The Butcher and the Wren

Alaina Urquhart

Skilled and evocative.”

- Aaron Mahnke, creator of the Lore podcast and author of The World of Lore series

Now with an exclusive sneak peek at the highly anticipated sequel!

 #2 New York Times Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller Bestseller
An Amazon Best Book of 2022 (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense)
A Barnes & Noble Best Mystery of 2022 and Bookseller Favorite
A PopSugar Thriller to Sink Your Teeth Into
A SheReads Best Thriller of Fall 2022

“A read in one sitting kind of book.”

— Sarah Gelman, CBS Mornings

From the co-host of chart-topping true crime podcast Morbid, a thrilling debut novel told from the dueling perspectives of a notorious serial killer and the medical examiner following where his trail of victims leads.





Page count




Sale date

July 25, 2023


5.5 x 8.25

About the Book

Now with an exclusive sneak peek at the highly anticipated sequel!

Something dark is lurking in the Louisiana bayou: a methodical killer with a penchant for medical experimentation is hard at work completing his most harrowing crime yet, taunting the authorities who desperately try to catch up.

But forensic pathologist Dr. Wren Muller is the best there is. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of historical crimes, and years of experience working in the Medical Examiner’s office, she’s never encountered a case she couldn’t solve. Until now. Case after case is piling up on Wren’s examination table, and soon she is sucked into an all-consuming cat-and-mouse chase with a brutal murderer getting more brazen by the day.


An addictive read with straight-from-the-morgue details only an autopsy technician could provide, The Butcher and the Wren promises to ensnare all who enter.


“Urquhart has crafted a thriller that is necessarily graphic but not exploitative. The crisp detail, the narrative brevity and the blade-sharp connections between the pathologist and the killer all bode well for future installments.”

- Sarah Weinman, New York Times

“Urquhart paints a tense and dangerous world for us right from the start and delivers it all with a skilled and evocative hand.”

- Aaron Mahnke, creator of the Lore podcast and author of The World of Lore series

“The Butcher and the Wren is perfect for fans of Dexter. Pitting a brutal serial killer against a determined medical examiner, the story is a pulse-pounding race against time. And the details the author weaves in due to her unique background as an autopsy tech heighten the realism and the suspense. Fans of Morbid will love the co-host’s debut novel.”

- Kaira Rouda, USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Favorite Daughter and Somebody’s Home

“Can a medical examiner outsmart a serial killer? The Butcher and the Wren will keep you waiting for an answer until the last bloody page. Prepare to be disturbed. A deliciously dark debut.”

- Rea Frey, bestselling author for Not Her Daughter and Secrets of Our House

“Looking for the perfect way to kick off your spooky season? Well, you can end your search now as the co-host of the wildly popular true-crime podcast Morbid, who is also an autopsy technician, is offering up a twisted tale of a serial killer terrorizing the Louisiana bayou. Told from the dueling perspectives of a notorious murderer and the medical examiner who is desperate to catch him, this cat-and-mouse thriller will give your goosebumps chills.”

- Tierney Bricker, E! News

“The Butcher and the Wren is already one of the buzziest titles of the Fall. If you somehow haven’t already heard about what the big twists of the story are already, do your best not to find out until you get the chance to experience Alaina Urquhart’s debut for yourself.”

- Lacy Baugher Milas, Paste Magazine

“The Butcher and the Wren is set in New Orleans and south Louisiana and follows forensic pathologist Dr. Wren Muller as she tries to crack the case of who is committing a series of murders…before they can strike again…Urquhart is a trained autopsy technician and brings her first-hand knowledge and investigative know-how to her writing. Hit up your favorite local bookstore and pick up a copy!”

- Ashley McLellan, New Orleans Magazine

“True-crime podcast cohost Alaina Urquhart showcases her propensity for the macabre in chilling cat-and-mouse thriller.”

- Sabienna Bowman, Popsugar

“Urquhart does a fantastic job distinguishing between the voices of her two narrators, in both their tone and style of language. The fast-paced story and constant suspense keep you hooked, making it very difficult to put the novel down once you start reading it.”

- Alexis Enderle, The Tufts Daily

“Will totally horrify you and spark fear of the dark. Not for the faint of heart.”

- Becky Bachhold, The Daniel Island News

“Impressively detailed in its analysis, as you might expect from someone who spends their life conducting autopsies, it leaves little to the imagination, but is captivating, with lacings of the occult amid the deaths. There may be moments when the reader might want to shut their eyes, but the joust between the killer and the pathologist makes that impossible.”

- Daily Mail

“Another true crime podcaster brings their flair for the macabre to the page with The Butcher and the Wren. Co-host of the chart-topping Morbid podcast, Alaina Urquhart treats fans of pulse-pounding novels to a thrill ride pitting a notorious serial killer in a battle of wits against the medical examiner determined to bring him down.”

- Books-a-million, “Our Favorite Debut Authors”

“If you like Patricia Cornwell and have watched Dexter with undisguised glee (and a sped up heart rate), this one is for you.”

- Belfast Telegraph

“[Urquhart] uses all aspects of her familiarity with crime, corpses and the practices of forensic pathology to write convincingly about the showdown between a serial killer and an ME. Her setting is especially absorbing, from the haunting darkness of the bayou at night to the rising fears of the characters’ fellow parishioners…. I found that mid-book twist delightfully astonishing—and I’m hoping to read more from her.”

- Doreen Sheridan, Criminal Element

“Urquhart’s hands-on experience as an autopsy technician and her endless hours of research into hundreds of killers for her podcast feed into this chilling narrative resulting in a book that will haunt you for weeks. It’s a perfect book for the start of the spooky season.”

- Katie Giffin, City Scene

Listen to The Butcher and the Wren Announcement

Alaina Urquhart announces the news of her first novel, The Butcher and the Wren, on the Morbid podcast!