The Hypnotist, by Lars Kepler, Blue Door, RRP£12.99, 512 pages
DI Joona Linna brings in trauma counsellor Erik Maria Bark to interview the lone survivor of a frenzied knife attack, a comatose 15-year-old boy covered in stab-wounds. Erik isn’t just a counsellor – he’s a disgraced former hypnotist unwisely encouraged by the policeman to use his skills once more. Vilified by the press, the hypnotist’s life unravels as the killer’s next target – an elder sister, unaware of her family’s murder – is found.
Revelations about the wounded boy and his sister turn the case on its head, starting a hunt that is obstructed by some rather OTT preoccupations of Nordic crime, namely incest, addiction and sibling cruelty.
If the post-Stieg Larsson boom was ebbing, Kepler (the pseudonym of two Swedish authors) promises to revitalise the genre by bringing a sulphurous whiff of Hannibal Lecter to this case, the first in an eight-book series that has a movie adaptation in the works. It’s a pulse-pounding debut that is already a native smash.
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