cover image Stalker: A Joona Linna Novel

Stalker: A Joona Linna Novel

Lars Kepler, trans. from the Swedish by Neil Smith. Knopf, $27.95 (592p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3226-4

Kepler’s stellar fifth Joona Linna novel finds Joona, who faked his death in 2018’s The Sandman to protect his family from a serial killer, replaced as the Swedish National Police Authority’s expert on “serial killers, spree killers, and stalkers” by Margot Silverman. In Margot’s baffling first case, Maria Carlsson, an Ikea product adviser, was stabbed repeatedly in her home, and her facial features were almost completely effaced. Maria’s killer posted a video of Maria putting on tights, filmed from her garden, to YouTube shortly before the murder. Before Margot can make any progress, another video is posted—of a woman eating ice cream and watching TV—that also is followed by bloody slaughter. Joona reenters the picture after he learns that his nemesis is dead, but his unconventional methods again land him in trouble. The reveal of the stalker’s identity is a genuine gut-punch, albeit fairly clued. Kepler (the pen name for the husband-and-wife writing team of Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril) does a masterly job of elevating the serial killer thriller beyond genre clichés and tropes. 50,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Feb.)