BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong, translated by Chi-Young Kim [in Booklist]

The opening sentence – “The smell of blood woke me” – gives way to a young man discovering his mother’s freshly murdered corpse. He’s gone off his epilepsy medications again, and has trouble remembering, but he’s determined to figure out what happened.

Initially, the whodunit and howdunit seem obvious. What’s left to solve is the whydunit. Slyly, the manipulations multiply as details of that horrific night are meted out, interspersed with what happened before – the tragic loss 16 years earlier of the father and older brother, a mother’s failed suicide attempt, a psychiatrist aunt with a shocking diagnosis of a six-year-old, the adoption of a lookalike brother – and what happens after – the inevitable growing body count.

The novel is already an international bestseller, and award-winning translator Chi-Young Kim ensures that You-Jeong Jeong is introduced to Anglophone readers with chilling precision, even as the protagonist proves to be a supremely unreliable narrator: “After all, being true to life isn’t the only way to tell a story.”

Lauded as South Korea’s leading psychological crime-fiction writer, Jeong performs intricate plotting here in a tale that should both enthrall and repulse stateside thriller seekers, encouraging future Western welcomes for her other murderous bestselling titles.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist Online, June 26, 2018

Readers: Adult

Published: 2016 (Korea), 2018 (United States)


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