The Hypnotist

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  1. Lars Kepler’s ‘The Hypnotist’: Thriller is a disturbing meditation on evil
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Suspects in the kidnapping include a group of violent criminals whom Bark had treated with hypnosis therapy and who were not always grateful for his efforts. The deftly plotted story barrels along in more than a hundred short, swift scenes; it moves about as fast as a page novel can. Bark tells us of a brief fling with a younger colleague: And these are the sane characters. Some of the murderers kill without hesitation or regret.

Another character, a crazy-as-a-loon woman, cuts off the noses of those she is about to kill as a kind of foreplay. Sometimes, I wondered if these people were insane, psychopathic or simply evil. They blur such distinctions. Whatever they are, you want them gone. Lars Kepler is a pseudonym for Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril, a literary couple who live in Sweden. Their photo reveals an attractive man and woman who might be in their 30s. Worst of all is Simone. Bark had a brief affair ten years before, and she never really forgave him for it.

When he is called out in the middle of the night by Linna at the beginning of the book, she gets instantly suspicious even though Bark is a doctor who works at an emergency room. A cell phone mix-up makes her think that he is cheating on her again, and she begins hurling accusations at Bark without ever once explaining why.

Lars Kepler’s ‘The Hypnotist’: Thriller is a disturbing meditation on evil

Simone commits even worse offenses. Instead, Simone launches into another round of accusations that Erik is cheating on her and drives him out of the house by insisting on calling her father, a retired cop who hates Erik. Jesus wept, but I hated this woman. It would have been one thing if this was some kind of realistic character based story about the impact of a child abduction on a shaky marriage, but this is most certainly a schlock crime thriller so it just comes across as fucked up on epic scale.

View all 36 comments. Feb 17, Jayson rated it liked it Shelves: Spends a lot of time building up elaborate red herrings; successor developments being progressively less compelling. View all 4 comments. Mar 18, Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it Shelves: He was the only surviving witness. Detective Joona Linna was certain that the boy would be able to provide valuable information, possibly even identify the killer But if the other circumstances had not been so exceptional, it would never even have occurred to anyone to turn to a hypnotist.

His relationship with his son is changing and not for the better. His relationship with his wife is on life support. When Detective Joona Linna calls him and wants him to hypnotize the one remaining witness in the bloody carnage that happened at the Ek home, his first response is to say no, not just no, but an emphatic no. Josef is suffering from more cuts than can be counted and is floating in a coma. Linna needs to know two things: Bark made a promise that he would never hypnotise anyone ever again after one of his patients went berserk, blamed him for everything, and turned public opinion against him.

Hypnotists are seen in the same light as charlatans, clowns, illusionists,and parlor tricksters, so when something goes wrong, people are just confirmed in their natural suspicions of them in the first place. The circumstances are dire, and as Joona Linna always says, he is a stubborn man.

He convinces Erik to use his gifts to find out the truth. But the truth is so insidious that even these hardened professionals are shaken. Simone enlists the aid of her retired police officer father, Kennet Strang, to help try and find him. I think the biggest issue that readers have with this book is that it was so overhyped before it was released. There were all the comparisons to Stieg Larsson and how Lars Kepler was going to be the next biggest thing since the invention of Swedish meatballs.

For certain readers, this backfires big time. By the time they read the book, they almost resent having to read it, and their reactions to the book are colored by those resentments. The worst thing you can do is tell someone, emphatically, that they must read a book.


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The blitz of ads was doing just that. It is the equivalent of assigning a book to be read in school. The second thing is all the subterfuge over who Lars Kepler is. People were first pointing the finger at Henning Mankell, which in itself is quite the flattering comparison, but Mankell denied that it was he. Lars is in fact these people. Some readers start to get Milli Vanilli vibes. Ah yes, we remember those two front men who were faker than Facebook News.

You might be curious about the origins of the pseudonym. Wikipedia kindly gave me that information. Being compared to Larsson is almost as big a curse as having your book compared to Harry Potter or the The Hunger Games. The staccato short chapters drove me bonkers until I adjusted, though other reviewers have said how much they like that writing style. I do adore Nordic Noir, and this plot ticks all the boxes for hardboiled and grit.

He is annoyingly good at his job, which to me is also a nice nod to Kurt Wallander. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: View all 15 comments. Aug 09, Eric rated it liked it Recommends it for: Fans of the Millenium trilogy. I really liked this novel, and would have given it four stars if not for three things that irked me about the way it was written. Joona walks into the room and sits down. At first, I thought there was a compelling reason for this, but after finishing the book, I can't come up with anything, except perhaps that it was poorly translated into English -- do Swedish authors normally write in present tense?

I really don't know. But it pulled me out of the story a number of times, as I was focusing on the tense instead. With an average chapter length of five pages, this was unnecessary, and also pulled me out of the story, as I kept thinking, "is it a different day? I think it's the same day, but I better flip back a chapter and double-check. A better author would have sprinkled that flashback better over the course of the novel, instead of in a giant information dump.

And as for the inevitable comparisons to Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy: No, this is not a continuation or homage to those works. It is likely not in the same class as them either I'll withhold judgement until I see if there is more to follow with these characters. It is, however, a quality murder mystery with interesting characters written by a Swedish author and set in the same harsh, unforgiving Sweden as the Millennium trilogy.

The Hypnotist

View all 17 comments. Aug 12, Joe rated it did not like it. I suppose I should say this is a spoiler alert. Read on at your own risk. I continue to be amazed by people's reviews. Many most always begin by giving a summation of the plot. This is stupid and totally unnecessary. People already know what the book is about.

Personal Reviews should tell what the reader thought. This is an amazingly hyped book. I would suppose that every publishing company wants to discover the next Steig Larrsen. Obviously, Its not that easy. First you need to be able to wr I suppose I should say this is a spoiler alert. First you need to be able to write well. Next you need to be able to create believable characters and give them a substantial plot. These writers can't do any of that.

For a hyped and well reviewed book, this is possibly one of the worst books I have ever read. What a scam calling this the next Larssen or anything close. View all 16 comments. This is a very dark, horrific story that ranks high in creepiness. Seriously it left me feeling like I needed to take a shower and wash the creep away. The cover would have you beleive that it is comparable to Silence of the Lambs or Stieg Larsson's Millenium series but I have to disagree with that.

Now I love a good mystery, better still if it happens to be a thriller where life and death hang in the balance as they race to find and stop the villian. The Hypnotist certainly contains all of thes This is a very dark, horrific story that ranks high in creepiness. The Hypnotist certainly contains all of these elements and more, so you might wonder why only 3 stars. There are a number of reasons but chief among them: The crimes are incredibly brutal and way too graphically detailed Some of these vicious, brutal acts really have nothing to do with the story, which brings me to There are too many unexplained little events, some of which are quite gruesome, that remain completely unexplained and unresolved and left this reader wondering what they were doing in the story in the first place.

Even what starts out as being the crime of focus in this story is left unattended and for me at least, unresolved part way through the book. I could not relate in any way to the relationship between the hypnotist and his wife. I figured out the mystery well before I should have. The story felt choppy and events did not flow very well, especially between the past and the present Despite all of the above the story was a good one and at least one of the characters was wrought well enough to remember. Unfortunately this was not the character that should have tied the whole tale together.

From the very first page I was convinced the story had a carefully structured premise and then somewhere in the middle I found myself wondering: What about the murder? What about detective Joona Linna???? I want to know more about Linna.. And what about Evelyn??? She sank her teeth into the throat of an officer Will you not say something about this??

Tthe first half of the book was much more intriguing than the second half. There were moments I was terrified and convinced someone was in my house However I found a few parts rather dull. The chapter entitled "10 years ago" was really unecessary. It was so long and boring that I had to skim through it. Also I found the "time stamps" technique annoyingly confusing.

The character I liked the most was Josef Ek and I would like to have seen more about him. The gruesome scenes with Josef were the ones which gave me the creeps so I was disappointed to find that after a certain point in our story there is no more Josef Finding a family brutally murdered and trying to solve the crime was the reason I bought the book in the first place.

I can't see how Benjamin's kidnapping became all of sudden central in the story. Nevertheless, I have to admit the writing was superb and absorbing.

The Hypnotist - The House is Mine (1991)

I could almost see the scene with the hypnotism unfold before my eyes. This is the main reason I intend to read another book from the Joona Linna series. All in all, being a supporter of story outlines I can say the plot was vague and the story lacked core structure.

Don't get me wrong. I liked this book After all, I gave it 3 stars. I think it is a worthy entry in the genre of Scandinavian thrillers and I would definitely recommend it to crime lovers! Jul 15, Melissa rated it liked it Shelves: Sweden, what is going on there? On one hand, this is a pretty good book.

The Hypnotist (Joona Linna, #1) by Lars Kepler

Joona Linna is everything you want in a police inspector - ruggedly good-looking, arrogant yet polite, and always right my favorite line? On the other hand, though, this book is total rubbish. Your son has been kidnapped! Can you think of any enemies you might have? Why, no way, everyone loves me! Oh wait, there was that therapy group of psychotic crazy people that I was doing hypnotic experiments on.

It seriously took you over half the book to remember this stuff? View all 11 comments. Jul 05, Stephanie Harris rated it did not like it. I read it so you don't have to. This book is laughably and infuriatingly terrible. I only finished it because I paid for it, dammit, and wanted to see how terrible it would actually get, God help me. Almost all the characters are unlikeable. But never mind, because the book is really not about him, it is about the hypnotist. Fair enough, sinc I read it so you don't have to. Fair enough, since that is the name of the book. The serial killer subplot and the main,abduction related plot are really only tangentially connected in that one is the impetus for the other.

Then they have absolutely nothing to do with one another. I will avoid the newer Kepler novel like the plague, and I suggest to those who suffer from Steig Larsson withdrawal to check out the Harry Hole series of books by Norwegian Jo Nesbo. They get progressively more ridiculous as the series goes on, as these things do, but they have at their heart a really interesting and sympathetic if flawed main character and interesting supporting players.

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I have never read such an amazing twisting novel. There are not words to express how super this book was. I can only give praise to the authors. Erik Maria Bark, talented doctor whose specialty is the treatment of seriously traumatized persons, formerly also with hypnotize, is called to Karolinska hospital, where a year-old boy lies severely injured - the only survivor of a family massacre in the outskirts of Stockholm.

It turns out that the boy has an older sister who's disappeared, and there's I have never read such an amazing twisting novel. It turns out that the boy has an older sister who's disappeared, and there's reason to assume that the killer will go for her too. It's therefore imperative that they find her before the killer does, and since the boy isn't stable enough to be questioned, Erik is called in to hypnotize him in order to get a description of the killer.

However, Bark has promised himself never to practice hypnosis again. The characters are twisted and bound together, and as the story develops, the linkages develop. The short chapters, make you turn the page, and continue reading. This is one book you can not put down. I can only hope that there will be future novels by Lars Kepler. I will wait patiently to read the next novel by Lars Kepler View all 47 comments. Sep 03, Pamela rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

When I read the jacket of this book, I found it be quite intriguing and considering how many people seem to love this book, I thought I would too. There were too many fillers; needless people and information that made it seem like it was all thrown in to make the book longer than it needed to be; and the writing to be weak and choppy and all over the place. The synopsis r When I read the jacket of this book, I found it be quite intriguing and considering how many people seem to love this book, I thought I would too.

The synopsis reads as follows: This book is no thriller and nowhere near in the league of the books it is referred to. Except for the first 65 pages, the book is quite dull. The discovery of the butchered family is very gripping and interesting; however, once the murderer is discovered early on, the rest of the book quickly starts to sink for me.

There were so many instances that were not explained or answered at all: Daniella Richards and that it was Det. I found Simone to be very selfish, whiny and so indecisive; separate, not separate, separate. Give me a break. She is so child-like. I also found her to be very needy; unable to be on her own. The second Erik leaves and thinking no one wants to help her find her missing son, she calls her father a retired cop to come down and help with the investigation.

She also seeks comfort from another man by sleeping with him. I found Erik to be weak and pathetic. He knows he has a drug addiction yet he does nothing to fix it. Even with all his credentials and smarts, he thinks its Eva who has kidnapped his son, not Lydia who clearly is the culprit.

He pouts like a child when Simone is busy with work and forgets his birthday; this coming from a doctor who comes and goes at all hours of the day for his job. I did, however, find him to be an egomaniac. I personally did not appreciate this as I felt conned. I would have given it one star, but gave it two just because I found the sub-plot the slain family to be an interesting read.

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This book was nothing like I thought it would be. An avid crime reader and lover of the darker crime stuff out there I thought this would be chilling, terrifying and spectacular based on reviews by both well known and lesser known reviewers. Was I reading a different book? As this book did not throw up anything like that my way. When a whole family is murdered in Stockholm, DI Joona Linna knows there is only one person who can find the perpetrator. Erik Maria Bark, retired hypnotist, is called i This book was nothing like I thought it would be.

Erik Maria Bark, retired hypnotist, is called in to work with Josef Ek, a year-old boy who witnessed the brutal murder of his family. The book flashes back and forth in time, some of that flows, some of it does not, some of the flashback moments get to be so full of waffle that you forget where you were in the present moment.


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It's not quite seamlessly done so that the reader is alert and aware of what is going on. When I kept putting this down over a few days and not picking it up I knew that was a sign I was not that into it. I normally would devour a book of this length that I loved in 3 hours, in one sitting, with no toilet breaks, no food, nothing, just words. Now see, I liked the book but I did not love the book and according to reviews I should have really loved it. The book holds it's mystery quite well as to who the bad guys are, and eventually the timeline of past and present collide and things start to really make sense.

The last few chapters of the book are the best, that's where the pace really picks up and action and something meaty starts to happen, but it's a long book to take that long. But in saying that, it's readable, it's not like I wanted to chuck it at the wall or burn it or anything, I read every word. I was expecting it to have much more of a "dark" theme to it and whilst murder is shocking and serial killers exist, this book is nowhere near "dark".

The book delves into Erik Bark's professional and personal life in the past and present, which interweaves with the plot. As a character I did not connect with The Hypnotist Bark but did a bit more with DI Joona Linna, but not by much, I think the characters are all a bit flat in this book, at times some speckles of connection shine through from them, but overall hard to really get a sense of any of them. Good guys and the bad guys. I did like the concept and the plot, whilst much slower than I would have liked, the plot is interesting. I really liked the scenes where Bark is taking his patients down into a hypnotic state.

The research done around the hypnosis elements in the book was good. The ending finally had some pace added to the book which I loved, and whilst I had twigged to who the bad guys were, it was good to not have got it all exactly worked out. A satisfying ending, I just wish the rest of the book had more punch to it. So, a book I liked, but did not love and ultimately felt let down because it's a hyped up book and pumped with brilliant reviews.

I know I am not alone in my rather average review of this book, and I won't be the last. If I had perhaps have read it without all the hype around it I may have been less disappointed. Not dark enough for me, and it would have been so good if it was, so very, very good. I love Scandinavian crime fiction too, but what I find with it is that it's either very mediocre or totally spectacular.

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Oct 20, Brenda rated it liked it. I was interested, and at times, gripped by this book, especially in the beginning and at the end. However, there were times I was bored, not really reading intensely, anxious for progress.