I am on a bit of a crime thriller kick, it seems, and apparently the Nordic countries have sort of landed on the international map in recent years when it comes to crime thrillers. As you may have already gathered (from last summer and this), I've read the Stieg Larsson trilogy already and I've started in on Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole series (See this entry), and now I've read another Swedish novel getting the "The Next Stieg Larsson" buzz.
Heading into The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (the pen name for a husband-and-wife team individually known for different genres of writing), I was already aware of its intent to be more horrific in its tone. Its opening chapters, after all, describe a brutal and bloody crime scene to set the wheels in motion on the story. The book is quite briskly paced, with numerous short chapters and interwoven story threads, and provided you can suspend disbelief with regards to some of its procedural plot points, provides for an entertaining read.
Still, the book's main weakness, for all its entertainment value, may be that there are simply too many leads to follow up upon, too many subplots, and too many misdirections. To be fair, the threads do come together, but some of them couldn't help but seem a bit forced, and one of the two major story lines ends up getting short shrift in the broader scope of the novel. It's as if two crime thrillers were somehow joined at the hip like some conjoined literary twins, but one of the twins started monopolizing the nutrient flow, leaving the other to dwindle and weaken and be dragged alongside the dominant sibling, its ultimate death barely acknowledged.
The bottom line? Entertaining but flawed. I'll probably give the second "Lars Kepler" book a shot, still, but with one eyebrow raised going in.