Thursday, November 08, 2018

Review: The Nightmare by Lars Kepler

Title: The Nightmare
Author: Lars Kepler
Series: Joona Linna, #2
Published: September 2018, Vintage Crime/Black Lizzard
Format: Paperback, 549 pages
Source: Personal Copy

The second book in the #1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series, The Nightmare finds Joona teaming up with a national security agent to find the link between two mysterious, seemingly unrelated deaths.

One summer night, police discover the lifeless body of a young woman on an abandoned yacht. She appears to have drowned, but it's clear she was never in the water. The next day, a man is found hanging in his completely empty apartment. It seems like a suicide, but the circumstances are suspicious.

Detective Joona Linna is called in to investigate, and, with the help of a young Swedish Security Police detective named Saga Bauer, he soon discovers a surprising connection between the two deaths. With more lives at stake, Joona and Saga must fight to stop a killer who always seems to be one step ahead. Ultimately the case will lead them into the shadowy world of international arms trafficking, where they are forced to confront a ruthless psychopath.

My thoughts: I am so glad to have found this series...while it is dark and disturbing, I absolutely love it!!! And yes, I did start with book 4, The Sandman, but I have loved going back to the beginning and seeing how the characters develop over time. 

I liked that this book is creepy and dark and utterly thrilling. The characters are all complicated and the story lines keep you hooked from start to finish. While it does delve into a bit of politics, I never felt it got too heavy-handed. It's actually quite a thrilling ride and the twists and turns keep it very interesting. I also loved how the use of the phrase,  "What a nightmare!" was used repeatedly during the investigation. This was definitely the theme of the book.

I feel that in this second book in the Joona Linna series, we have much more character development of Detective Joona Linna than we did in book 1. His migraine issue is explored a bit more deeply and I have to say I have so much more respect for him - I, too, suffer from these and happen to take the same medication as he does - I swear by that stuff! It does make you a bit drowsy, which is why I take it at night...but it works! But I get why he refuses to take the medication when he's working a case. We also see that his relationship with Disa is quite strained. I wonder if this is going to be one of those relationships that is an on-again/off-again one where she is always there, but they aren't always on the best of terms. And of course, we cannot forget Joona's quirk of needing to always "be right!" I think this might be my favorite characteristic of his. And apparently everyone knows it about him.

This book has the introduction of Security Police detective Saga Bauer and I have been waiting for that...knowing that she was a central figure in book 4.  It seems that she and Joona Linna work well together, as they have a similar intuition.  A lot is made of her elf-like appearance and stunning beauty. She is often not respected by her male colleagues and has to fight to be heard - she is a feisty one for sure and I am looking forward to watching her character develop throughout the series.

Because I got to see the writing duo that is Lars Kepler when they were on tour for The Sandman, I know that they act out many of the scenes that they write to make sure that they get them just right. And as I was reading this book, I kept wondering just how many of them they had to do that for...for instance, did they have to do that when Joona used Frippe to show how the young woman was most likely murdered on the yacht?  These are the questions I asked as I read each scene...I could actually see the writing duo acting out each complicated scene and it made me enjoy the writing that much more, knowing that they took the time to get it just right!

While I will say this book was a bit slow to start, it did eventually pick up speed and I had a hard time putting it down. I loved all the character development we got and am anxious to get my hands on the next book as we are left with a rather interesting thread about Joona Linna that I can't wait to find out more about...

Books in this series:  
  1. The Hypnotist
  2. The Nightmare
  3. The Fire Witness - out in US (re-release) - Nov 27, 2018
  4. The Sandman
  5. Stalker - out in US Feb 5, 2019

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