Tuesday, September 27, 2011

{read: Swedish crime thriller} The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Although he (she?) is billed as the next great Swedish author, Lars Kepler (the pen name of a couple) lived up to the hype. Think Stieg Larsson minus the social commentary and history, but keep the unexpected plot turns, suspense, and believable characters, and you have Lars Kepler.

The story starts out with a gruesome massacre, and hypnotist Erik Maria Bark is called upon to hypnotize the gravely wounded son, the only witness, so that the police can try to identify and catch the killer before he find's the family's other remaining living member, the boy's sister. But what Erik finds out surprises Detective Joona Linna, who has a track record of always solving his crimes. As they begin to act upon what they learned, they discover there are unforeseen consequences of Erik's action. Ten years ago, he promised that he would never hypnotize anyone again after an incident involving one of his patients. In addition to this, he's also dealing with his own problems, including a prescription drug addiction and a marriage that's falling apart. Just like in real life, everything seems to fall apart at once for Erik.

The many layers of this complex story kept me turning the pages. Just as one plot thread seems to get resolved, another one develops and moves into the forefront. What you discover in the end isn't what you were looking for in the beginning. I'm looking forward to the next translations of Kepler's work.

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011)
My rating: 4 stars

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