Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Review: The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler

Title: The Fire Witness 
Author: Lars Kepler
Series: Joona Linna, #3
Published: November 2018, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Format: Paperback, 560 pages
Source: Personal copy 

The third installment of the #1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series, The Fire Witness sees Joona drawn into a gruesome, mysterious murder at a home for wayward girls.

Detective Joona Linna is on leave dealing with personal and professional issues when he gets pulled into the investigation of a horrific murder at a home for wayward teenage girls. One girl is dead, and another is missing. The local police want to close the case quickly, especially after they discover a bloody hammer under the missing girl's bed. But a woman claiming to see visions of the murdered girl insists there is more going on than meets the eye, and Joona is inclined to believe her. As he digs deeper into the case, he finds himself in dark and dangerous territory. This compelling thriller will have you turning pages long into the night.

My thoughts: I have loved going back to the beginning of this series...being able to read books 1-3 after starting with book 4, The Sandman earlier this year. This is by far one of the best crime fiction series I am currently reading, despite the fact that it is extremely dark and disturbing. It's one of those series where once you start reading a book, you find yourself completely hooked and addicted.

This latest installment finds Detective Joona Linna on leave, but that doesn't seem to find him from getting involved in a case that is so chilling and disturbing it just might give you nightmares. This book, maybe more so than the other books I've read so far in this series, really got under my skin because of the subject matter - it dealt with the death and abuse of young teen girls. As I've mentioned in previous reviews of the books in this series - you really do need to approach these books with caution as they are certainly not for the faint of heart.

There are quite a lot of moving parts to this story and it might seem that it's a lot to keep track of, but this is the type of book where you end up reading huge chunks of it at a time because of the addicting nature of the story. You just become so consumed with what is going on and have this compulsive need to see what is going to happen next. And between the short chapters and the many mini-cliffhangers that many of the chapters end with, you just can't help but continue reading.

As we have in the previous books, we continue to learn more about Joona Linna himself. We delve into his background a bit here, his family life such as it is. He is on a mission while he is supposedly on leave and this mission was a thread that was first started in the previous book. This right here is why I love reading series in order...that organic development of characters in the way the authors created them. And this is a thread that will continue in the next book.

I was surprised, though, in this installment, that Security Police Detective Saga Bauer only had a minor role, after being introduced in that last book. I thought she would be a main character moving forward, especially knowing the role she plays in book 4. I guess not. It will be interesting to see what happens in book 5.

I'm now caught up and ready for book 5, Stalker, which comes out in the states in February. I think, though, that I am going to skim book 4, The Sandman, in preparation - again, more for that continuation of the character development than anything else. I only read the book in February, but I have read quite a few other books since then! 

Books in this series:  
  1. The Hypnotist
  2. The Nightmare
  3. The Fire Witness 
  4. The Sandman
  5. Stalker - out in US Feb 5, 2019


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