Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Stalker by Lars Kepler

Alright, readers. I've tried to write a blurb for this book so many times and it's just not happening. I'll defer to the very vague one that appears on Goodreads:

The police receive a video of a woman in her home. Hours later, they discover her mutilated body. Soon after, the killer sends another tape, taunting the police. He knows there's nothing they can do.

Only Joona Linna and his old friend Erik Maria Bark can stop this cunning predator. But Bark is hiding secrets of his own--secrets the killer knows.

This is a twisted and dark mystery! I'm not kidding. The book opens with one of the victims. She's having a normal night at home, waiting for her husband to get back from a business trip, and there's a killer in her house. You can probably imagine where that's going.

The book offers quite a few different perspectives throughout the book: the main investigator on the case, Margot (who's massively pregnant), Erik, Joona, and various others all offer up bits of the story. In some cases this might adversely affect the flow of the narrative, but that wasn't the case here.

In fact, the story moves rather quickly. Which is good because this is a bit of a doorstopper for a thriller!

The plot is interesting and seriously quirky. I haven't read any of the previous books in the series, so I assume this is a style thing for the authors. Yep, authors. Lars Kepler are a husband and wife writing duo who, as an aside, tried their damnedest to stay anonymous. There was serious fervor in their native Sweden to find out just who was behind the pseudonym!

This should give you a sense of just how mad people are for Lars Kepler! I can't say that I was quite that impressed with the book. I did like it, I just didn't LOVE it. I'll be reading more—I've got The Hypnotist queued up from the library and I am looking forward to it. For me, though, there was something missing in the reading and I think it likely is the fact that this is the fifth book in the series.

Ok, so like I said, I've never read Lars Kepler. This one was the first pick for a new online book club that I joined on Instagram. And it's Scandi-crime. And I was certain that I had the first book in my TBR (I was wrong about that last one, or I just can't find it in the mess of my bookshelves).

Also, the folks who picked it were clear about the fact that it's the fifth book in a series and I can confirm that it's ok to read on its own. For the most part. I personally think I would have had a stronger connection to the characters had I read the other books first. Also, there are two spoilery issues: First, Erik is actually in the first book of the series The Hypnotist. Second, Joona Linna doesn't actually appear until about halfway (maybe not quite that far) into the book because he's in hiding thanks to things that happen in The Sandman (which I actually did already have in my TBR).

Stalker is out now in paperback and the sixth book in the series is out now in hardcover. The full series order, if you're interested, is:

The Hypnotist
The Nightmare
The Fire Witness
The Sandman
The Rabbit Hunter

If you're into Scandi-crime, you should definitely check this series out. My recommendation, though, would be to start at the beginning.

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