The Hypnotist

Lars Kepler, trans. from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. FSG/Sarah Crichton, $27 (512p) ISBN 978-0-374-17395-1
The brutal slaying of gambling addict Anders Ek, his wife, and his younger daughter propels this outstanding thriller debut from the pseudonymous Kepler (a Swedish literary couple), introducing Stockholm detective Joona Linna. Only Ek's 15-year-old son, Josef, left for dead at his parents' house, survives. Realizing that the vicious killer is likely to also target an older daughter no longer living at home, Linna asks Erik Maria Bark, a trauma physician who practiced hypnosis before being banned from using the technique 10 years earlier, to hypnotize the seriously injured Josef in the hospital. When Josef later escapes from the hospital and Bark's teenage son, Benjamin, is kidnapped, the ensuing frantic search raises the ante. Flashbacks to Bark's hypnosis therapy group reveal that one patient became suicidal in the course of revisiting her past. 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. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
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