I love a good thriller, one that captures you from the opening lines....The Sandman, the newest North American release from Lars Kepler, had me hooked....
"His bloody hand has started to freeze as he carries on walking. His name is Mikael Kohler-Frost. He has been missing for thirteen years, and was declared dead seven years ago."
And only a few pages later..."Even though Jurek Walter is Sweden's worst-ever serial killer, he is completely unknown to the public."
But he is known to Detective Inspector Joona Linna.
Linna is an enigmatic character, but an intuitive and tenacious investigator. He sees the clues and likes to 'get into the killer's head' as well. There are secrets in his own life that have only slowly been revealed over the course of the last three books. That plot line is expanded on and woven into the main storyline in The Sandman with great effect. I was glad to see Saga Bauer, a cop with a damaged psyche, return as well. She and Linna are both unpredictable characters that intrigue me.
I've used the word creepy before to describe Kepler's books and I would use it to again to describe The Sandman. The settings, the plot, the characters and their actions are all unsettling, keeping readers on their toes - and looking under the bed. There is violence in the book, but it is the prelude, the knowing that something is going to happen and the not knowing when, that ramps up the tension and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Kepler captures the fears of nightmares and insidiously weaves then into his books.
There is no predicting where Kepler's plots will go. I am surprised every time, which I appreciate. I read a lot of mysteries and thriller, so being kept off kilter is refreshing. Read an excerpt of The Sandman.
Whoever is designing the covers for Kepler's book is doing a great job - they're disquieting and chilling before you even turn a page. Neil Smith was the translator for the this book and he did a great job - no wooden phrases or awkward language.
The Sandman is the fourth book in the series and I think it's my favourite so far, although they're all fantastic reads. And I loved the ending. Now more than ever, I'll be waiting and watching for the fifth in this series - The Stalker, due out in N.A. in 2015. You can keep up with this husband and wife writing team on Facebook - Lars Kepler.