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Editorial Reviews

Review

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)

Review

“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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Detective Inspector Joona Linna (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250007585
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250007582
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (365 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

205 of 242 people found the following review helpful By Dave Goldberg on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I got an advance copy with all the requisite hype _ that it's in the tradition of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. Actually it isn't other than the fact that it's set in Sweden and the authors are Swedish. In fact, it's a mess, with constantly switching protagonists; a plot that inclues an "interlude'' of nearly 100 pages that almost put me to sleep; and some of the most unlikeable characters you'll meet in any book.

I'll confess. I've always liked Scandanvian mysteries, having first read the Maj Sjowall, Per Wahloo police procedurals 30 years ago or so. More recently, I've enjoyed Henning Mankell's Wallander series and the works of the Norwegian Jo Nesbo. I read all three Larsson books. They held my attention, but they were more like cartoons than true novels, appealing only because the main character was appealing in a perverse way.

This book has no Lisbeth Salander. The alleged main character is a neurotic hypnotist with a neurotic wife. His father-in-law is less neurotic, as is the main police character. But the main point seems to be smear as much blood around as possible (along with a lot of sex) to draw readers, starting with the work of a 15-year-old "serial killer,'' _ really a spree killer _ who's beyond credibility. And to confuse readers with parallel plots, parallel characters, a subplot (or maybe the main one) based on Pokemon characters and that pointless interlude.

I guess what annoyed me was the hype that accompanied the copy I got. Yes, this held my attention for about 300 of its 500 pages. Then it veered off course. I struggled to finish it. I did. But no need for anyone else to try.
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88 of 102 people found the following review helpful By BabyGorilla on July 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you are reading this, and are from Sweden or another Nordic country, write a crime thriller. Stop reading this review--stop whatever you're doing, in fact--and sit down and write a crime thriller. If "The Hypnotist" and the hype and praise surrounding it is any indication, your book won't have to be any good and it will still be a massive sensation.

Look, I read the Millennium Trilogy. I liked it just fine. It set the world on fire and it is to be expected that the genre is going to enjoy a shot in the arm. I am not expert on the genre--I've nothing to compare Larrson's works to and only Larrson's works to compare to Kepler's. Like I said, I liked "The Girl Who..." series just fine but compared to "The Hypnotist" even the worst of the three is leaps and bounds ahead of this unmitigated disaster.

I didn't know that "Lars Kepler" is pseudonym for a husband and wife until after I finished reading the book. I never understood the whole dual author approach and after this, I get why it's not done more often. Writing a novel, especially a crime/mystery, must be a monumentally difficult task. Writing it with your husband/wife must be the worst idea ever. Looking back, IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. The characters, the plot, the writing style...everything, is all over the damn place.

The book begins just fine ("fine" insofar as a brutal triple-homicide can be) and tries to introduce us to the next great literary Swedish detective Joona...something. The character sketch is pretty basic: brooding, aloof genius detective is the smartest guy in the room and will do anything to get his (wo)man. The problem is, the authors don't flesh it out much beyond what we've already come to expect from the genre protagonist.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Urban/Suburban on July 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Too many plots, too many 'main' characters, neither the plots or the characters are well developed. It feels as if the husband and wife author team of this book is trying to catch the Scandinavian suspense novel trend but really need a better editor. This book could easily be cut by over 100 pages. Too bad as much verbage wasn't given to developing the characters and plot as was given to scene descriptions. Most of the characters, even the 'good' ones, are not sympathetic. Characters' motives are not explained, characters leave the action without closure. Joona's relationship with his girlfriend is not explained. Erik just quits his addictions! The ability of the 15 year old character to plan and carry out his escapes and killings is preposterous. Very unsatisfying book. The hype around it really does readers a disservice, it's a (too long) waste of time.
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63 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Rich on June 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
How could anyone put this book in the same class as Stieg Larsson? It is poorly plotted and written like a script for a bad movie. The central theme of the book has potential but the writing is so terrible, the book lost me in the first 30 pages. Reading the rest of the book was a chore, but I figured that it must have something to become an "international bestseller", as the cover of the book proclaims. It is stilted, one dimensional, and doesn't convey the sense of anticipation that you expect from a good detective novel. I really like Scandinavian detective stories but this one was way off the mark. Certainly not in the class of Jo Nesbo or Henning Mankell.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Caldwell VINE VOICE on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Deeply disturbing, depressing, gory, graphic and upsetting; The Hypnotist wasn't really what I expected. I barely saw any rays of hope until the end of the novel. I like to think that life isn't that bleak, but perhaps it is in Sweden.

What I thought was going to be a book about a boy and finding the murder of his family turned out very differently. In fact, halfway through the book it shifted to a completely different plot. While it was related to one of the main characters, Erik Maria Bark, it never translated to the original plot. Essentially, these could have been two different books and for me they should have been.

While the 2nd case was wrapped up and the motives were made clear, the first case was wrapped up but I never got a sufficient answer to the motivation behind the crime. Was it really just that the murderer's mother didn't hug him enough? Did bond with him? I know that does have a psychological effect on people but this seemed extreme.

I certainly didn't feel much sympathy toward Dr. Bark and his wife Simone. They were pretty self-centered and shallow, which made them hard to connect with while reading the book. In the end you wonder if their marriage will survive the lies they've told each other and the lies they are telling themselves.

The most interesting character for me was Detective Joona Linna. He is a bulldog when it comes to solving his cases and he's almost never wrong with his hunches. In fact, because of this he's become somewhat of a legend. He follows his instincts and yet he does it within the law. The author alludes to something in Joona's background that makes him driven but we never find out more. That was a disappointment for me as a reader. I wanted to know what made him so determined.
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