Broken Summer

Amazon Crossing. Sept. 2022. 256p. tr. from Korean by An Seon Jae. ISBN 9781662505287. $24.95. SUSPENSE
Award-winning Korean author of suspense and thriller novels Lee (The Boy Who Escaped Paradise; The Investigation) writes his latest in multiple voices. Lee Hanjo enjoys his quiet, successful life as one of Korea’s most sought-after painters. Now living in a large home that he coveted growing up, Hanjo and his wife Soojin live a life structured around his painting. The morning after his 43rd birthday, Hanjo wakes to discover his adoring and devoted wife has disappeared. It is clear that she was not abducted—she has left, seemingly without reason. Hanjo looks for clues to her disappearance and begins to questions whether he has ever really understood his wife. When he reads Soojin’s soon-to-be-published novel, he suddenly gains more clarity into his wife’s life and outlook and begins to dread what she will unleash on his carefully crafted reputation. Soojin’s book dredges up events from the murder of a wealthy, lovely young girl 26 years ago and forces Hanjo to question not only what happened but his own culpability in the murder.
VERDICT This is an engrossing and beautifully written mystery, with complex characters that Lee delicately strips bare.
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