An unbelievable foray into the mind of a serial killer

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The Only Child by Mi-Ae Seo

Book Review:  3 out of 5 star rating

Yi Byeongdo is a serial killer sitting on death row.  He hasn’t said much to anyone about the murders he’s committed and the police are anxious to learn just how many murders there were.  Unexpectedly, Yi Byeongdo has asked to be interviewed by a criminal psychologist by the name of Seonkyeong.  Seonkyeong has no idea why Yi Byeongdo has singled her out as she does not know him.

Seonkyeong has just been surprised by her husband with the arrival of his eleven-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Hayeong.  There has been a fire and Hayeong’s grandparents with whom she was living have died.  Seonkyeong is anxious to help Hayeong feel at home but soon starts to feel out of her depth.  Seonkyeong starts to see quite a few similarities in the histories of both Yi Byeongdo and Hayeong.

I must say that I was disappointed with this one.  I have enjoyed the writing of other Korean authors and apparently Mi-ae Seo is a bestselling thriller author and screenwriter in Korea.  I just could not get into this story and found it to be written in quite a lackluster way.  There were moments when I thought, OK, here we go, but then nothing much happened.  For being a criminal psychologist, Seonkyeong’s thinking and decisions were disconcerting.  She should have known better in so many instances and that leant the book a feeling of unreality.  There were quite a few unbelievable incidents in the book.  While the author did a good job of weaving the separate storylines together, all I could think at the ending of the book was “You have to be kidding”.

Hopefully this book will find an audience that will love it but it’s not one that I can honestly recommend, even though it did have its moments.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

Not quite what I expected

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The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

Book Review:  3 out of 5 star rating

Dr. Lily Dominick is a forensic psychologist in New York. She’s assigned a very unique patient.  This patient with no name not only claims that he’s 200 years old but that he inspired the literary monsters in  “Frankenstein”, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” and “Dracula”.  He also claims that he’s Lily’s father.  Lily’s mother had been murdered when Lily was a young child and she has always longed to know more about her mother and exactly what happened to her.  So Lily decides to find out just what this patient knows about her past despite the apparent dangers that such an association would bring.

I have always felt that Frankenstein’s monster is one of the most heart breaking literary characters ever created. He was so close to being a part of mankind but would always be doomed to be on the outside, alone and unloved.  When I requested “The Only Child”, I had just finished binge watching the last season of “Penny Dreadful” and was still caught up in all of the emotional and suspenseful aspects of that excellent production.  So I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this latest re-imagination of a similar monster.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, although I do have quite a few of his titles on my TBR list. The author has such a good reputation that I expected a more complex tale.  I expected to feel great sympathy for the monster who was trying to connect with his daughter.  The book starts off well and I was pulled right in.  But the monster didn’t tug my heart strings at all.  Lily’s character was also disappointing and seemed to jump from one feeling to another too quickly.  One minute she’s fearing a man who was hunting the monster and the next she was in love with him.  What held such promise at the beginning of the book basically devolved into a cat and mouse chase.  The ending was not at all surprising to me.

The book wasn’t a complete disappointment as there were parts that I enjoyed. I just feel like there was so much promise that never materialized.  I loved the basic premise of the book and I would like to try another one of the author’s novels.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.