The Nightmare

Lars Kepler, trans. from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg. Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Sarah Crichton, $27 (512p) ISBN 978-0374115333
Joona Linna looks into two bizarre deaths in Kepler’s complex second novel featuring the Stockholm detective inspector (after 2011’s The Hypnotist). Carl Palmcrona, the general director of the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products, which oversees military exports, is found hanged in an empty room in his house, while the Coast Guard discovers Penelope Fernandez drowned on a drifting motorboat in dry clothes. Linna senses there’s more to both deaths than meets the eye, especially after Penelope’s peace activist sister—who wasn’t one to keep her views on Sweden’s arms export business to places like Sudan a secret—goes missing. With the possible terrorist angle to consider, Linna must vie for control of the case with Säpo, the Swedish Security Service, and reluctantly joins forces with a 25-year-old female Säpo inspector. Fans of slow-burning Scandinavian crime fiction with troubled heroes will feel right at home with Kepler, the pseudonym of a Swedish literary couple. Agent: Jonas Axelsson, Bonnier Group Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 07/03/2012
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