Title: The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork
Holger Munch & Mia Kruger Series Book Two
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 365 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program
The thrilling follow-up to Samuel Bjørk’s internationally bestselling I’m Traveling Alone, which The Wall Street Journal calls “tense and smartly constructed”
When a troubled teenager disappears from an orphanage and is found murdered, her body arranged on a bed of feathers, veteran investigator Holger Munch and his team are called into the case. Star investigator Mia Kruger, on temporary leave while she continues to struggle with her own demons, jumps back on the team and dives headfirst into this case: just in time to decode the clues in a disturbing video of the victim before she was killed, being held prisoner like an animal in a cage.
Meanwhile, Munch’s daughter, Miriam, meets an enticing stranger at a party—a passionate animal rights activist who begins to draw her into his world and away from her family.
Munch, Kruger, and the team must hunt down the killer before he can strike again in this sophisticated, intricately plotted psychological thriller by the newest phenomenon in international crime fiction.
The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork is a dark yet utterly enthralling police procedural set in Norway. Althought this latest release is the second installment in the Holger Munch & Mia Kruger series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
Investigator Holger Munch and his team are called to the scene of a seemingly ritualistic murder of teenager Camilla Green. Uncertain exactly what they are dealing with, Munch is certain he needs the help of Mia Kruger, a brilliant investigator who is currently on leave for psychological issues. Although Kruger has yet to make peace with the tragic death of her twin sister, Sigrid, she is quick to assure Munch she is ready to return to work. As many of the team members (including Munch and Kruger) struggle with turmoil in their personal lives, the investigation slowly progresses as they uncover puzzling information and a viable pool of suspects. With a predator on the hunt for the next victim, will Mia and Holger unmask the killer before he or she strikes again?
In his mid-fifties, overweight and a heavy smoker, Holger’s dedication to his career resulted in the demise of marriage ten years earlier. His relationship with his daughter, Mariam, is a work in progress as he tries to make up for always putting his job ahead of his family. Despite his determination to be there for her and his granddaughter, Marion, Holger is working long hours trying to solve Camilla’s murder.
Mia is going through the motions of therapy in order to return to work but she is not fully invested in actually working through her issues. She relies heavily on alcohol and drugs to cope with day to day life but she is still able to function well enough to contribute to the investigation. While Mia does experience some very keen flashes of insight, she is also somewhat distracted by memories of Sigrid and the loss of the rest of her family. Will this lack of concentration interfere with her ability to zero in on a motive and a suspect for Camilla’s murder?
Several of the other members of the investigative team are also somewhat distracted as they try to catch Camilla’s killer. Kim Kolso is contemplating significant changes in his personal life that will also have impact his career. Jon Larsen aka Curry is undergoing tremendous upheaval in his relationship and he is drinking heavily as he tries to cope with his girlfriend’s reaction to his latest misstep. Cyber expert Gabriel receives a shocking bit of evidence from someone from his distant past, but can his source be trusted?
Living with her doctor boyfriend Johannes and staying home to care for their six year daughter Marion, Miriam’s relationship with her father is much improved. Feeling a little restless and yearning for her old life, she reconnects with her old friend, Julie, who introduces her to animal activist Ziggy. Although Miriam realizes she has a lot to lose, she cannot resist spending time with the charismatic young man.
The investigation into Camille’s bizarre death yields very puzzling and disparate clues. Camille has a troubled past and she disappeared from a children’s home run by Helene Eriksen. Helene is co-operative but both Holger and Kruger feel like she is hiding something from them. After news of Camilla’s death goes public, local man Jim Fuglesang confesses to the murder and while Mia does not think he is the killer, she cannot discount the disquieting pictures in his possession. And what, if anything, does the discovery of a macabre film of the victim have to do with her subsequent murder?
The Owl Always Hunts at Night is an extremely atmospheric police procedural. With a few well-paced red herrings and some pivotal misdirects, Samuel Bjork brilliantly keeps the killer’s identity and motive for the murder carefully obscured. The investigators’ distractions and Miriam’s questionable choices ratchet up the tension and will keep readers guessing whodunit and why right up to the novel’s stunning conclusion. This newest addition to the Holger Munch & Mia Kruger series is absolutely outstanding and I highly recommend this spellbinding mystery to fans of the genre.