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The Hypnotist: A Novel (Detective Inspector Joona Linna) Paperback – November 22, 2011

3.2 out of 5 stars 387 customer reviews

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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

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Product Details

  • Series: Detective Inspector Joona Linna (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Paperback Edition edition (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 (387 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
Swedish crime thrillers are hot these days, following the success of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" et al. Now a married couple, writing under the pen name of Lars Kepler, adds a new title to the mix with The Hypnotist. The novel opens with the harrowing scene of the murder of a Stockholm family. Investigator Joona (pronounced Yona) Linna prevails upon psychiatrist Erik Maria Bark to hypnotize the lone survivor, the fifteen year old son who's clinging to life in the hospital. Erik is reluctant, for the last time he used hypnosis on a patient, years back, the outcome was disastrous. He agrees, however, hoping the boy's testimony will help police save the life of the sister who was away from home during the murder. It does, but in the process, a Pandora's box of horrors is released when Erik's own teenaged son, who has a life threatening blood disorder, is kidnapped.

The Hypnotist is a dark, chilling tale of desperation and madness, like most of its genre, and the labyrinth through which Erik and his wife must search is nightmarish, putting their already shaky marriage even closer to the edge of failure. There is an abundance of possible perpetrators, ranging from the boy in the hospital to Erik's former patients, all of whom suffer from serious psychoses. As the story unfolds, the authors take readers from past to present and back again in series, switching from first to third person narration in the process. Commendably, they handle the flashbacks well, avoiding confusion and allowing readers to experience Erik's terror as he desperately tries to locate his son. While some crime novels rely upon a host of red herrings, there are none here, as each of the possible suspects could readily have committed this crime.

Skillfully translated by Marlaine Delargy, The Hypnotist is worthy addition to the growing library of compelling Swedish thrillers.
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