Book Review

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler

Rating: 4 / 5

Lars Kepler is an author I have heard great things about on bookstagram, so THE HYPNOTIST was definitely a #bookstagrammademedoit purchase. I decided to go back to the first book in the Joona Linna series. It was the perfect pick for a recent #ReadTheWorld21 prompt, being set in Sweden.

THE HYPNOTIST begins with a horrible triple homicide which leaves three family members dead and only one witness behind, a young boy who was grievously injured himself with a horrifying number of knife wounds. Detective Inspector Joona Linna is on the case and he brings in the help of Dr. Bark, hoping that hypnotism will help to unlock the secrets buried in the young boy’s mind.

Dr. Bark has had a traumatic past in his hypnotism work and has sworn off continuing the practice. After some ethical debate on the merits of finding a killer vs. potentially causing more harm to the killer, Dr. Bark does agree to help.

As a genre, nordic noir can be a bit hit or miss for me, but I really enjoyed this one! It is very dark, very gruesome and there are a lot of trigger warnings going into it, but I was really hooked on the case and on the characters with their back stories.

It isn’t a short read, coming in at about 500 pages which surprised me. The author goes into quite a bit of detail on the characters and their stories, both as it relates to the present case, their past experiences and their present family lives. There are a lot of red herrings thrown in which find their way in and out of the story to keep the reader guessing along the way.

I listed to the audio for this book which I thought was well done. I was happy to have the narrator to familiarize myself with the names since I don’t read a lot of Swedish works. I am very glad that #bookstagram made me pick this one up and I look forward to picking up the next in the series!

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