My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I admit, I am always a bit nervous when sitting down to start a new crime thriller. I’m afraid it won’t be thrilling enough, or compelling enough, or shocking enough. I am especially nervous when reading an author I haven’t read before. However, with The Owl Always Hunts At Night, those nerves were unnecessary.
From the very first chapter, I was sucked in. This book kept me on my toes the entire time I read it. As soon as I thought I had a grasp on the plot, or a character, I would be proven wrong, again and again. Which I thought was absolutely brilliant.
One of my pet peeves in crime thrillers is how neatly things fall into place. Clues are conveniently uncovered by a brilliant detective. Sure there are missteps, but in the end the crime is solved and justice prevailed. What I really enjoyed about this book, is that the unfolding of the crime investigation felt very real. The detectives are flawed people, struggling with their own demons while attempting to solve this crime. Sure, they are brilliant, but it wasn’t one particular lead investigator taking charge and saving the day. It took the entire team to hunt down the murderer and take them down.
The way the investigation unfolded felt very real too. The false starts and dead end leads. It seemed like every new development faced a surprising obstacle, and that too felt real to me. Rarely do we uncover all the facts in life at the breakneck speed of fiction. The reader wants to be compelled into reading more, and dead end cases don’t make for good fiction. There is art in the way Bjork weaves the frustration of the investigation in a way that makes the reader want to continue turning the pages. When all the pieces finally did move together, the tragic twist felt even more real.
Throughout the entire novel, the sense of realism was maintained. I didn’t feel any standard plot tricks or cliched characters in order to move the story forward. The flow, the pace, the twists and turns, all were believable, even if they were disturbing. That sense of realism, of being able to lose yourself entirely to the novel without a sentence or quirk forcing you out, is very important to me, and was exceptionally done here.
In all, this novel was brilliantly done. My only complaint is that the end wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped. I was left, shocked and reeling with no real sense of closure. I was given an ending, but there were details left vague and obscure, that I felt a few paragraphs could have easily summed up.
I give this 4/5 stars and would recommend the book and the series to anyone who enjoys crime fiction, thrillers, suspense, mystery or police procedurals.
I received this book from Penguin as part of the First Reads program.