cover image The Sandman: A Joona Linna Novel

The Sandman: A Joona Linna Novel

Lars Kepler, trans. from the Swedish by Neil Smith. Knopf, $27.95 (464p) ISBN 978-1-524-73224-0

Kepler (the pen name for the husband-and-wife writing team of Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril) proves that a gifted storyteller can make something memorable from an overused plot in his nail-biting fourth novel featuring Det. Insp. Joona Linna (after 2013’s The Fire Witness). Jurek Walter has been confined to an ultrasecure psychiatric ward near Stockholm for 13 years after being convicted of just two of the more than 20 murders he is suspected of having committed. Joona, who has always believed that Jurek had an accomplice, is vindicated when Mikael Kobler-Frost, a crime writer’s son who was thought to have been killed by Jurek, manages to escape captivity and provides some information about his captor, whom he calls the Sandman. Mikael’s revelation that his sister, who disappeared with him, is also still alive prompts the police to attempt a dangerous gambit: sending Insp. Saga Bauer into Jurek’s ward posing as a patient to try to get him to reveal enough information to rescue Felicia. Kepler doesn’t pull any punches, and his care in creating characters will make readers deeply invested in their fates. 75,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Mar.)