Book Review: The Owl Always Hunts at Night

THE OWL ALWAYS HUNTS AT NIGHT by Samuel Bjork
Penguin Books | 06.06.2017
Rating: 4/5 stars

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The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a Nordic Noir story following the main characters of Holger Munch and Mia Kruger. Munch and Mia are detectives and their latest case is one for the books!

A local botanist comes across a body of a teenager who appears to have been part of a ritualistic killing. The body is laying on a bed of owl feathers and inside a pentagram of candles. In addition to their murder case, Munch and Mia are both battling personal dramas. Munch has come to the realization that his ex-wife is about to officially move on and remarry. Mia has recently been suspended and mentally is not in a good place, as she mourns the death of her sister, Sigrid and contemplates ending her life. Munch is able to get Mia back on his team to solve this investigation, as he knows her passion will drive her to stop at nothing to catch the killer.

Flashbacks of the past for main characters and those we are yet to meet intermingle with the present case throughout the novel. In addition to these story lines, we are also involved in following along with Munch’s daughter, Miriam Munch. Recently Miriam has met a man named Ziggy and has joined in with a group of animal rights activists, which is a world she was heavily involved in before becoming a mother.

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The relationship between Holger Munch and Mia Kruger is the heart of this novel and drives the reader to care for the future of both individuals. The novel struggles to maintain the momentum of solving the crime the story is centered around. Immediately you are engaged in solving the case, but somewhere throughout the middle of the story you get lost in the muck of backstories. It is not until the end that the suspense begins to build up again as they desperately try to catch the killer before he takes the life of another victim.

Some elements of the story were a bit overdone for me and not necessary to keep my interest. I also wasn’t entire sold on how all of the characters ended up being connected. I had the misfortune of entering into this series on book two, so I do feel that my review may be a bit biased given this information. As a standalone, which the novel is clearly not intended to be, I was sadly unable to know the complete history of Munch and Mia, something I think would have enabled me to connect even deeper with the characters.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this novel and am planning on picking up the first in the series, I’m Traveling Alone.

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Thank you to Penguin books, who I received early access to this galley from through their First to Read program.

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