The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Posted: August 24, 2011 in Book Reviews
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           The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler is a bestselling novel of suspense set in Sweden. The story revolves around Detective Joona Linna and Dr. Erik Maria Bark and his wife and son. Early in the book, a triple homicide is discovered and there is one surviving witness. However, the boy has suffered severe trauma and is in a state of shock. Linna convinces Dr. Bark to hypnotize the boy in order to find the murderer before he strikes again. Dr. Bark has sworn never to practice hypnosis again, but eventually agrees in the hopes of saving a young woman’s life. When Dr. Bark breaks his promise and they hypnotize the boy, a chain of terrifying events begins to take place.

This novel has joined the ranks of bestselling crime novels from Scandinavia. I found that the plot of the story had great potential but the writing was lacking. It felt like the book was just dragging along. I lost interest early on, but continued reading in the hopes that the storyline would begin to pick up. It did eventually, but not to the point I had hoped. The characters of Joona Linna, Erik Maria Bark, Simone, and the other major players were well developed, but some aspects left the reader asking questions. For example, the reader learns early on that Linna is a driven detective that will not let a case go unsolved. The reason behind this is a sense of personal guilt over something that happened in his past, but the reader never gets to find out what that secret is. Other aspects of the writing were lacking as well. The plot of the novel was interesting but the way the story unfolded was very predictable and all of the “twists” were able to be foreseen. The ending of the story is also lacking – it does not give the reader any type of closure. It leaves the characters and their relationships with one another in limbo with no resolution.

I found this novel to be mediocre at best. The plot definitely had potential, but the writing was lacking and the book could have been so much more. I bought this book after reading the other reviews and the description, but I wish I would have saved my money for something worthwhile. This is a book worth reading for fun and for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction such as Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, but I would recommend that you borrow it and not waste your time and money buying it.

  1. Nicole says:

    Great review- having just finished the book, I agree with your opinion of the writing. I enjoyed the novel, but had a nagging feeling something was “off” with the plot. Too many loose ends. Too many false leads….

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