Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The Hypnotist / by Lars Kepler
In a bedroom community outside of Stockholm, a couple has been discovered brutally murdered in their home. The only survivor, their teenage son, found with multiple knife wounds all over his body, is still nearly catatonic with shock. A homicide squad headed by detective Joona Linna at the helm begins an investigation with very little to go on--despite the horrific crime scene, the killer left no clues. Linna persuades Dr. Erik Maria Bark, a noted psychiatrist, to help extract information from the young victim and though the veteran trauma specialist is initially averse to employing the tactics of hypnosis, a method he used many years earlier but has now given up, Dr. Bark eventually relents and is able to get just enough from the young boy for Linna to hit on a suspect. And just in time too. It turns out that the youth has an older sister who lives away from home and may now be in danger from a very cold-blooded figure indeed, a man who is every bit as menacing as Linna had feared and who most certainly will try to kill again.
This book moves really fast, as swift as Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy and with almost as many plot-boilers. The character of Detective Linna isn't so particularly distinctive--he's as much like many another clever, daring, relentless and often rogue homicide detective--and there's no Lisbeth Salander character to endear the reader, but the story still catches on fairly quickly and its pace keeps the attachment. Lars Kepler is actually a pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of Alexander and Alexandra Coehlo Ahndori, and much like another author couple from a generation earlier, they've managed a great deal of success with their debut book and it's sequel (yet to be released stateside). At times the stories of both Dr. Bark and Detective Loona can be a bit hard to juggle. It's very back-and-forth. But seasoned Scandinavian crime fiction readers will soon get the hang of it. As with many other similar Nordic Noir thrillers, this book is not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of blood and mayhem, guts and violence on the pages and 'Kepler' spares no one, even the most innocent, from their destiny. (MYS KEPLER)