you like Scandinavian mysteries and thrillers then I'm sure you've heard
of the author Lars Kepler (really the pen name for a Swedish couple). I
had too, but I was slow to start this series starring police inspector
However, I gave a copy of the first Linna book, The Hypnotist, to my father and both he and my niece made a point of telling me that they liked it. So on that double recommendation, I decided to give the audiobook a try.
In short, Kepler had me on the edge of my seat. I was even talking to the characters: "No, don't go down in the basement!" "Watch out!" I mean it, I was totally invested.
- The plot. When Joona Linna takes on a case involving a teenage boy, Josef, who barely survived when his family was murdered by a knife-wielding intruder, he calls on Erik Maria Bark, a psychologist who once used hypnosis as therapy for traumatized patients. For reasons we learn only later, Erik has vowed to never hypnotize anyone ever again. Joona, however, talks Erik into helping Josef remember what happened to his family, hoping that the boy will reveal the killer once he's under hypnosis. That one act sets off a whirlwind of events that profoundly affect Erik and his family. There seems to be no way out of the disastrous situation.
- The good and the bad. The Hypnotist was a slow start for me. There are several things going on that concern both Joona and Erik together and separately and it took me a while to get a handle on the characters and their personalities. But once the action started (a couple of hours into the audiobook) I was suddenly sucked right into the story and couldn't leave. Some of the action is startling, some scary, and some disturbing (in a good thriller kind of way). I don't want to tell you exactly what happens because I don't want to take away from the shock value, but if you stick with this story through the setup, you will be amply rewarded. My only other complaint was that one of the plot lines seems to have been dropped, but I got over that.
- The cover. Once you've read the book, you will find the cover to be really, really creepy!
- The audiobook. The unabridged audiobook edition (Blackstone Audio, 17 hr, 28 min) was read by Mark Bramhall, who did a good job, although I was bothered by some odd pronunciations of a couple of English words. On the other hand, he distinguished the characters enough so I could tell them apart and excelled at adding to the thriller/tension part of the story. I won't hesitate to listen to the next book in the series, also read by Bramhall.
- Recommendation. Despite a slow start, I became fully invested in the story and recommend Lars Kepler's The Hypnotist to anyone who likes psychological thrillers, Scandinavian mysteries, and semi-scary escape reading.
Source: Bought (audio) & review (print) (see review policy)
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