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

‘I could not put the book down until I read the last page, sleep rendered irrelevant.’ This is exactly what happened when I picked up The Hypnotist written by Lars Kepler.

Detective Joona Linna is assigned a a gruesome triple homicide that takes place in Tumba, Sweden. The killer is still at large and there is one surviving witness, the boy whose family was killed. The boy is barely conscious, he is in a fragile state mentally and psychically. Detective Linna needs information from the boy. As time is running out to find the killer he concludes that hypnotism is the only way to get information he needs. He enlist the help of Dr. Erik Maria, who swore never to use hypnotism as a form of treatment. He breaks his promise and hypnotizes the boy, unraveling a chain of horrific events.

The story is told from multiple points of view, but Joona and Erik’s point of view dominates. They alternated back and forth through the novel. I understood why it was done this way as there universe or story created in the book links several characters , and the point of view was only switched when there was a character that needed to contribute relevant information.

The book explores the heavy theme of sexual and mental abuse against women and children. This theme unfolds itself page by page with a gripping hold over the mind as the worst scenarios play out, contributing to the dark and twisted tone of the novel. There are various issues explored in the novel but this particular one stands out to me. The book has a dark and dreary tone, and has twisty and psychotic characters, all coming together to make a compelling psychological thriller/mystery novel.

The atmosphere and setting in the novel amplifies the dreary and dark tone of the novel, and is one of the many factors kept me turning the page. Another element I enjoyed about the book was the location or setting; Sweden. The book offers a look into the socetial issues in a country that is rarely written about. Propelling me to ask questions and find out more about the country in Europe and its unheard of social issues.

The experience was intense, and it was definitely an emotional roller coaster. The hypnotist is a compelling read and is bound to leave a mark on your mind after you turn the last page.

RATING: 4.5/5

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