Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Apologies for this post being a week late, I was watching one of my best friends walk down the aisle this past weekend (CONGRATS JEN AND STEVE!). Better late than never though! The Hypnotist was an interesting Swedish crime thriller, albeit a bit long for my taste. And that's coming from someone who's read A Game of Thrones and several other long stories. While there were parts of this book I wasn't fond of, I still had a great time reading it and give it 4 out of 5 stars for keeping my interest for the better part of a month.

From the publisher:
In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there's only one surviving witness- the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he's suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It's the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again- ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

My opinion:
I got incredibly confused about halfway through the book, right about where there's a 50 page flashback to Erik's decade-ago hypnotism group. I couldn't understand the relevance of this, and lost the present plot for a while as well. Of course, everything got tied up by the end of the book thankfully, and it was done in a superb manner.

One of the biggest things I look for and love about books is the ability to identify with and relate to the characters. Can these people actually exist? Do I feel any empathy for their situations throughout the story? Some authors fall short on that. Kepler, however, did a phenomenal job making all of his characters likable, or at least pitiable. I can't say I like all the characters (especially not the killer and other parties involved), but you just can't help getting emotionally attached to the story.

Like I said, this was a very long novel. I feel like parts of it could have been shortened, but at the same time everything in this story added up to one epic thriller that I could not for the life of me put down. Well played, Sweden. Well played.

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