Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Nightmare by Lars Kepler *****

The success of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series has opened the US market for Swedish authors translated into English. This is my second thriller by a Swedish author. The previous post (A Book for Today: The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankell) is in many similarities to The Nightmare by Lars Kepler.

The Nightmare is the second in a series featuring Detective Inspector Joona Linna. As with most mystery/mystery thriller protagonists, he is single. It almost seems to be a rule of fiction, that adults are single and children are orphans. Also true-to-type, he is a martial arts expert and persistent. What I liked about Joona is his hybrid approach with equal parts of logic and intuition. When his logic fails, he falls back on his intuition to find a way to move forward.

The story is about a picture and a professional killer doing his best to destroy all traces of the photograph and  anyone who might have seen it. The refreshing twist is that Joona is overshadowed by Penelope Fernandez. While not possessing Joona's super-human fighting and deductive skills, Penelope has a strength of character that allows her to escape and outwit this professional killer over and over, while he leaves a path of death and damage.

A wonderful chase with surprises and clever twists. Don't start it until you have time to finish it.

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