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Book Review - The Hypnotist and The Nightmare (Joona Linna Series)

Posted on the 28 May 2013 by The Page Lady

Book Review - The Hypnotist and The Nightmare (Joona Linna Series)Book Review - The Hypnotist and The Nightmare (Joona Linna Series)
Author: Lars Kepler
Waterstones Synopsis for 'The Hypnotist': Read the number one Scandinavian crime bestseller taking the world by storm Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm. Detective Inspector Joona Linna is faced with a boy who witnessed the gruesome murder of his family. He's suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and is comatose with shock. Linna's running out of time. The killer's on the run and, seemingly, there are no clues. Desperate for information, Linna enlists disgraced specialist Dr Erik Maria Bark, a hypnotist who vowed never to practice again. As the hypnosis begins, a long and terrifying chain of events unfurls with reverberations far beyond Linna's case.
These books creep up on you. 
They're that cold shiver down your spine. They possess that  unavoidable, addictive quality that is both terrifying and deeply compelling. Lars Kepler (a pseudonym for a husband and wife writing team) have officially joined the ranks and made their mark in the world of Scandinavian crime fiction. What is particularly impressive with Kepler's writing however, is the acute focus on the psychological aspect that, when combined  with the level of graphic - but necessary - violence, creates a truly disturbing yet highly gripping narrative.  
Detective Inspector Joona Linna; precise, efficient and at times sarcastic, yet not without his flaws, is incredibly likeable. He's the grounding force, the one you root for and the ultimate detective hero. He deservedly stands amongst the likes of Kurt Wallander and Harry Hole, whilst still oozing enough originality to remain a separate entity, as a result of Kepler's strikingly subtle, yet effective, character development. And whilst there are a vast number of other characters in play,  (mainly Joona Linna's colourful group of colleagues) there is always a perfect balance of both plot spectacle and character interaction - neither outshines the other.  
Perhaps, however, what is most entertaining about these novels is there unflinching level of believability. 'The Hypnotist' draws upon the realistic notion of the fragile human mind, whilst 'The Nightmare' acts as a portrait for the often dark negotiations within a radically progressive, social and political world. The latter thankfully avoids the doomed fate that many sequels seem to face, and instead shows that Kepler is a consistent, diverse and powerful force to be reckoned with. To put it simply, there is something inherently disturbing happening within these narratives, and it becomes clear that we, as readers, easily surrender to Kepler's masterful manipulation, whether we want to or not. It is this, along with many other factors, that makes a truly great writer; that sense that we are being pulled in, directed and guided in ways that make the story both horrifyingly authentic and deliriously enthralling. You simply cannot rest until the final page has turned, and even then the book stays with you, resting quietly within the deep recesses of your mind.

This is the brilliance of the Joona Linna series. The novels are first and foremost, an experience - an experience to be cherished and remembered. Move over Henning Mankell, Lars Kepler is in town.     
Book Review - The Hypnotist and The Nightmare (Joona Linna Series)

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