a very ranty (possibly biased) book review

Take the title VERY seriously, okay?


Recently I, after what seemed like a million years, finished ready this Swedish book called “The Hypnotist” by a Swedish couple who go by the pseudonym of Lars Kepler. It’s crime-thriller and to be very honest, even before I began the book, i knew nothing good was going to come of it because I know for a fact that I absolutely cannot survive crime-thrillers. Or even thrillers for that matter (exceptions exist, of course) but you know the optimistic bugger i can be.

So I decided to read it anyway and found myself more disappointed than ever. It was a really messy disappoint though because I actually was enjoying the book in bits and pieces as and when I was reading it but the minute I was done, an overwhelming feeling of dismay prevailed over me. So here I am: ranting it out.

Let me start by giving you a summary of it. The story revolves around a Hypnotist Eric Maria Bark, a Detective Investigator Joona Linna and a family who has been brutally murdered except for one surviving eye-witness – the son, and a daughter who can be found nowhere. The son has a hundred knife wounds on his body, just like the rest of the dead family, and has collapsed into a state of shock.

Sounds okay? Yes, I thought so too.
But as I progressed, I realised the summary has nothing to do with the actual plot of the book. I think you can call this a “plot twist” right? Okay then, let’s call it that.
So this plot twist basically takes you into the past of the Hypnotist, linking it to the present of story of the missing daughter and a few more characters who only seem to exist in retrospect. There’s also the failed marriage life of the Hypnotist and a very pointless yet descriptive relationship of Joona Linna. He is portrayed as a very “stubborn” successful detective who follows his gut instincts more than anyone else (cliche much?) – which may appear to be a very impressive characteristic, but somehow it just doesn’t seem to fit anywhere. Just like a lot of other aspects of the book, this too hangs there like a thread almost at the verge of coming out but not quite there yet.

The book spans over, i think, a week (or maximum 10 days) only. There are lots of integral characters and for some reason the writer duo feels the need to give us multiple different perspectives on every situation. Of course, in certain parts of the book this works brilliantly by adding to its suspense and the thrill of wanting to know “what next?” but it also makes it incredibly slow in some parts.

But it’s not ALL that bad, the book does speed up and get better in the last 200 pages and you almost want to binge read the book into the night, but then something changes your mind and you decide to put it down.

I think, no matter how anti a particular genre you might be, a good crime-thriller should be able to give you the chills, right? Or at least make you want to read further. This book just did not. Maybe it got lost in translation, may be not.

But then again that’s just me because a friend of mine ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. So i can’t really say now, can I?


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