Friday, March 15, 2013

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Title: The Hypnotist

Author: Lars Kepler

Published: McLelland and Stewart, 2011

Series: Book 1, Joona Linna

Pages: 503

Summary: Tumba, Sweden.
A triple homicide, all of the victims from the same family, captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the grisly murders -- against the wishes of the national police. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered. 
But where can Linna begin? 
The only surviving witness is an intended victim -- the boy whose mother, father, and little sister were killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes intended for this boy to die: he has suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and Lapsed into a state of shock. He's in no condition to be questioned. Desperate for information, Linna sees one mode of recourse: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It's the sort of work that Bark had sworn he would never do again-ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have such mixed feelings about The Hypnotist that I really don’t know what to think and so my discussion of this book is probably going to be a little rambling as the thoughts I have on this book keep spinning around in my head.  I just have so much to say on the matter and no idea where to begin.

The premise of this book sounded so amazing.  I wanted to read something a little out of my comfort zone so I picked this one up last year and it sat on my shelf until the end of December.  It took me a couple of weeks to get through this book when I finally did get around to it.

It wasn’t all that I thought it would be considering the killer is revealed in under 100 pages and this book has over 500 pages so of course there had to be more to it.  I feel like the synopsis is pretty misleading as it made me thing that the book was solely focused on this family’s murder and piecing together what happened in order to find the killer and also why they did it.  Ummm yeah, that is not what this book is actually about.  It is for the first few pages but then it takes its own turns.  The main story given in the synopsis is abandoned for a good portion of the book and only resolved near the end as if the author realised they had forgotten all about that angle earlier on.

I wasn’t so keen on the drama between Erik and Simone as I found it rather unpalatable and just kind of annoying.  I really did not like either of them for their flaws.  Erik just lied all the time and it just made things so much worse that I felt like grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him hard until he started to tell the truth.  Then Simone was so untrusting and she refused to co-operate with Erik half the time, not to mention she had her own misgivings.

The ending was a little weird.  I felt like there was some closure but barely any.  Like, are we meant to expect that things just ended the way that they did and that’s just fine?  The mystery was solved but there were still so many loose ends to do with the characters that it feels incomplete.

Not to mention this book is meant to be part of a series about Joona Linna who, while he is in the book is not really all that prominent.  Sure, he’s there but for someone who is meant to be some amazing detective I sure wasn’t picking up on any of that.  I was a little confused at some of his behaviour as well.  He has a girlfriend but I was confused about his relationship with another person, was he leading this other woman on or was it a joke between them, I have no idea.

The positive is that there were some chapters that absolutely sucked me into the story and held my attention for a while.  These were scattered in amongst the parts that made me squirm in my seat.  I loved those bits so much.

Overall, I feel like The Hypnotist tried to cram too much into too little.  Yeah the book was 500 pages but a lot of it is forgettable, random dialogue and storyline that don’t really lead anywhere.  I was hoping for a mystery and while there is mystery instead of the main characters really resolving it, things kind of resolved themselves.  There is a sequel to this book and I am still so undecided on whether or not to read it.  I feel like The Hypnotist had so much potential to be amazing and it just didn’t do that for me.  I think I’ll give The Nightmare a go and see if it is any better than The Hypnotist.

Source: Purchased

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