The Hypnotist is a thriller/crime novel by Lars Kepler, which is the pen name for the Swedish couple Alexander Ahndoril & Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. Exactly, a book written by a couple. Maybe you are now sceptic as I was. But let’s go to the point.
As it is very difficult to talk about a crime novel without spoilers, I will divide this review into two parts:
FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT READ THE NOVEL
The Hypnotist is an entertaining novel. It opens with a brutal family murder, whose survivors are only the little brother and his older sister. In order to make the boy talk about what happened, they call Erik Maria Bark, a hypnotist specialized in dealing with people who experienced a traumatic event. The problem is Erik quit hypnotism 10 years ago, so he is quite reluctant to practice it again. But in the end he does it. What the lad tells is, of course, shocking, making Erik’s past come back and haunt him and his family once more. Co-Protagonist of the novel is Joona Linna, the most stereotypical police officer you can ever meet: a sexy man with a foreign accent surrounded by women, self-assured and, surprise surprise, he says he’s always right (and in the novel he will always be right, of course). If you are familiar with crime novels you will probably find him annoying.
The novel is a very enjoyable reading on the whole, and it has its moment. You will find it wonderful if you are new to the genre crime/thriller. It is also informative, in some pages, about Swedish culture or about the hypnotism world. It is also well written (I read it in Italian translation and it was a very fluent language). But don’t expect to find the new Stieg Larrson, as the Italian cover suggests. It’s not that.
FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY READ THE NOVEL
Was that 100 pages flashback so necessary? I mean, there were many other ways to present all these characters which will play a key role in the final plot. It was interesting but I think it abruptly interrupts the rhythm of the story and I had the impression that they did it because at some point they wanted to write using a first person narrator.
Question numnber 2: Can a woman, whose haemophiliac son is kidnapped somewhere and could die any moment now, have the lucidity to betray her man (come on, that was kinda betrayal) and go with the first collegue who says I like you? And how hysterical is a character in a novel allowed to be?
As I already said, I liked it but there are books which I found much more addciting, like The Chemistry of death. That was what I personally define as “crime novel addiction”.