Wednesday 14 June 2023

Book Review: The Owl Cries by Pyun Hye-young (Thriller)

Title: The Owl Cries
Author: Pyun Hye-young
Publisher: Arcade
Publication Date: 3 October 2023
Pages: 226
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Thriller
Source: ARC via NetGalley

A brother. A disappearance. A lawyer asking questions. And a vast forest in the mountains—the western woods—where the trees huddle close together emanating a crushing darkness and a chill dampness fills the air. The ranger, Insu Park, who lives nearby with his family, is a recovering alcoholic. He claims no knowledge of the man who disappeared, even though the missing man had worked as the ranger just before him. In the little village down the mountain, the shopkeepers will do the same and deny they ever saw or knew the man, though they’re less convincing; and his former supervisor at the forestry institute, Professor Jin, dismisses his importance. But when an accident and a death derail the investigation and someone attempts to break into his office, Insu Park finds himself conducting his own inquiry into the goings-on deep in the heart of the western woods—spurred by the mysterious words he discovers on a dusty piece of paper beneath his “The owl lives in the forest.”


The Owl Cries was a book that really defied genre description. I considered it one genre at first but then changed my mind several times as the story progressed, and even now I am not sure how to classify it, though I have gone with "thriller". The story initially intrigued me, but my attention wavered a little towards the end. I guess I found the ending a bit less climatic than I'd expected from the slow build up. But it was certainly an atmospheric read and the forest itself really came to life as a character in its own right. Overall, I am glad I read this book and I would pick up more works by this author in the future even if this one was a middle-of-the-road read for me overall. If you like genre-bending works with a mysterious vibe, The Owl Cries by Pyun Hye-young is worth checking out. I am giving it 3.5 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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