Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

In Lars Kepler's The Hypnotist, there’s a psycho on the loose, responsible for the violent and gory deaths of a family in Sweden. Detective Joona (Yo-nah) Linna must speak to the one victim that didn’t die, a boy who lies in a coma with more than a hundred stab wounds all over his body. The only way to speak to him safely, without causing more trauma—hypnosis.

Erik Maria Bark is the eponymous hypnotist. Ten years ago, he was an international expert in the use of hypnosis to treat survivors of trauma and abuse, until a tragedy forced him to promise never to hypnotize another person again. However, under the pressure of a life-or-death situation, he breaks his word, inviting a terrible revenge.

What an odd story! I’m listening to the audio version from Library2Go, and have been making up chores to do to give me more time to walk around with headphones on, because it’s completely engrossing. However, there are so many places where my suspended disbelief just falls and shatters, where someone acts terribly out of character or the police behave with such stupidity that I’m propelled out of the storyline and into sarcastic critiquing mode. And places where you expect the author to turn a cliché around, but instead he plays right into it! You’d think it would be awful, but somehow it works: it's suspenseful, twisty, and sometimes downright frightening.

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym for a Swedish husband and wife team, who have continued to write Joona Linna novels. The Nightmare is number two, The Fire Witness, to be published in July, is three, and The Sandman, whose publication date I have not been able to find, will be number four.

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