11 September 2011

Review: THE HYPNOTIST, Lars Kepler

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 875 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
    Translated from Swedish by Ann Long
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007359101
  • Publisher: Blue Door (May 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004VM6494
  • Source: I bought it
Publisher's Blurb (Amazon)

You need clues. You need time. You need a motive. You won’t have any of them.
Tumba, Sweden. A triple murder, all the same family. The killer is at large, and it looks as if the elder sister escaped the carnage. But she is missing and it seems only a matter of time until she too is murdered. Detective Inspector Joona Linna demands to investigate the grisly aftermath – against the wishes of the national police.Where can Linna begin? The only surviving witness is the boy, Josef, whose mother, father and little sister were killed before his eyes, and he’s in shutdown, comatose with shock. Obsessed and desperate, Linna turns to disgraced specialist Erik Maria Bark…

My take

By any standards THE HYPNOTIST is a long book and it poses the dilemma that always comes with long books of how much of the story outline to reveal in a review.
You are given the basics in the publisher's blurb (above).
The action of the book begins in the early hours of December 8 and rounds off on December 24.

Trauma specialist Erik Maria Bark is woken in the middle of the night by Detective Inspector Joona Linna who explains he needs to question a 15 year old boy, Josef Ek,  who has witnessed a double murder and who has been seriously injured himself. The boy has been transferred to the neurosurgical unit at the hospital where Bark works.The doctor in charge of the case has suggested Linna call Bark. When Bark arrives at the hospital, he finds that the doctor is being put under pressure to allow the police to question the victim. News comes through that the victim's father has been murdered, the older sister is missing, and Joona Linna suggests questioning the victim be done by hypnosis.

That's when we learn that Erik Maria Bark last hypnotised a patient ten years earlier and made a promise never to hypnotise anyone again. Of course under pressure from Linna he agrees to break his promise, and thus the ball begins to roll.

What makes THE HYPNOTIST such a long book, in part, is that the reader needs to learn what happened ten years before to exact the promise from Erik Maria Bark. The plot branches in many ways. In hypnotising Josef, Bark and Linna hear information that puts Bark's family in danger, and eventually leads to Bark's son Benjamin being kidnapped.

There. That's all I'm going to tell you. I found THE HYPNOTIST very readable but in places not entirely credible. Ignore labels that tell you this is the next Stieg Larsson. It isn't, but consumable Swedish crime fiction it is.

My rating: 4.5

Other reviews to check


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for your review of this - a fine job. I've read such different reviews of this - still haven't made up my mind whether or not to read it, but may give it a go.

Maxine Clarke said...

Although it is long, it is also very racy - it didn't seem to take me long to read. I agree there are some long digressions, though, and elements of plot that don't turn out to be relevant but have a lot of time spent on them. For me the book was too obviously commercial, though it has some good ideas in it, they don't end up going anywhere other than into a standard thriller plot.


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