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The Fire Witness: A Novel Hardcover – July 2, 2013

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The Fire Witness: A Novel + The Nightmare: A Novel + The Hypnotist: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; First Edition edition (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374298661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374298661
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While technically on administrative leave, detective Joona Linna is assigned to a case in a Swedish town where a young girl at a residential program has been found dead. He checks and double checks the curious circumstances of the death and tries to find information from the victim's housemates, but Linna is also willing to hear what Flora Hansen, a local medium of questionable skill, has to say. This dark mystery is rendered even more haunting by Mark Bramhall's performance. His deep and crackling voice not only heightens the book's significant suspense but also grabs listeners' attention and refuses to let go. Bramhall practically growls at times, but despite speaking in lower registers, he manages to ably convey a range of voices, including those of women, young and old. A Sarah Crichton hardcover. (July) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In Sundsvall, Sweden, police responding to a distress call at a girls’ group home discover a brutally murdered teenager posed with her hands covering her eyes. Blood-soaked bedding in an adjacent bedroom conceals a hammer, and that room’s occupant, Vicky, has fled through an open window. While police collect evidence, a figure resembling Vicky emerges from the forest nearby and steals a car with a preschooler strapped inside. Joona Linna, recently sidelined by an internal-affairs investigation but still widely recognized as Sweden’s premier investigator, is ordered to respond as an “observer” to the local investigation. When the car is found submerged in a river, both children are assumed dead, and the official scenario paints Vicky as a savage killer and kidnapper. Inconveniently, Linna finds evidence that they’re still alive, and he begins poking holes in the police scenario. At the same time, he faces personal dilemmas upon learning that the wife and child he sent into hiding years ago are once again facing danger. This third novel featuring Joona Linna is a knockout example of the thoughtful plotting and character development, genius investigation, and unflinching examination of human evil common in Scandinavian crime fiction. But it’s the mixture of relaxed, witty dialogue and raging action scenes that will draw American readers who believe the Scandinavian subgenre is too moody for their taste. --Christine Tran

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Customer Reviews

Write, Lars Kepler, write!
Interesting story line, good development of characters.
Read it in one go if you can - worth it.
Bjorn I. Ulgenes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on July 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Absolutely shocking! Perhaps the best thriller I've ever read! Do I sound like I'm being over dramatic? Perhaps, however I cannot write about Kepler's third book without gushing. I read a LOT of thrillers and I'm not surprised very often. I don't always figure it out, though I often do, but when I don't I'm usually close. The Fire Witness absolutely astounded me! I had no clue who the killer was. Well, actually, I had an obscure little theory going which I thought I was pretty clever of me but then WHAM, BAM it all starts unravelling in the last about 30 pages and I couldn't have been more giddy with shock. The case itself is also deliciously deviant and becomes more and more than what it first appears to be as the book continues. There is one twist after the other. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole ride. This book brings a double whammy to the table though. While we have the outstanding main case there is also a secondary case going on that involves Joona's life personally. We were introduced to this topic in the last lines of "The Nightmare" and it is carried out through this book. For the most part it stays in the background, while every now and then Joona thinks back upon it and we are given slightly more details on a mystifying horror that has dogged Joona's being for the past 12 years. Hardly interrupting the main case it pops up just often enough for us to want to know what is going on. Then at the end of the book when we know this case is being wrapped up, Joona's personal case takes centre stage and the set up for the next book is obviously laid on the table. Creepy, creepy, creepy is all I can say. Absolutely can't wait for the next book. Please hurry!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've read all three of these novels. they are all fantastic. they have many layers and threads and all come together brilliantly at the end. these threads include two murders at a home for disturbed girls, a fake psychic who starts being visited by ghosts, Joona Linna's hearing about his long lost wife and daughter (his being a detective for the Swedish national police) and even a church tower with bells (reminiscent of hitchcok's VERTIGO) which may hold some answers. read all three of these Swedish noir novels for a great immersion into Scandinavian noir.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Gorman on July 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Could really use the half star, as my rating would be 4 1/2 STARS.
I have read all 3 of Kepler's books (actually all are collaborative efforts by a literary couple) and they have gotten increasingly better. The Hypnotist was a good first start, and this third offering (The Fire Witness) shows the growth in talent by the author(s). Chapters are very short (2-5 pages) but the action continues on from one to the next, so there is not as much "shifting" as you would think. The book is a fast read, and starts with a bang right out of the gate, but it is also a "thinking" read as you try to put the clues together to figure out the eventual solution.
There is a bit of a "mystical" lean to some of the action, but it is not overdone (in my opinion) and eventually ties in well with the rest of the action. The resolution at the end of the story ties up the needed "loose ends" and then produces some action that undoubtedly will be continued in a future release.
Every book has its flaws, but I would give this book a STRONG 4 1/2 star rating. If you like the more psychological side of case resolution, you should like this one. It is nice change from the Steve Berry, Dan Brown, Andy Mcdermott et al. books or the Flynn, Thor, Clancy action oriented thrillers. I read all types, and the variety is what keeps me interested in reading. If you are looking for a "new" author, try these 3 (in order if possible) .
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By vera kolpakova on July 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A girl and a night nurse are brutally murdered at a facility for troubled youths. Another girl is missing. There is a lot of blood. Fear grips the girls. The husband of the night nurse breaks down. This kicks off a string of events for what could have been a great police procedural, believable and fun to read. Joona, the suspended inspector who only follows police protocol when it suits him, is first assigned to the case as an observer. Soon he discovers the incompetency of the local police and takes matters into his own hands when the investigation is about to be closed as the suspected murderer is believed to have died. He eventually ties together the many pieces of the puzzle but his pursuit of the case becomes more and more improbable. The earlier promise of a good police procedural disintegrates into a thriller where Joona and the person he is trying to save escape death under the most unbelievable circumstances. At that point I was reading the book more in amusement over how twisted the story was (unnecessarily) spun - skipping paragraphs to just get to the end where the original story line finally comes together again.
But the plot does to end with the story - there are other developments from Joona's previous case that the authors develop at the very end of the book - I have to assume they are laying ground work for the next thriller...
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