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The Good Son

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,461 ratings  ·  1,188 reviews
'The Talented Mr. Ripley meets The Bad Seed in this breathless, chilling psychological thriller by the bestselling novelist known as "Korea's Stephen King" Who can you trust if you can't trust yourself?

Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything's all right at home - he missed
Paperback, 309 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Penguin Books (first published May 14th 2016)
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Nicolas I'm currently reading this. Yes it is based in South Korea, in a newly-built city called Gundo, in the vicinity of Seoul. …moreI'm currently reading this. Yes it is based in South Korea, in a newly-built city called Gundo, in the vicinity of Seoul. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,461 ratings  ·  1,188 reviews

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Andrew Smith
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books where I really don't want to give too much away. It's a claustrophobic, tense and surprising tale of a few days in the life of a twenty-six-year-old male student. Yu-jin, awakes one day, in his home, afraid that he’s had a seizure. He's clearly had these before and feels that this might account for his feelings of disorientation. What happened the night before? He can't recall. He's soon to discover the surprising truth. But not everything is quite as it seems, as we a ...more
j e w e l s
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
Not only do I love stories of psychopathic children but I absolutely adore Asian mysteries and crime fiction and was very excited to read The Good Son.

The story begins with 26 year old Yu-Jin waking up to the metallic smell of blood. As he begins to get his bearings straight he realizes he's covered in blood and his sheets are soaked with it. He's confused. He is epileptic and the medication causes him to have black outs. He sets out to discover the source of the blood. As he makes his way thro
Whispering Stories
Book Reviewed by Cara on

Yu-Jin has a doting mother and a brother who loves him. Other than a few health issues he believes he has led a relatively normal life, until one morning when he wakes up covered in blood and finds a dead body downstairs, his mother’s. Determined to find out who did this, how and why, Yu-Jin begins an investigation of his own which leads to some very unexpected results.

The good son is a book that will keep you hooked throughout with many twists a
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
In You-Jeong Jeong’s international bestseller the reader is faced with a protagonist whose struggles subsume the narrative, taking away from the story at hand, in my humble opinion. When Yu-jin wakes one morning in a stupor, he asks himself what’s happened. Could he have had an epileptic seizure, which would surely account for the metallic blood smell that fills his nostrils? Or, might there have been something more? When he discovers that he is covered in blood, Yu-jin begins to wonder if he ha ...more
Liz Barnsley
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Son is a novel that rewards it’s readers – a slow burner of a tale, creepy as you like, based around one single character – Yu-jin – who wakes up one morning and finds himself covered in blood and his Mother dead downstairs…but did he kill her? Well that is the question….

Yu-jin has his problems. Epileptic, frequently off his meds, suffering from fugue states, he explores his memory, his past and his present trying to discover his truth. His story gets ever darker and more chilling…the f
Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City
Who can you trust if you can't trust yourself?
You-jeong Jeong’s “The Good Son” is my first crime novel, novel by a Korean author, and translated Korean novel in couple of years. Wow, this book disappoint! Slow burning, but unputdownable & spellbinding thrilling page-turner, compulsively readable, addictive psychological crime mystery thriller, and a chilling portrait of a psychopath novel by South Korea’s preeminent author of psychological thrillers, it will draw you in from the very first pag
Crime by the Book
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Find my full review here:

Loved, LOVED this harrowing & gripping read. The author takes readers inside the mind of a psychopath with genuinely chilling style. There’s a decent amount of violence in this book, but the scariest part of all is how the author brings you inside the mind of the the story’s culprit. Strong exploration of family dynamics, too. Highly recommended!
Ova - Excuse My Reading
This was a brilliant and unique read. Be warned, it was slow burning, in the first 20% of the book the setting haven't changed- Yu-jin finds his mother dead downstairs, and doesn't remember anything, keeps moving in the house. I started to think I may not like this book, but I was wrong. It doesn't take long after that for the story take sinister turns and morph into a shocking explanation of everything.
I really liked the style of writing. The ending is not a shocker, if you are looking to have
I've been watching a lot of Korean movies lately. Oldboy, Memories of Murder, Chaser, Train to Busan etc, and obviously I'd to see if there are any books of these genres translated into English. After a simple google search, I could only come up with two-three thriller books, with this one being recently released. I'm fascinated by the amount of transgression accepted in their major forms of art, like Japanese, unlike Indian. Talking about this book, in particular, almost half of the book reads ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Yu-jin wakes up, the evening before a muddled blur perhaps due to his refusal to take his anti-seizure medication, and he's covered in blood. It doesn't take long as he retraces the bloody path leading from his room to discover his mother dead, her throat slit with the very razor he now holds. We follow along as Yu-jin tries to piece together what happened. It seems hard to imagine any plausible scenario where Yu-jin isn't in fact the murderer so I'm excited to see how Jeong You-jeong plans on r ...more


This was one seriously twisted read and I loved every fucked-up moment of it.
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5. I listened to the audio & was riveted- I'm not sure the written book would've provided as much abject tension. I do think it's as much a character study as a thriller.. There is a mystery but no confusing pov's or jumping time frames, no huge twists to figure out.. Just straight up storytelling. Really good pacing too, it never dragged. My recommendation is to not look too much into it.. Just dig in & follow along as this unique story's unveiled. ...more
Paul Fulcher
"I was the investigator interrogating the criminal. But the two were one and the same, the criminal had a slippery relationship with the truth, and his memory was spotty."

"It would take something special to make Yu-jin’s pulse quicken. I’m afraid because I don’t know what that might be."

정유정 (Jeong You-jeong) is described by her UK publisher as "South Korea’s leading writer of psychological crime and thriller fiction. She is often compared to Stephen King." I suspect most readers will be pulled i
Jessica Woodbury
While THE GOOD SON has the trappings of a right-this-moment thriller, this is a surprisingly slow burn. Thriller readers used to the spare prose and constant rewards of your typical US thrillers will have to adjust to getting their reveals over the course of several pages of long flashbacks without any of the typical cues or pacing. But this isn't a bad thing! You have to work a little bit in this book rather than getting spoon-fed.

Readers also won't find as much mystery here as they'd expect. T
Ova - Excuse My Reading
This was a brilliant and unique read. Be warned, it was slow burning, in the first 20% of the book the setting haven't changed- Yu-jin finds his mother dead downstairs, and doesn't remember anything, keeps moving in the house. I started to think I may not like this book, but I was wrong. It doesn't take long after that for the story take sinister turns and morph into a shocking explanation of everything.

I really liked the style of writing. The ending is not a shocker, if you are looking to have
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Good Son is a thriller that takes the reader down a dark hole, deep in the human psyche. I did find some of the the analysis of every detail of the past 24-hours a bit repetitive, and parts of the plot were predictable. But I would still recommend this one for the original and intense storytelling that you will make you squirm, yet still keep you reading and reading.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Books, and You-Jeong Jeong for the advance copy for review.

Full review can be found here: https
Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
I had read so many glowing reviews of this book so I was looking forward to reading it. I really struggled to get into it, the story was great but I think the constant jumping around in time was just too much for me. Just not for me I am afraid.

It is a gruesome story of Yi Jin who wakes to find himself covered in blood and his mother dead. He has no recollection of what has happened. Then he starts to hear of young women in his area being murdered and going missing so he tries to figure out what
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
In the The Good Son we see the actions, details, thoughts and emotions from inside the head of a psychopath. The development of the story is layered and creepy, yet the revelations build slowly and subtlety. I can see why it’s popular in Korea. I recommend this book for a slightly different take on the traditional psychological thriller.
Beth (bibliobeth)
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
First of all, thank you so much to Grace Vincent and Little, Brown publishers for providing me with a digital copy of this astounding novel from "the Korean Stephen King," in exchange for an honest review. When Grace first emailed me and I read the comparison to King above, well of course I had to have it! As a die-hard Constant Reader (King fan) anything that is compared to my all-time favourite author, I have to check out. Now, I normally hate comparisons to other books or authors but this one ...more
I really enjoyed this. I felt that certain aspects of the plot bordered on stereotyping but this was skillfully and engagingly written.
This is a South Korean thriller translated into English.
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! Loved being inside Yu-jin's mind during this tense and fast paced thriller. I can't say much but it was totally captivating. I hope to find more of You-Jeong Jeong's books translated to English. ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This slow-burning novel has the most intriguing opening, and what follows is a compelling tale of self-exploration. Through the situation Yu-jin finds himself in, he takes the reader on a journey as he tries to piece together the events in his life that led to this moment, the moment he wakes covered in blood, and equally important, how to survive this moment. The Good Son is dubbed as a thriller, but the thrills aren’t found in the pacing, as this one is of a slower pace, the thrills come in th ...more
Rachel Bea
An absolute thriller. I could barely put it down. Practically every page revealed another layer, but also more questions too. If you like dark literature, unreliable narrators, and/or screwed up families then this is for you. Disturbing read.
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it

This was a really fun, fast thriller! I definitely seem to prefer foreign thrillers to American domestic thrillers as they always feel less gimmicky and feel much more unique and new. This one was really fascinating especially with the pov we read from!
Stephanie Jane
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I recently spotted Ova's The Good Son review on her blog Excuse My Reading which encouraged me to get to reading my ARC of this book sooner rather than later. It's narrated in the first person by Yu-jin who is a brilliantly unreliable narrator. A chilling character, he fascinated me (much like watching a snake) and loved the uncertainty of never knowing whether what I was discovering was The truth, his truth or whether he was spinning me a ta
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery & Horror Fans
“I suddenly realized what I was attracted to. I was attracted to someone feeling fear.”

but I enjoyed this merry walk through psychopath lane. You have to appreciate a book that starts drenched in blood.

With a slow befuddled beginning, I cranked the audio accompaniment to 2x and the story went faster, and faster, and faster!

This is less a murder mystery than a blood-soaked weekend of personal discovery.

What I loved!

Heart pounding buildup, tension, and escalating action.

What I a
The first sentence in this book is "The smell of blood woke me". And blood is a big part of this quite compelling did-he-or-didn't-he-do-it novel.
Yu-jin is a 26 year old student, he has taken medicine for years to help with what he has been told is epilepsy. He has taken himself off his meds and is not worried about a possible seizure. When he wakes to a blood filled house he has to piece together the last 24 hours.
This book takes you inside the head of a psychopathic killer and it's a very scar
Britta Böhler
Unfortunately, this one was not for me. I was quite bored...
E. H. Nathasia
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just finished The Good Son!

Here's my review:

I've always liked the Eastern way of describing a psychological thriller. They delivers a calm vibe of interpreting a chilling and gripping situation and makes it almost seamless and tranquil. As if a murder is liken to an everyday chore where its almost automatic and emotionless. This is another book that does that, other than books written by Natsuo Kirino and Fuminori Nakamura, the two Japanese authors that I absolutely love when it comes to simil
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See also 정유정 .

You-jeong Jeong was born in Hampyeong, South Korea. She initially trained and worked as a nurse. She is now South Korea's leading writer of psychological crime and thriller fiction and is often compared to Stephen King and Raymond Chandler.

You-jeong is the author of four novels including Seven Years of Darkness, which was named one of the top ten crime novels of 2015 by the German n

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