cover image The Owl Always Hunts at Night

The Owl Always Hunts at Night

Samuel Bjork, trans. from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund. Penguin, $16 trad

In Bjork’s he pseudonym of Norwegian novelist Frode Sander Øien) bleak and brutal sequel to 2016’s I’m Traveling Alone, a botanist exploring the woodlands around Oslofjord discovers the emaciated corpse of 17-year-old Camilla Green lying naked atop a pile of owl feathers. A pentagram of candles surrounds her, and there’s a lily in her mouth. Evidence suggests that Camilla was held captive and tortured for three months prior to her murder. Oslo homicide investigator Holger Munch knows that if he’s to catch the killer, he’ll need the help of Mia Krüger, a brilliant but broken profiler who’s been suspended from duty. Elsewhere, Munch’s daughter, Miriam, begins neglecting her child and deceiving her boyfriend in order to spend time with a charismatic animal rights activist. The tension and stakes increase exponentially over the course of this meticulously plotted tale. Some of the killer’s motivations are questionable, but the rest of Bjork’s character work is excellent and imbues the story with nuance and heft. (June)