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The Hypnotist

(Joona Linna #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  54,615 ratings  ·  4,212 reviews
Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die
Hardcover, 503 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published January 2nd 2009)
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Darren Douglas I was about to write the exact same thing, it just dragged on didn't it! My argument being, it shunted the flow of the book and was quite unnecessary.…moreI was about to write the exact same thing, it just dragged on didn't it! My argument being, it shunted the flow of the book and was quite unnecessary. A slog even. I just didn't like the past tense prose when the rest of the book was nicely flowing in the present tense, took me right out of the story. I would have written it differently, like the stuff about the patients are reiterated back to the detective, it just wasn't needed for us to have a detailed account of all the patients, it just kept repeating itself. Other than that the rest of the book was great. (less)
Alyson Read It was the fact that he used hypnosis again after promising to Lydia that he would not. It was reported in the media that he did so, and this is what …moreIt was the fact that he used hypnosis again after promising to Lydia that he would not. It was reported in the media that he did so, and this is what set off her mental health problems again and led to her wanting revenge on Erik. Without the hypnosis of Josef the rest of the book would not have happened. Does that help?(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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(B+) 76% | Good
Notes: Spends a lot of time building up elaborate red herrings; successor developments being progressively less compelling.
I wish someone would hypnotize me and erase the memory of reading this book.

OK, it isn’t that bad from a writing standpoint and basic premise, but it had a lot of buzz that I didn’t think it came close to living up to. Slapping that “The Next Stieg Larsson!”* label on any new Swedish thriller is probably automatic at this point, but it sets up a reader up for disappointment when there’s no character anywhere near as interesting as Lisbeth Salander around. Extra disappointing when most of the cha
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
”They’d thought he was dead when they found him among the other bodies in the terraced house. He’d lost a great deal of blood, gone into a state of shock, and hadn’t regained consciousness until seven hours later.

He was the only surviving witness.

Detective Joona Linna was certain that the boy would be able to provide valuable information, possibly even identify the killer

But if the other circumstances had not been so exceptional, it would never even have occurred to anyone to turn to a hypnoti
May 19, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to wait until the very last moment, and beyond to give my opinion of a book. I absolutely, positively, with every fiber of my being hated this book. I can't even remember the main characters names. I just known that he was awfully prideful. He thought he was an ace investigator. Nope, not really. He was told he was a great dancer....he agreed. I was embarrassed. No, this is not a character I would give a hoot about. Lars Kepler isn't actually any author that I would care to read anything ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of the Millenium trilogy
Recommended to Eric by: Library
I really liked this novel, and would have given it four stars if not for three things that irked me about the way it was written.

1) The authors (this was written by a married couple) use the present tense in narration (e.g. Joona walks into the room and sits down). At first, I thought there was a compelling reason for this, but after finishing the book, I can't come up with anything, except perhaps that it was poorly translated into English -- do Swedish authors normally write in present tense?
Aug 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
I suppose I should say this is a spoiler alert. Read on at your own risk. I continue to be amazed by people's reviews. Many ( most) always begin by giving a summation of the plot. This is stupid and totally unnecessary. People already know what the book is about. Personal Reviews should tell what the reader thought. This is an amazingly hyped book. I would suppose that every publishing company wants to discover the next Steig Larrsen. Obviously, Its not that easy. First you need to be able to wr ...more
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
In this debut novel, Lars Kepler lays out the groundwork for a stunning and highly intense thriller. A boy is found clinging to life at home with his family slaughtered all around him. Detective Joona Linna is called upon to solve the case and becomes convinced that, with a little probing, all can be revealed and the killer caught, as long as the sole witness remembers what he saw. Joona turns to hypnosis in order to unlock those horrific memories of the event. Calling upon Eric Maria Bark, a ps ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-said, 2011
This is a very dark, horrific story that ranks high in creepiness. Seriously it left me feeling like I needed to take a shower and wash the creep away. The cover would have you beleive that it is comparable to Silence of the Lambs or Stieg Larsson's Millenium series but I have to disagree with that. Now I love a good mystery, better still if it happens to be a thriller where life and death hang in the balance as they race to find and stop the villian. The Hypnotist certainly contains all of thes ...more
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thrillers
I have never read such an amazing twisting novel.There are not words to express how super this book was.I can only give praise to the authors.

Erik Maria Bark, talented doctor whose specialty is the treatment of seriously traumatized persons, formerly also with hypnotize, is called to Karolinska hospital, where a 15-year-old boy lies severely injured - the only survivor of a family massacre in the outskirts of Stockholm.

It turns out that the boy has an older sister who's disappeared, and there's
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: yikes
Sweden, what is going on there? On one hand, this is a pretty good book. Joona Linna is everything you want in a police inspector - ruggedly good-looking, arrogant yet polite, and always right (my favorite line? "I'm not usually wrong and I believe we're going to find your son." Tell me, Joona, do you ever tell someone, "I'm not usually wrong & I think your son is long gone"?). The story is genuinely creepy - when Simone is awakened in the night by someone giving her an injection & she stumbles ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
(PLOT SPOILERS in paragraph 1)

I have never read a book with such a strong start. From the very first page I was convinced the story had a carefully structured premise and then somewhere in the middle...KABOOM!!! I found myself wondering:who is the protagonist? What about the murder? What about detective Joona Linna???? I want to know more about Linna..And what about Evelyn??? She sank her teeth into the throat of an officer... Will you not say something about this??

Tthe first half of the book wa
Stephanie Harris
Jul 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read it so you don't have to. You are welcome. This book is laughably and infuriatingly terrible. I only finished it because I paid for it, dammit, and wanted to see how terrible it would actually get, God help me. Almost all the characters are unlikeable. It begins with the detective as seemingly the main character with a dark event in his past, which, unless I missed it, IS NEVER EXPLAINED. But never mind, because the book is really not about him, it is about the hypnotist. Fair enough, sinc ...more
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
I read Stalker first (Book 5) and enjoyed it so much I decided to go back to the beginning.

The Hypnotist, there is a lot going on in this book and it did get a bit confusing at times. Once I got into it, I was hooked especially the last 80 pages of so.

The book starts with the discovery of an entire family brutally murdered in their house. As the police are checking for any survivors of this horrific massacre, they realise the young son is clinging to life… he is in a coma and taken to hospital.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a read
Tour de force

105 chapters .. one leading to the other

Tears and shock

Solid start of a series
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I was interested, and at times, gripped by this book, especially in the beginning and at the end. However, there were times I was bored, not really reading intensely, anxious for progress. I think the book was just too long. I felt the dialogue was stilted and that's probably due to translation. There were things happening that didn't seem relevant to the story. I probably won't read anything more by these authors. ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
This book was nothing like I thought it would be. An avid crime reader and lover of the darker crime stuff out there I thought this would be chilling, terrifying and spectacular based on reviews by both well known and lesser known reviewers. Was I reading a different book? As this book did not throw up anything like that my way.

When a whole family is murdered in Stockholm, DI Joona Linna knows there is only one person who can find the perpetrator. Erik Maria Bark, retired hypnotist, is called i
Aug 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Any review of this book should really just be a video of me giggling. My God this book was stupid.

Conflict was based on stupid sitcom style miss-communication, the horribly injured boy with the deflated lung runs around stabbing people with impunity, the police are ridiculously incompetent, (view spoiler)
Mar 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, I didn't like the psychiatrist character specialized in hypnosis. He made so many stupid decisions about his patients' lives that I would never trust in this doctor. Second, this hypnotist's wife is unstable psychologically: her son was kidnapped from her family's home by someone who probably had a copy of her apartment's keys; then this woman decides to break up from her stupid psychiatrist husband and have sex in this apartment where her extremely sick son had been kidnapped, and he is ...more
Karen Struffert
I can't say I didn't like this book. I just had some issues with it. I liked the story line. Very dark, but interesting - a definite thriller! But if there's one thing I can't stand, it's unresolved plot twists. So if anyone can help me with these, please feel free...

1. When Evelyn Ek is being consoled by a female police officer after hearing about her family's demise and disclosing some info about her disturbed and disturbing brother, she bites the officer in the neck and actually causes a blee
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordic-noir
This could have been so good, but there are way too many unresolved and unexplained tangents to this tale. The narrative jumps from one murder case to the next with no real explanation, I was expecting the connection to be explained nearer the end, but there just isn't one! It's like the writers had two plot ideas they really liked and couldn't choose between the two, so just sort of smooshed them together, resulting in something not quite as good as either idea would have been on its own. The u ...more
Kat Dietrich
The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler is the 1st in the Detective Joona Linna series.

Series Background:
Homicide Detective Joona Linna works for the National Criminal Investigation Department in Sweden. His father was a policeman who was killed on the job when Joona was 12, so he was raised by his mother. After his military service as a paratrooper, he was recruited into Special Operations, and qualified for special training in the Netherlands in mixed close combat, innovative weaponry, and urban guerrill
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
The 1st book in the Joona Linna series by Lars Kepler.
A very good novel that takes a while to get going but it is worth the wait, The characters and the plot are well laid out and the book is an excellent start to the series.
Tonile {My Cup and Chaucer}
I finished Lars Kepler’s The Hypnotist yesterday and again found myself wanting to leave a good 24 hours or so for the book to sink in before I reviewed it. I mentioned to a good friend of mine earlier in the week that I wanted to read another Scandinavian crime novel soon, and this was an old reading copy I had on my desk. I noticed that it was already available in stores and figured I should get my act together and read it. I think I am pleased that I did...

I won’t lie about it; there will be
Deborah Gray
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have never read anything darker, more forboding, more utterly tormented than Swedish thrillers...and continue to come back for more. When they are done well, as this is, there is nothing more insistently suspenseful and satisfyingly terrifying.

Erik Maria Bark is a highly regarded psychotherapist specializing in acute trauma. He is also a disgraced hypnotist. Ten years ago, he swore a solemn, public oath never to perform hypnosis again. And yet, dragged from his bed early in the morning by a d
Sheila Beaumont
Excellent Swedish crime thriller!

This book shows how important a good translation is. Back in 2011, when The Hypnotist was first published, I tried to read it, and it was a slog, seemingly quite badly written. Then, in 2018, a re-translated, re-edited version was published by Vintage Crime. This translation is much superior to the earlier one, so this is definitely the one to read.

There are six entries in the Joona Linna series so far, and I intend to read them all.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed by this book. It started out with a big bang and had a really good premise, but then it all just fell to hell, becoming a clown car of horrible sadists who just kept parading out of the story in a never-ending line, doing the most awful things imaginable. I'm no horror novice and it takes a lot to shock or offend me, but it was just the multitude of sadists in this book which was so off-turning. Like there are all these terrible murderers and torturers around every corn ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erik Maria Bark has been studying hypnosis for several years. After a session that went wrong, he decided to give up this technique for good. 10 years later, he was called for his knowledge in the field with a kid who was found in a sorry state with his family decimated by an assassin who is still running and who risks attacking him—older sister.
Two investigations will be interwoven throughout the book. Indeed, Erik's son will be kidnapped, and we will have to go back to the psychiatrist's past
Linda Strong
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
The premise of the story is a good one. Bodies of a family are found butchered. There are no survivors except for the teenaged son who is lying at death's door. Under hypnosis, the son confesses to the crime. This is where things get bit disjointed for me.

I found it confusing with the back and forth from present to past. Lots and lots of characters, which I think the author managed very nicely. I did not like the main characters. Detective Linna is a bit arrogant ...always demanding people to t
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Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series. With seven installments to date, the series has sold 13 million copies in 40 languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published seve ...more

Other books in the series

Joona Linna (8 books)
  • The Nightmare (Joona Linna, #2)
  • Eldvittnet (Joona Linna, #3)
  • The Sandman (Joona Linna, #4)
  • Stalker (Joona Linna, #5)
  • Kaninjägaren (Joona Linna, #6)
  • Lazarus (Joona Linna #7)
  • Spegelmannen (Joona Linna, #8)

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