Book Club Review – The Hypnotist

For April 2021, The Hypnotist was picked as our monthly read. This was my first book from Lars Kepler and it serves as a staring point for the Joona Linna detective series. I am always intrigued by any kind of detective-driven mystery so I happily dove into this 600+ page monster. I wasn’t ready for what was inside.

The Hypnotist starts with the truly gruesome murder of an entire family. Every member of it has been butchered and only one of them barely survived but is in a coma due to the trauma. The is the setting for our two main characters, who must do everything in their power to find a way to speak to the sole survivor in order to prevent more carnage.

Joona Linna is a police officer who know what he is doing. His interactions with people around him are kind but cold, and he throws himself completely into his cases, never giving up and mostly ending up being right, which he takes immense pleasure in letting his detractors know. There was something very satisfying in following Joona as the main investigator of the story. I like it when the lead knows what they are doing, are competent and act with confidence. That is not to say there are no flaws in Joona, who also gives us glimpses of a dark past that isn’t fully fleshed out in this volume but which I have no doubt will mean a great deal in future adventures.

Dr. Erik Maria Bark made a promise a long time ago. He promised he would never hypnotise anyone ever again. But when he is called at Joona’s side to help communicate with the comatose victim, he must make a choice. Will he uphold his oath or will he do what needs to be done to potentially save more lives? Erik was a very fun character to read. A family man, a loving father and a caring husband, Erik too has some darker events locked away in his past that he would not want to revisit. After making his choice, his life will be thrown into chaos.

This story here was compelling throughout the book. I did find some slower passages but the chapters were very short for most of the time and so the flow still kept a steady pace. This is a real crime novel. Full on police investigation, and while I enjoyed myself enough, I still prefer the more classic approach to detective stories. This was a satisfying read as a whole but I am not sure it was compelling enough for me to seek out other books in this particular series.

Score: 6.5/10 – Good

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