The Only Child / Something Bookish Reviews

The Only Child just fucked my whole life up! Never in my history of reading thrillers have I ever been invested in the development and safety of every character including the villain. One World Publications sent this book to me in exchange for a review but I feel like I need to send them a fruit basket for fucking my mind up with this book.

Category: Psychological Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Point Bank
Published: February 2020
Pages: 304, Paperback

Criminal psychologist Seonkyeong has two new people in her life. A serial killer whose gruesome murders shook the world but who has steadfastly remained silent. Until now. A young, innocent-looking stepdaughter from her husband’s previous marriage, who unexpectedly turns up at the door after the sudden death of her grandparents. Both are unsettling. Both are deeply troubled. And both seem to want something from her. Can she work out just who is the victim in all of this? Before it’s too late.

Should You Bother Reading “The Only Child”

First of all, you should ask yourself what you’re looking for when you pick up a psychological thriller. For me, it should focus on story, character development, choice, and moral conflict. Fear and anxiety can drive the psychological tension in unpredictable ways. So there’s that.

Psychological thrillers are suspenseful by exploiting uncertainty over characters’ motives, honesty, and how they see the world. Also, any decent psychological thriller will leave you with plenty unanswered questions about the very fucked up human psyche.

The Only Child / Something Bookish Reviews

And on the note, what truly fucks up the human psyche? Is a killer born or made? In The Only Child, Mi-Ae Seo takes us through the process of psychological contamination in which the innocence of a child is corrupted by the selfishness and ignorance of adults.

It’s divided into four parts. The chapters are very immersive, in that it switches between the serial killer’s backstory and thoughts and the main story which follows our criminal psychologist.

I won’t say anything about the plot because any summary I give will be a spoiler so I’m going to focus on the author’s style. The narrator’s voice is very in control, sometimes calm, sometimes sad. She describes the serial killer’s mother and her step-daughter’s birth parents as unqualified to raise a rational child.

Have they created social monsters out of their children? Or were they born that way? This novel is written with such poise and restraint that I was left all the more speechless in the end.

My reaction when I finished reading The Only Child

So, should you read this novel? Hell Yes!

About The Author


Mi-ae Seo is a bestselling thriller writer and screenwriter in Korea.

The Only Child by Mi-Ae Seo / Something Bookish Reviews

Seriously, this is the only information I could find about the author. But when you write a book like this, you really don’t need to say much about yourself, you know? What a fucking boss!

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