** spoiler alert **
When I read the jacket of this book, I found it be quite intriguing and considering how many people seem to love this book, I thought I would too. Instead, I’m probably one of the few people who didn’t like this book and will never read another one written by Lars Kepler. There were too many fillers; needless people and information that made it seem like it was all thrown in to make the book longer than it needed to be; and the writing to be weak and choppy and all over the place.
The synopsis reads as follows: “The Hypnotist ranks alongside the works of Steig Larsson, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Shining as one of the most compelling thrillers ever written.” What unadulterated crap! This book is no thriller and nowhere near in the league of the books it is referred to. Except for the first 65 pages, the book is quite dull.
The discovery of the butchered family is very gripping and interesting; however, once the murderer is discovered early on, the rest of the book quickly starts to sink for me. There were so many instances that were not explained or answered at all: (a) Why was there blood coming down Dr. Lars Ohlson’s leg? (b) Why did Evelyn Ek bite the officer’s neck? (c) What happened to the lady who had two under-age boys under her bed? (d) Who was Eva Blau? She’s obviously mentally disturbed and needs help, yet there is no explanation as to who she is or what purpose she serves in the book. It’s as though the writer thought to just add another crazy person in the mix to fill in the pages and to confuse the reader. (e) Why does Erik not tell Simone the truth that he never had an affair with Dr. Daniella Richards and that it was Det. Linna who borrowed Daniella’s cell phone to call Erik? (f) Why did the doctors (on the hospital board) believe Lydia and not Erik? We’re to believe that the doctors on the board are complete idiots and took the word of a mentally unstable woman, never having done a proper background check on her, to be telling the truth and not believe Erik? It’s a ridiculous notion.
As for the characters, I didn’t find anyone likable. I found Simone to be very selfish, whiny and so indecisive; separate, not separate, separate. Give me a break. She is so child-like. She continually complains to Erik, “but you have your pills.” I guess we’re supposed to be believe that she’s jealous of her husband’s addiction to sleeping pills. She blames Erik for what’s happened to their family because he helped the police locate a missing girl who is being stalked by her brother who wants to kill her - such compassion. I also found her to be very needy; unable to be on her own. The second Erik leaves and thinking no one wants to help her find her missing son, she calls her father (a retired cop) to come down and help with the investigation. She also seeks comfort from another man by sleeping with him.
I found Erik to be weak and pathetic. He doesn’t prove to Simone that he’s not having an affair or even sticks up for himself, yet turns around and wonders what’s happening to his marriage. He knows he has a drug addiction yet he does nothing to fix it. Even with all his credentials and smarts, he thinks its Eva who has kidnapped his son, not Lydia who clearly is the culprit. He pouts like a child when Simone is busy with work and forgets his birthday; this coming from a doctor who comes and goes at all hours of the day for his job.
Despite describing Detective Linna as being very handsome, blond, likeable, smart and dedicated to his job, I didn’t feel as though he was an important person or have any real presence throughout the story. I did, however, find him to be an egomaniac. Whether he calls a superior, a colleague, a friend, and even Erik, the only thing he wants to hear from them is that he’s always right.
In the end, I believe the writer’s goal was to make the readers think that the book’s plot is solely about the gruesome slaughter of a family; when in fact it’s about a kidnapped teen. I personally did not appreciate this as I felt conned. I would have given it one star, but gave it two just because I found the sub-plot (the slain family) to be an interesting read.