ‘Chief’ Edward Shank, is giving his house to his grandson and moving into the local retirement home. 
    Matt Shank, is a rising star in the food industry of Seattle, Washington. His restaurant Adobo is the one of the top restaurants in the area. His food trucks serving Pilipino fare is a hit. Now he is being offered a reality TV show on the Fresh Network.  Armed with his Lola’s recipes, his killer drive, and his aggressive need to succeed he has everything going his way. 
    Samantha, is a successful writer, her books on true crime have given her a comfortable life. Her relationship with Matt could be better. Since her introduction by her best friend Jason, she has come to accept that there are things that Matt can do, and things he will not do. His work is his life. Okay by Sam, she has her own obsessions, like finding out who killed her mother.  
    The suspense and drama of the book left the reader on edge. There were many times I could see that this book could have turned out another way. But the ending was unexpected but fulfilling in its own way. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A True Mystery Thriller!

    Decades before, a hero was born when the serial killer known as The Butcher was captured and brought down by Seattle police officer Edward Shank, ending the reign of gruesome terror for this villain. Branded a hero and rising to the level of Police Chief, Edward was a living legend with enough clout to make things happen for those around him. Even his brilliant, but self-centered, grandson, Matt, an accomplished chef owes part of his thriving restaurant and food catering success to The Chief. When three freak incidents occur, doubts arise that The Butcher is truly gone. New victims are showing up, old victims, never before tied to the vile Butcher because they happened after his death, may be more than copy cat crimes. Who is the Butcher, really and who would believe who the clues point to? Is it possible that the taste for gruesome murder and violence is in the blood? Will one mistake cost Matt what he treasures most in this world? Will Matt’s former girlfriend finally find out what happened to her mother?

    Talk about a mystery thriller that keeps your head spinning and your nerves taut. The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier is dark, gritty, raw. From the gruesome, bloody and perverted torture/murder scenes to the cool, calculating madness of The Butcher, this is one ride down a dark alley that will leave you looking over your shoulders as you go long for the ride. Ms. Hillier writes with the strong hand, crisp and forthright with bold strokes that will hold you prisoner to each and every page. A true Mystery/Thriller, The Butcher runs at a perfect pace as we find out who-dun-it and how will he be stopped.

    Are you good with feeling the gore, smelling the fear and lingering in the dark with a murderer? Take a walk on the dark side with The Butcher, if you dare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Edward Shank was a well known household name around Seattle, Was

    Edward Shank was a well known household name around Seattle, Washington as he was the one everyone knew had brought down the serial killer known as the Beacon Hill Butcher. The case never went to trial for the man named Rufus Wedge was killed when Edward Shank went to arrest him. It was a quick ending to the nightmare that plagued this city for years, or so everyone thought. Now Edward is eighty-years-old and has finally decided it is time for him to act his age. He moves into a retirement home, leaving his old Victorian house to his grandson Matt. Even though getting old did not set well with Edward, he knew it was time for things to start slowing down but he could not deny that he still missed the thrill he felt when he was chief of police so many years ago.

    Matt Shank’s life was going exactly as he wanted, he had a successful restaurant, he was becoming a renowned chef, he had just inherited his grandfather’s gorgeous house, and he also had a beautiful girlfriend. Yes, everything was going great for Matt until during his renovations to the backyard a crate was found buried deep in the ground by one of the contractors. Thinking that this was just something accidently forgotten and left behind by his grandfather, Matt didn’t think it would be a big deal if he opened it himself, besides they were family. What he finds changes everything and would ruin all of the things Matt has worked so long to achieve.

    Samantha and Matt Shank had been dating for three years and from the beginning Sam knew that her feelings for Matt were stronger than any she had felt before. She could see herself marrying him, having a family, growing old together but Matt had consistently put his career first. Of course Sam had always admired Matt's ambition and drive but she was beginning to wonder if she would ever move up on his priority list. Thankfully, she was working on a project to write a book about the murders of the Beacon Hill Butcher that helped to distract her from her failing love life. This was a subject she took personal as Sam believed that her own mother was murdered by The Butcher; the only catch was her mom’s murder was after Rufus Wedge was killed. Everyone she explains her theory to thinks she’s crazy but Sam is determined not to stop until she finds closure.

    When I started this book I expected a mysterious thriller but what I found was an intense, raw, and absolutely terrifying story. The lies, deception, murders, and killers are so uniquely interwoven together I found myself reading pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next. If Jennifer Hillier was going for a book that caused me to shiver with each chapter she succeeded amazingly well. I found myself truly shuttering in certain parts of this book as her writing brings to life the beyond psychotic workings of a serial killer’s brain and desires.

    Quill says: This is definitely a book that would satisfy any reader who relishes a raw mystery thriller.

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  • Posted August 12, 2014

    On the one hand, I could give this book a scathing review, clap

    On the one hand, I could give this book a scathing review, clap my hands together and walk away; on the other, I could do a bit more analysis, delve a bit deeper than its rusty surface, and throw in a few psychobabble terms for my handful of diligent readers out there. Let’s see, I think we’ll go with Option B, Alex, and let’s make it for $600, just to make things interesting. And….here…we…go.

    More than a few reviewers have been less than generous, and if I could offer up a deduction, I’d say it stems from the following sentence: “A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.” This, unfortunately, does not do Jennifer Hillier any favors, as THE BUTCHER is not that type of novel. To be perfectly blunt about it, another publisher has screwed an author. If I were king for a day, I’d probably fire more than one marketing department, and send them back to school for their MBAs. Because we certainly didn’t learn that crap in any marketing class I ever took. But in my experience, most publishers are experts in publishing, not marketing, and yes there is separation of church and state, at least in this case. Sorry, the chopper interrupted my train of thought. Let’s move on, shall we?

    Instead of taking a cleaver to this tale, I actually was rather happy to bump and bounce along through the streets of Seattle with Pike Place firmly etched in my rearview. Sure, the characters might have been a bit one-dimensional—Matt and Edward were certainly no exception—but that was all part of the experience. Sam, on the other hand, proved a tad more interesting, at least in my estimation. Even though the killer is revealed in the first 30 pages, the real fun is in seeing how it all goes down on the playground, and what will await us at the end of our journey.

    With a clipped pace and bodies stacking up to the left and right, I found myself rushing forward with both hands in front of my face to swat away errant limbs and branches. And, yes, you have to be of a particular persuasion to enjoy this tale, since it covers sunny topics like rape and incest and murder.

    So, yes, we can castrate the author or the novel for what it isn’t based on the last paragraph in the description, or you can expunge that last sentence from your brain (as I did) and focus on what this particular novel is. If you can reach a separation of church and state, then you may have found yourself a winner.

    I received this book for free through NetGalley.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    Great read!

    I've sat here for almost 20 minutes trying to gather my thoughts on this book, but I can't put into words how much I love this author and have enjoyed all of her books, including this one. Do yourself a favor and just pick up this book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Ehhhhh. Not worth 13 bucks.

    Ehhhhh. Not worth 13 bucks.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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