The Hypnotist

The Hypnotist

3.6 276
by Lars Kepler
     
 

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Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell

 

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes.

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Overview

Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell

 

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

 

It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

 

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The brutal slaying of gambling addict Anders Ek, his wife, and his younger daughter propels this outstanding thriller debut from the pseudonymous Kepler (a Swedish literary couple), introducing Stockholm detective Joona Linna. Only Ek's 15-year-old son, Josef, left for dead at his parents' house, survives. Realizing that the vicious killer is likely to also target an older daughter no longer living at home, Linna asks Erik Maria Bark, a trauma physician who practiced hypnosis before being banned from using the technique 10 years earlier, to hypnotize the seriously injured Josef in the hospital. When Josef later escapes from the hospital and Bark's teenage son, Benjamin, is kidnapped, the ensuing frantic search raises the ante. Flashbacks to Bark's hypnosis therapy group reveal that one patient became suicidal in the course of revisiting her past. A well-integrated subplot involving a gang of terrifying boys and girls adds to the suspense. Readers will look forward to seeing more of Linna in what one hopes will be a long series. (July)
From the Publisher
“The summer’s likeliest new Nordic hit.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“One convincing psychotic is about as much as most thriller writers can handle, but Kepler delivers them by the roomful. It makes you wonder where the Swedes have been keeping him/them all this time. I imagine a cabal of nefarious Stockholm publishers loading bulk orders of Larsson onto cargo planes bound for the U.S. while they rub their hands together over a copy of The Hypnotist stamped Not for Export. It’s that good. It’s the hard stuff.” —Lev Grossman, Time

“A worthy addition to the ever-expanding ranks of Scandinavian crime fiction. Expect caffeinated beverages, inclement weather, and severed limbs.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Maximum intensity, both psychological and physical, is packed into [this] story.” —New York

“A gripping series of twists and turns . . . a natural successor to the Stieg Larsson series.” —Parade

“Full of surprises and more than enough twists to keep those pages turning well into the night.” —NPR.com

“A new star enters the firmament of Scandinavian thrillerdom, joining the likes of Larsson, Nesbø and Mankell.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Does the world really need another Swedish thriller? The spellbinding exploits of Detective Inspector Joona Linna and the hypnotist he hires to solve a murder make the answer clear.” —People

“Outrageously entertaining . . . Kepler makes you feel that if homicidal maniacs really were to start popping up in Stockholm, this is exactly how it would play out.” —Laura Miller, Salon.com

“If The Hypnotist doesn't find its way onto every reader's ‘Best Of’ list by the end of the year, it will only be because not everyone read it. Don't be one of the unfortunate few. But put on an extra sweater while you are reading; this one will chill you to the bone.” —Bookreporter.com

“The brutal slaying of gambling addict Anders Ek, his wife, and his younger daughter propels this outstanding thriller debut . . . A well-integrated subplot involving a gang of terrifying boys and girls adds to the suspense. Readers will look forward to seeing more of Linna in what one hopes will be a long series.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Compellingly grisly.” —Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“All the hallmarks of a classic . . . Tense, clever and multilayered . . . This is crime writing at its most devilishly involving.” —Marie Claire (UK)

“This is the thriller that’s taking Europe by storm. Written by a Swedish husband-and-wife team whose identity was originally a closely guarded secret, it might just be the next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . . . Ferocious, visceral storytelling that wraps you in a cloak of darkness that almost blots out the light, but still feeds the imagination: stunning.” —The Daily Mail (UK)

“If the post-Stieg Larsson boom was ebbing, Kepler promises to revitalize the genre by bringing a sulphurous whiff of Hannibal Lecter to this case . . . It’s a pulse-pounding debut that is already a native smash.” —Financial Times

“Now ranks second only to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy in terms of worldwide sales for a Swedish author . . . Far more energetic than Henning Mankell, as socially involved as Larsson but a better writer, Kepler matches the great Jo Nesbø for gothic excitement.” —The Australian

“Belongs on every international crime fan’s reading list.” —Booklist

“If you don’t get carried away by this book, the question is whether you like the crime thriller genre at all.” —Børsen (Denmark)

“Brilliant, well-written and very satisfying. A superb thriller.” —De Telegraaf (The Netherlands)

The Hypnotist is a rare beast: a Swedish thriller on a high international level with a smart, effective and surprising plot. The narrative has a skillful, refined, pulsating drive and the writing is sharp, convincing and multilayered.” —Kristianstadsbladet (Sweden)

The Hypnotist is—yes—impossible to put down. The Hypnotist is—yes—ingeniously put together, like a Swiss watch. The Hypnotist is—Yes!—fabulously entertaining, even gruesomely so. But it is also a serious meditation on evil, human weakness, the infinity of the mind, and the capriciousness of fate. My wife stole it from me before I was finished reading it and tore through it. Then I stole it back, to my great pleasure!” —Colin Harrison, author of The Finder

“Soon there will be Stieg Larsson crime fiction people and Lars Kepler crime fiction people. I’m henceforth in the latter camp. The Hypnotist is every bit the equal of the Millennium Trilogy—riveting narrative momentum, fascinatingly grisly forensics, existential Nordic dread. But there’s more: superior prose, no cartoony characters, and beneath all the noir, plenty of old-fashioned heart.” —Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday

Library Journal
In the Stockholm suburb of Tumba, a family has been found brutally butchered. The only survivor, a 15-year-old boy who suffered more than 100 knife wounds, is in a state of shock. Desperate to identify the killer before there is another murder, homicide detective Joona Linna asks Erik Maria Bark, a doctor specializing in trauma, to hypnotize the victim. Having a decade ago given up the practice of hypnosis, Bark complies reluctantly, unwittingly setting off a chain of violent events that climax at a lakeside cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Already a best seller in Europe and scheduled to be filmed by director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules), this smart, unpredictable thriller by a pseudonymous Swedish literary couple features an intriguing premise, plenty of cinematic action and twists, and an appropriately chilly and gothic Nordic atmosphere. VERDICT While Kepler's protagonists lack Lisbeth Salander's charisma and the loose ends are too neatly tied up, the high-octane plot will capture readers bored by Stieg Larsson's sometimes glacial social and political asides. Be aware that some readers may confuse this with M.J. Rose's reincarnation thriller of the same title. [Library marketing; see Prepub Alert, 1/10/11.]—Wilda Williams, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews

A new star enters the firmament of Scandinavian thrillerdom, joining the likes of Larsson, Nesbø and Mankell.

Kepler, a pseudonym for what the publisher describes as "a literary couple who live in Sweden," continues in the Stygian—or, better, Stiegian—tradition of unveiling the dark rivers that swirl under the seemingly placid and pacific Nordic exterior. Scarcely has the novel opened when we find a scene of extreme mayhem: A schoolteacher and his librarian wife, pillars of their small Stockholm-area community, have been savagely butchered, and their young daughter, too, with a teenage son sliced to ribbons and left for dead. Enter Erik Maria Bark, a therapist and hypnotist called onto the scene by the supervising physician and a world-weary (naturally) police investigator, Joona Linna, who theorizes that the killer had waited for the father, a soccer referee in his off hours, hacked him into pieces, then headed to his house to dispatch the rest of the family, suggesting at least some acquaintance. "It happened in that order?" asks Bark, ever methodical, to which Linna responds, "In my opinion."Both men are guarded, for both have been wounded in the past, and both are fighting battles of their own in the present. Their psychic conflicts are nothing compared to those that rage through the scissors- and knife-wielding types they encounter in trying to get to the bottom of the crime, which takes them across miles and years. Kepler handles a complex plot assuredly, though the momentary switch from third- to first-person narration in midstream, as well as the shifts forward and backward in time, may induce whiplash. (They're for a good reason.) Linna and Bark make a great crime-solving pair precisely because they puzzle each other so thoroughly—says Bark, for instance, "The patient always speaks the truth under hypnosis. But it's only a matter of what he himself perceives as the truth." To which Linna responds, "What is it you're trying to say?" Indeed.

What Bark is trying to say is that there are monsters hiding everywhere beneath the reasonable and rational, and Kepler's book makes for a satisfying and scary testimonial.

Patrick Anderson
The Swedish novel The Hypnotist…arrives on these shores as the latest contender in the "next Stieg Larsson" sweepstakes. I doubt that it will sell as outrageously as Larsson's Millennium trilogy…but it's a worthy contender: a serious, disturbing, highly readable novel that is finally a meditation on evil.
—The Washington Post

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374173951
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
06/21/2011
Series:
Detective Inspector Joona Linna
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.58(d)

Meet the Author

Lars Kepler is a pseudonym for a literary couple who live and write in Sweden.

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