Source: Review Copy
Publication: 14th January 2020 in the USA from Knopf
Ten little rabbits, all dressed in white
Tried to get to heaven on the end of a kite.
Kite string got broken, down they all fell,
Instead of going to heaven, they all went to…
It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die.
A masked stranger stands in the shadows. He watches his victim through the window. He will kill him slowly—make him pay.
Soon the Rabbit Hunter has claimed another three victims. This predator will stop at nothing to reap his ultimate revenge. It’s up to Joona Linna and Saga Bauer to untangle one of the most complex cases of their career, and follow the killer’s trail of destruction back to one horrific night of violence.
The Rabbit Hunter is the sixth book in the Joona Linna series and to get the most from this book, I strongly recommend that you start with the first in the series, The Hypnotist and progress from there. It is so worthwhile as although each book has a stand-alone case to be solved, Joona Linna’s own back story is so deliciously good and interesting that it makes all the books really sing.
Though this is quite a big book, it doesn’t feel that way because the chapters are short and the writing pacy, so time just flies by as you are reading.
Lars Kepler books are not for the faint-hearted. They are dark, gory and violent and The Rabbit Hunter is no exception. Following on from the difficult times that Saga Bauer and Linna went through in the fifth book, Stalker, Joona Linna is now languishing in a high security prison.
A Swedish Foreign Minister has been murdered in weird circumstances and there are no clues as to who might be responsible. Stockholm is on edge and the police are under severe pressure to solve this murder, not least because other murders follow fast behind.
The reader meets The Rabbit Hunter early on in the chapter and we are left in no doubt that this is seriously disturbed killer whose perverted mind enjoys inflicting slow, tortuous death.
The authorities, with the express blessing of the Swedish Prime Minister, come to Joona Lina with a deal. Help Superintendent Saga Bauer find the killer, and in return he will have earned his freedom.
Current thinking is that these murders are politically motivated acts of terrorism but Joona Linna, following this through, realises that there is something much deeper and more personal going on. This is a ruthless and efficient serial killer but the twisted acts of violence point him to an historic reasoning behind the serial killer’s twisted thinking.
Seeking a connection between the victims, he realises that they all hear a child chanting a nursery rhyme about rabbits and then, exactly 19 minutes later, they are brutally murdered.
Joona Linna will have to go back in time to investigate events of 30 years ago to find out why these people have died at the hands of a sadistic killer.
The book is tense and thrilling as the suspense mounts and Linna once again puts his life on the line to expose a scandal that goes back decades.
Verdict: Another taut and disturbing read from this writing duo. Light on characterisation, The Rabbit Hunter relies on the twisted and disturbing killings to keep the reader’s attention focussed. Not the best Kepler I have read, but still an enjoyable and completely engaging contribution to the series.
LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number one internationally bestselling Joona Linna series has sold more than twelve million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.