Publication: March 6th 2018 from Knopf
Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier, he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital.
Now Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman.
Years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna made an excruciating personal sacrifice to ensure Jurek’s capture. He is keenly aware of what this killer is capable of, and now he is certain that Jurek has an accomplice.
He knows that any chance of rescuing Mikael’s sister depends on getting Jurek to talk, and that the only agent capable of this is Inspector Saga Bauer, a twenty-seven-year-old prodigy.
She will have to go under deep cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and she will have to find a way to get to the psychopath before it’s too late–and before he gets inside her head.
I’m a huge fan of Lars Kepler and the Joona Linna series and The Sandman is a brilliant addition. It’s as dark as the pitch black night and as riveting as the smell of roast chicken at a fast.
One of The Sandman’s victims, Mikael, has escaped and is found wandering on train tracks. He has been missing for 13 years, abducted with his sister, Felicia, and this is the first break in the case that Linna and his team have had.
Jurek Walter, the serial killer in The Sandman, is at least as terrifying as anything you will find in a Stephen King book. He is one of those killers that even the police are afraid of and when he speaks, you can feel the prickles on the back of your neck as your skin starts to grow colder. All of this is achieved without the need for graphic descriptions of violence which in some ways makes it even creepier.
Walter is a serial killer from the Hannibal Lecter school; intelligent, cunning, resourceful and absolutely lethal. So when Joona Linna realises that Jurek holds the key to Felicia’s whereabouts he knows that the police will have to have a sound strategy in place if they are to outwit him in order to get the information they need.
Not without trepidation, Joona sends in Inspector Saga Bauer, posing as a violent mental health patient. But Saga is one of three violent patients in the psychiatric unit and yet the worst violence may not come from either of the inmates. Whether Saga can survive her ordeal without being exposed is just one of the challenges she will face as an undercover cop in this hideous place.
The Sandman is all I want from a great crime thriller. Heroic detectives putting their own safety at risk for the public good; a creepy and dangerous serial killer or two, a tight and intricately woven plot and writing that holds you spellbound until the light goes and the book is finished.
You can read this as a stand- alone; as it happens I have been reading these books out of order for a while, but it does not matter because each is a self-contained book in its own right.
I loved The Sandman – highly recommended.
About Lars Kepler
Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (b. 1966) and Alexander Ahndoril (b. 1967), authors of the internationally bestselling Joona Linna and Saga Bauer series. With six installments to date, the series has sold ten million copies in 40 languages.
The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published several acclaimed novels.
Alexander and Alexandra married in 1994 and have three daughters together. They live in central Stockholm.
ALEXANDRA COELHO AHNDORIL
Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril was born in 1966, and grew up on the south coast of Sweden. In the early 90s, Alexandra moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in acting though she eventually became an author.
In 2003, she published her critically acclaimed debut novel Stjärneborg (Stjerneborg) about the life of astronomer Tycho Brahe which received the Katapult Prize, Birgitta och Katarina (Birgitta and Katarina, 2006) about the life of Saint Birgitta of Sweden, and Mäster (2009), about the radical socialist August Palm.
In addition to her work as an author, Alexandra has also been a literary critic for two of Sweden’s largest newspapers, Göteborgs-Posten and Dagens Nyheter.
Alexander was born in 1967 and grew up twelve miles north of Stockholm. Alexander studied philosophy, religion, and film at university. His first novel was picked up when he was nineteen.
Before he began writing as Lars Kepler, he had already penned twenty theatre plays, one opera libretto, nine novels including Regissören (The Director, 2006) a novel about Ingmar Bergman. Regissören was nominated for several awards, including the prestigious Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and has been translated into 11 languages.
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