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Stalker by Lars Kepler

June 24, 2017

CLOSE THE CURTAINS

A film arrives at Stockholm’s National Crime Investigation Department showing a woman in her own home, plainly unaware she is being watched. The police don’t take it seriously … until she is found murdered.

LOCK THE DOOR

When the next video arrives, Detective Margot Silverman frantically attempts to identify the victim. But it’s already too late. Because at the time the video was sent, the killer was already inside their house…

BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

Soon Stockholm is in the grip of terror. Who will the Stalker target next?

 

Someone is stalking people in their homes. This scandi-noir crime novel is a dark and chilling thriller that really ramps up the tension and is not a book to read on a dark night when you are alone and the wind is whistling outside.

This is the 5th book in the Joona Linna series, and works OK as a standalone novel, though I did wish I had read the others in the series to understand the background to Joona Linna. Because this is not a straightforward police procedural/psychological thriller. A heavily pregnant DS Margot Silverman is leading the National Criminal Investigation Division hunt for a serial killer who films his victims and uploads the films to YouTube. In this hunt she is joined by former Police Detective Joona Linna and Psychologist Erik Maria Bark.

This gives us an ex-policeman and a rogue psychologist, both with expert knowledge of this type of killer, but, for their own reasons, working both inside and outside the scope of the formal police investigation.

This allows the author some licence in the types of investigative procedures used, and it’s fair to say some of their procedures are less than orthodox.

For Joona, it is an especially difficult time. He has just come out of hiding and has recently allowed his daughter to go and study abroad. This has left him completely rootless, with no money and no home. But once he hears the details of this case, he is compelled to stay and look into it – and he becomes convinced that only he can find and catch the perpetrator.

For Eric Bark, the case is more than an obsession. A link to a previous case he was involved him has made him re-think whether he should have told the police all he knew about the killer who is now safely locked up in a psychiatric hospital. As he begins a new relationship, his conscience troubles him and he must find out once and for all whether he has helped to convict the right man.

Although I did enjoy this, as well as finding it very chilling and indeed quite harrowing in places, for me the plot didn’t quite hang together well enough. There were moments when I had to suspend my disbelief, and others, such as a murder of a colleague’s wife, when I felt that this event had simply been skated over.

In the end, I felt that the book could have benefitted from a more judicious edit, though I still enjoyed it. I’d have liked more of the D.S. Silverman character too. She was somewhat overshadowed by Linna, yet her doggedness and determination clearly make her a cop to be reckoned with.

Stalker is published by Harper Collins and is available now

Amazon                                Waterstones

About the author

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril & Alexander Ahndoril, both critically-acclaimed writers. Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril’s first novel Stjärneborg (Castle of Stars) has been translated in several languages while Alexander Ahndoril’s novel The Director, about Ingmar Bergman, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. They live in Sweden. The Hypnotist is the first in a series featuring Detective Inspector Joona Linna.

From → Crime, Thriller

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