The Nightmare: A Novel

( 32 )

Overview

"Kepler provides a master class in noir."—The Boston Globe

A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago—-strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment—-but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a ...

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The Nightmare

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Overview

"Kepler provides a master class in noir."—The Boston Globe

A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago—-strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment—-but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. From the internationally bestselling author of The Hypnotist comes The Nightmare, another spellbinding tale of Nordic crime.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Action-oriented, inventive, with over-the-top plots and larger-than-life heroes and criminals…Even stronger [than The Hypnotist].”—Los Angeles Times Magazine

 

Praise for Lars Kepler

 

“Kepler’s ability to inhabit the workings of psychotic psyches is authentically shocking. Larsson is destined to have many heirs….Kepler is by far the best.”—Time

 

“Methadone for readers suffering from Stieg Larsson withdrawal…Outrageously entertaining.”—Laura Miller, Salon

 

“Kepler’s characters are admirably flawed….It’s a smooth collaboration…with frequent surprises and grace notes amid the carnage. With any luck, we’ll hear more of Lars Kepler.”—The Washington Post

 

“Gripping…Kepler will have you turning pages long after your bedtime.”—David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250024107
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Series: Detective Inspector Joona Linna
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 131,394
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Read an Excerpt

1

foreboding

 

A cold shiver runs down Penelope Fernandez’s spine. Her heart beats faster and she darts a look over her shoulder. Perhaps she feels a sense of foreboding of what’s to come as her day progresses.

In spite of the television studio’s heat, Penelope’s face feels chilled. Maybe the sensation is left over from her time in makeup when the cold powder puff was pressed to her skin and the peace-dove hair clip was taken out so they could rub in the mousse that would make her hair fall in serpentine locks.

Penelope Fernandez is the spokesperson for the Swedish Peace and Reconciliation Society. Silently, she is being ushered into the newsroom and to her spotlighted seat across from Pontus Salman, CEO of the armaments manufacturer Silencia Defense AB. The news anchor Stefanie von Sydow is narrating a report on all the layoffs resulting from the purchase of the Bofors Corporation by British BAE Systems Limited. Then she turns to Penelope.

“Penelope Fernandez, in several public debates you have been critical of the management of Swedish arms exports. In fact, you recently compared it to the French Angola-gate scandal. There, highly placed politicians and businessmen were prosecuted for bribery and weapons smuggling and given long prison sentences. But here in Sweden? We really haven’t seen this, have we?”

“Well, you can interpret this in two ways,” replies Penelope. “Either our politicians behave differently or our justice system works differently.”

“You know very well,” begins Pontus Salman, “that we have a long tradition of—”

“According to Swedish law,” Penelope says, “all manufacture and export of armaments are illegal.”

“You’re wrong, of course,” says Salman.

“Paragraphs 3 and 6 of the Military Equipment Act,” Penelope points out with precision.

“We at Silencia Defense have already gotten a positive preliminary decision.” Salman smiles.

“Otherwise this would be a case of major weapons crimes and—”

“But, we do have permission.”

“Don’t forget the rationale for armaments—”

“Just a moment, Penelope.” Stefanie von Sydow stops her and nods to Pontus Salman, who’s lifted his hand to signal that he wasn’t finished.

“All business transactions are reviewed in advance,” he explains. “Either directly by the government or by the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products, if you know what that is.”

“France has similar regulations,” says Penelope. “And yet military equipment worth eight million Swedish crowns landed in Angola despite the UN weapons embargo and in spite of a completely binding prohibition—”

“We’re not talking about France, we’re talking about Sweden.”

“I know that people want to keep their jobs, but I still would like to hear how you can explain the export of enormous amounts of ammunition to Kenya? It’s a country that—”

“You have no proof,” he says. “Nothing. Not one shred. Or do you?”

“Unfortunately, I cannot—”

“You have no concrete evidence?” asks Stefanie von Sydow.

“No, but I—”

“Then I think I’m owed an apology,” says Pontus Salman.

Penelope stares him in the eyes, her anger and frustration boiling up, but she tamps it down, stays silent. Pontus Salman smiles smugly and begins to talk about Silencia Defense’s factory in Trollhättan. Two hundred new jobs were created when they were given permission to start production, he says. He speaks slowly and in elaborate detail, deftly truncating the time left for his opponent.

As Penelope listens, she forces aside her anger by focusing on other matters. Soon, very soon, she and Björn will board his boat. They’ll make up the arrow-shaped bed in the forecabin and fill the refrigerator and tiny freezer with treats. She conjures up the frosted schnapps glasses, and the platter of marinated herring, mustard herring, soused herring, fresh potatoes, boiled eggs, and hardtack. After they anchor at a tiny island in the archipelago, they’ll set the table on the afterdeck and sit there eating in the evening sun for hours.

*   *   *

Penelope Fernandez walks out of the Swedish Television building and heads toward Valhallavägen. She wasted two hours waiting for a slot in another morning program before the producer finally told her she’d been bumped by a segment on quick tips for a summer tummy. Far away, on the fields of Gärdet, she can make out the colorful tents of Circus Maximus and the little forms of two elephants, probably very large. One raises his trunk high in the air.

Penelope is only twenty-four years old. She has curly black hair cut to her shoulders, and a tiny crucifix, a confirmation present, glitters from a silver chain around her neck. Her skin is the soft golden color of virgin olive oil or honey, as a boy in high school said during a project where the students were supposed to describe one another. Her eyes are large and serious. More than once, she’s heard herself described as looking like Sophia Loren.

Penelope pulls out her cell phone to let Björn know she’s on her way. She’ll be taking the subway from Karlaplan station.

“Penny? Is something wrong?” Björn sounds rushed.

“No, why do you ask?”

“Everything’s set. I left a message on your machine. You’re all that’s missing.”

“No need to stress, then, right?”

As Penelope takes the steep escalator down to the subway platform, her heart begins to beat uneasily. She closes her eyes. The escalator sinks downward, seeming to shrink as the air becomes cooler and cooler.

Penelope Fernandez comes from La Libertad, one of the largest provinces in El Salvador. She was born in a jail cell, her mother attended by fifteen female prisoners doing their best as midwives. There was a civil war going on, and Claudia Fernandez, a doctor and activist, had landed in the regime’s infamous prison for encouraging the indigenous population to form unions.

Penelope opens her eyes as she reaches the platform. Her claustrophobic feeling has passed. She thinks about Björn waiting for her at the motorboat club on Långholmen. She loves skinny-dipping from his boat, diving straight into the water, seeing nothing but sea and sky.

She steps onto the subway, which rumbles on, gently swaying, until it breaks out into the open as it reaches the station at Gamla Stan and sunlight streams in through the windows.

Like her mother, Penelope is an activist and her passionate opposition to war and violence led her to get her master’s in political science at Uppsala University with a specialty in peace and conflict resolution. She’s worked for the French aid organization Action Contre la Faim in Darfur, southern Sudan, with Jane Oduya, and her article for Dagens Nyheter, on the women of the refugee camp and their struggles to regain normalcy after every attack, brought broad recognition. Two years ago, she followed Frida Blom as the spokesperson for the Swedish Peace and Reconciliation Society.

Leaving the subway at the Hornstull station, Penelope feels uneasy again, extremely uneasy, without knowing why. She runs down the hill to Söder Mälarstrand, then walks quickly over the bridge to Långholmen and follows the road to the small harbor. The dust she kicks up from the gravel creates a haze in the still air.

Björn’s boat is in the shade directly underneath Väster Bridge. The movement of the water dapples the gray girders with a network of light.

Penelope spots Björn on the afterdeck. He’s got on his cowboy hat, and he stands stock-still, shoulders bent, with his arms wrapped closely about him. Sticking two fingers in her mouth, she lets loose a whistle, startling him, and he turns toward her with a face naked with fear. And it’s still there in his eyes when she climbs down the stairs to the dock. “What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Nothing,” he answers, as he straightens his hat and tries to smile.

As they hug, she notices his hands are ice-cold and the back of his shirt is damp.

“You’re covered in sweat.”

Björn avoids her eyes. “It’s been stressful getting ready to go.”

“Bring my bag?”

He nods and gestures toward the cabin. The boat rocks gently under her feet and the air smells of lacquered wood and sun-warmed plastic.

“Hello? Anybody home?” she asks, tapping his head.

His clear blue eyes are childlike and his straw-colored hair sticks out in tight dreadlocks from under the hat. “I’m here,” he says. But he looks away.

“What are you thinking about? Where’s your mind gone to?”

“Just that we’re finally heading off together,” he answers as he wraps his arms around her waist. “And that we’ll be having sex out in nature.”

He buries his lips in her hair.

“So that’s what you’re dreaming of,” she whispers.

“Yes.”

She laughs at his honesty.

“Most people … women, I mean, think that sex outdoors is a bit overrated,” she says. “Lying on the ground among ants and stones and—”

“No. No. It’s just like swimming naked,” he insists.

“You’ll have to convince me,” she teases.

“I’ll do that, all right.”

“How?” She’s laughing as the phone rings in her cloth bag.

Björn stiffens when he hears the signal. Penelope glances at the display.

“It’s Viola,” she says reassuringly before answering. “Hola, Sis.”

A car horn blares over the line as her sister yells in its direction. “Fucking idiot.”

“Viola, what’s going on?”

“It’s over. I’ve dumped Sergei.”

“Not again!” Penelope says.

“Yes, again,” says Viola, noticeably depressed.

“Sorry,” Penelope says. “I can tell you’re upset.”

“Well, I’ll be all right I guess. But … Mamma said you were going out on the boat and I thought … maybe I could come, too, if you don’t mind…”

A moment of silence.

“Sure, you can come, too,” Penelope says, although she hears her own lack of enthusiasm. “Björn and I need some time to ourselves, but…”

 

Copyright © 2010 by Lars Kepler

Translation copyright © 2012 by Laura A. Wideburg

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It must be somewhat of a nightmare for an author to sit down an


    It must be somewhat of a nightmare for an author to sit down and contemplate how to create a follow-up novel to one as successful as The Hypnotist. But that is exactly what faced the team writing under the nom de plume Lars Kepler. So they wrote “The Nightmare,” in which they again feature the Finnish-born protagonist, Swedish Detective Inspector Joona Linna.

    The novel is not only a fast-paced procedural, but an action-filled suspense story. The plot centers on the corruption of the system by the extreme profitability of selling arms and ammunition to troubled nations and warring factions. The story begins when Linna investigates the strange death of the director responsible for allowing Swedish exports of armaments.

    A wide assortment of characters is portrayed vividly, with a truly evil mastermind behind the murders, kidnappings and crimes keeping Linnaand his police counterparts hopping. It is a riveting story, with an intensity forcing the reader to continue turning the nearly 500 pages. Written with passion, it is a book which is highly recommended,

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    An author you won't want to miss

    I am not sure how I missed Lars Kepler but I certainly won't stop buying their books now. This is a man and wife writing under this name. Non-stop suspense and could not put down. I am a fan you can be sure. The Hypnotist is being made into a movie. I just wish it was in English. Both The Nightmare and the Hypnotist are a read until the end suspense. I can't wait for their new book, The Fire Witness due out in July. Explosive fiction at its best.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Not half as good as hypnotist

    Improbable plot and long drawn out narrative. Couldn't wait to finish this dreck. Unsatifying ending that clearly sets us up for another book. No thanks. I'm not falling for it and purchasing the next book. Clearly The Hypnotist was a fluke or written by someone else.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 28, 2012

    Can't Wait for the Next One!!!

    This one's even better than The Hypnotist and think the series thus far is every bit as good as the Millenium series by Larssen!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Advid reader

    This has to be the most thrilling book I've read in a long time. Finished in one day.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    One of my favorite authors. This book is a real page-turner.

    Lars Kepler is an excellent suspense writer. I've enjoyed everything I've read by him. The plot has lots of twists and turns. The characters are well defined. His detective that appears in two books is very likeable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    The beggining of the end chapter four-the exe war's effect

    Zay sat in his apartment thinking about the war...zay:*in his mind* zays father:dang!! Another soldier dead!! Scrave:time to give it up!!*stabs zays brother* zays bro:zay...*dies* zay:*cries* waaaaaaah bruber!! Zays dad:you son of a....you killed my son!!! Now ill kill you!!*kills a million out of the billion soldiers there* zay:*laughs and sticks his tounge out at scrave* scrave:pesky little runt! Zay:*plays with moonshadow* moonshadow:laughs at zay (present zay) i was just a kid...me and moonshad didnt know what was goin on until my father had thrown me onto tails lab...i had lost conciousness...i was awoken after a year by a drooling monkey...that turned into my first dinner...heh..(want to here more? Well too bad! Wait until tomorrow!)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    Two Worlds Clash: Chapter Two - Peach's Castle

    Nintendo- It was a perfect day in nintendo, the sky was flawlessly blue, the land was not burning, and there was no sight of Bowser. Mario was out checking for enemies, Peach and Toadeyte were cleaning the castle, Toad was with Mario Luigi was, well, he was just being Luigi. <br>
    Luigi had just picked up a fireflower amd was taking it to Mario. "Mario will just love this flower, i just know it!"<br>
    Toad had wandered away from Mario and was trying to find his way back to Mario. He was walking up the hill when Luigi ran into him. "Hey! Watch where you are going!" Toad exclaimed.<br>
    "Sorry. It's just that i found this fireflower and I know Mario will want it." Luigi said and he started up the hill again. Toad followed him. When they got to the top, Mario was already at the bottom. "Hey bro! Catch!" Luigi trew the flower at Mario and he caught it.<br>
    Mario turned around and started running. He tripped over a rock and got up. "Dumb rock," he mummbled as he kicked it. He started running again till he saw a 'crab'. "Wow. Bowsers henchmen are looking more and more mechanical." He looked closer. "Wait a minute. That is mechanical." He started running again. This time a 'hornet' flew past him. "This must be the strangest day ever."<p>

    (Like this please say so. I want to continue iit.)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    Tails

    Go for it zay!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    The rise of exe chapter 2:the solution?

    Behind him, a human, member of G.U.N., overheard him an walked to him. "Interesting. How far are you willing to go to get stronger?" Sonic looked at the two men "ill do anything to get strong enough to protect the people i love." The man nodded. "Good. Because we might be able to help." Amy gasped "really?" The man nodded. Sonic thought. Then he says "im listening." The man answers "the government was workin on a project. It involves chging computer data into dna and is possible to use it to give a boost." Snic grins "thats awesome!" He hugs amy in happiness. Amy blushes, clearly happy. Then sonic pulls away. The man says "well its not tested so there may be some problems, some glitches..." sonic laughs "who cares? Lets do it!" (Kinda short chapter, but it leads to next chapter. So keep following th story!)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2013

    Very Highly Recommended

    If you like a mystery, you will love The Nightmare. Lots of twists and turns that come together in the end. I love Joona Linna's personality. Had a hard time putting this book down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    Selena

    May i join

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    Fiona

    Can i join? Sorry i already posted in the first res cuz i didnt realize we had to ask here...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Cali

    Says really quiet......can u /feel/ flashbacks?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Xavier

    *hugs her.* Stoppit already. You need to breath and chill and stuffs...

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    M

    Mistyfeather pads back to camp.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    Mark

    Geez why didnt you say you had super powers. Btw mistyfeather ur kits are not left behind. Gtg sorry

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    Starkit

    *she follows*

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2012

    Interesting Charaters, Fast Paced Read

    I liked this book allot more than the Hypnotist. Maybe cuz I was already familiar with Joona Linna, the main charater, or it was translated better. I might have liked it even more if I was into classical music or had played the violin in school.

    It was easy to read, easy to follow, a little far fetched that the bad guys would go so far and that someone could tell what song was being played by a still picture of instruments.

    I found it somewhat annoying that the author(s) apparently don't know much about guns and wrote a story about Arms Dealers. This might be a weak attempt at a polictical statement but so weak you can't tell.

    They picked a wrong gun/caliber for the bad guy arms dealer to use (a Winchester 490 is a .22 rifle), used unnecessary detail on FMJ or HP and used Parabellum to discribe a type of cartridge. (About 100 years ago Parabellum was used to differentiate between the 9x19mm Lugar - "9mm", and the 9x17mm Makarov now the ".380"). Maybe they still use that word in Europe but he can't shoot 380/Makarovs thru his 9mm and shouldn't even have them around.

    The author(s) probably couldn't resist using a word that in Latin means "prepare for war", even though it comes from the phrase Si vis pacium, para bellum... if you want peace, prepare for war, which they probably did't know either. (Plato?)

    They should stick to weapons they know like the Swedish M/45, Russian AK or the new Belgian FN 5.7, the latest NATO pistol. The bad guys are Arms Dealers, shouldn't they shoot the latest cool stuff? They were probably taking a shot at US Arms but all the Winchester 490s were made in Canada. (missed again)

    I was able to get past all that and enjoy the book anyway.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Good read

    Loved both the hypnotist and this. Really kept interest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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