Monday, July 25, 2011

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Another contender in the "next Stieg Larsson" contest, THE HYPNOTIST begins with the murder of three members of a family.  Only one teenaged boy and his missing elder sister survived.  Dr. Erik Maria Bark is called in to hypnotize the the boy in an attempt to gain information about the murder and, perhaps, prevent the missing sister from being murdered as well.  When Bark practiced hypnotism many years ago on victimes of extreme psychological and physical trauma, something went terribly wrong and his career almost ended permanently.  At the time, he vowed never to practice hypnotism again. Inspector Joona Linna convinces Bark that it is a matter of life and death. When Bark finally hypnotized the boy, it sets off an unexpected and possibly lethal chain of events.

I thought this book had a clever premise.  I liked the idea of throwing hypnosis into a thriller as a method of detection in crime cases and it was interesting to see what hidden "truths" that hypnosis could bring up in the different characters. However,  the book itself was structured in a bizarre way. The book begins with one story that is really exciting and intriguing but then this storyline gets derailed about 1/3 of the way through the book. The last 2/3 of the book are a completely different story.  There are lots of good ideas in the book but they never seem to go anywhere.  Just when I started to get interested in a storyline, the authors switched to something else.  It just didn't work.

BOTTOM LINE: Not recommended. While there are some good ideas here, the book isn't well executed. I felt as if it tried to go in too many different directions.  There are too many good thrillers out right now to justify spending time on this one.

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