The Nightmare – Lars Kepler

Setting: Stockholm, Sweden. (Yes, Again. I may have to visit, someday.)

Story: The police discover the body of a young woman who has, apparently, drowned. But she is on an abandoned boat. Her two companions are missing. What’s going on? Separately, the police discover the body of a senior civil servant, hanging in his apartment. He has apparently committed suicide. How did his housekeeper know in advance? Although he shouldn’t be doing it, Detective Inspector Joona Linna gets involved in sorting out fact from theory, as a deadly assassin seeks to kill the people who actually know the answers.

Good Stuff: Another page turner that, once it got going about halfway on, kept me awake until I had finished. The bringing together of the various strands is nimbly done, and there’s a decent spread of well drawn characters. (For example, Penelope, the committed peace activist, Alex, the troubled former violinist, and Saga, Linna’s foil on the police, are solid pieces of work.) Linna is a powerful character, and his presence acts as a great spark for some interesting encounters.  The action scenes are tense and exciting. The nightmare of the book title is one that you slowly understand, and it’s an unpleasant dose of evil that has been hidden behind the plot’s early development. That plot is well designed, well unwrapped, and not too fanciful. There are more than enough twists, and the whole package is generally top notch.

Not So Good Stuff: The message from the author – about an evil afoot in the modern world – is a little bit heavy handed. I would have edited out more of it, as the point is made with plenty of text to spare. Linna’s character comes dangerously close to a super powered hero, at times. That stretches the credulity of the reader, though not to breaking point.

Score: 8/10

Note: This is the second of the four in the series (so far). In order, – with links to my reviews – they are: The Hypnotist, The Nightmare, The Fire Witness, and The Sandman. You can tell I am not reading them in order, and that has not materially altered my enjoyment.