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Publisher's Summary

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in 37 countries, and it has landed at the top of best-seller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first minute.

Tumba, Sweden. A triple homicide—all the victims from the same family—captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the grisly murders, against the wishes of the national police. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered.

But where can Linna begin? The only surviving witness is the boy whose mother, father, and little sister were killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes intended for this boy to die: he has suffered more than 100 knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. He’s in no condition to be questioned.

Desperate for information, Linna sees one mode of recourse: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It’s the sort of work that Bark had sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

A number-one best-selling international sensation sure to please fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell, The Hypnotist is the first novel in a series. With its pulse-pounding hooks and twists, it announces a stirring new contribution to the annals of crime fiction.

©2009 Lars Kepler (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Soon there will be Stieg Larsson crime fiction people and Lars Kepler crime fiction people: I’m hereby in the latter camp.” (Kurt Andersen, New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Watson
  • E wakefield, NH, United States
  • 07-09-11

Suspense for suspense's sake

This was not a bad book by any means, but I wouldn't say it was outstanding, either. Suspenseful crime novels tend to follow a pattern because that pattern is appealing to the reader. In this novel, what was first presented as the primary story line was abruptly resolved three quarters of the way through the book without so much as one unexpected fact, and was never referred to again. The secondary story line, at first believed to be part of the first, did not take a surprising turn but a tedious one. It did not veer shockingly, but meandered slowly through short chapters that disclosed too much too soon.
As I listened to the novel I felt anticipation, because I was waiting for an unexpected twist. Yet none of the resolutions were a surprise, and I grew impatient with the story as it threw one dramatic episode after another in front of me, seemingly to delay the conclusion of what I already knew.

As for the narrator, given the difficulty of reading a novel aloud I would give him high marks, although I did not care for the weak, whiny tone of most female and young voices.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hard to live up to the hype but great read

After reading the hype, I was not sure that this could live up to the international bestseller label, but I found myself listening compulsively. The strength was really in the body of the story and the main characters. The mystery itself and the resolution were not quite as satisfying, as peripheral characters are picked up and dropped. I heartily recommend this and will look forward to more.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie
  • South Charleston, WV, United States
  • 07-21-11

A Must Hear!

The Hypnotist has become my favorite book of 2011 and one of my all-time favorites. Well written, well narrated, and an absolute edge-of-your-seat thrill! If you want a book that will keep you guessing, make you think, and even have you making sure your doors are locked, then this one is for you.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Definitely glad I purchased this book.

The story is entirely unique and therefore the mystery is fun to see it unfurl. I found the reader irritating, but the strength of the plot made up that as well as various lack of character development. I reccomend this book, especially due to it's principal subject matter.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Giant Plot Holes

The writing style ad reader were pretty good, definitely enough to keep me listening to the end (and that's not a given!) I might try another title by this author. But there were huge gaps in timeline and logic, and poorly researched medical details, that frequently took me out of the story. I can't give details without major spoilers, butI think with experience and more available time for research, the author might be okay. I liked the characters for the most part - though the main guy's voice sounded oddly feminine despite the narrator being male. They were well developed and interesting. The plot could have been wrapped up much more tightly at the end but it wound up giving a sense of real life by not wrapping everything up perfectly.

Bottom line (and I don't know if this is the case) it reads like a second o third novel where the author is under deadline pressure, still working a day job and trying to promote his prior book while also spending time with his family.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Catherine
  • MADERA, CA, United States
  • 08-14-11

The Hypnotist

From the book description:Tumba, Sweden. A triple homicide—all the victims from the same family—captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the grisly murders, against the wishes of the national police. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered.
I was reluctant to purchase this after reading several Kindle reviews that described the book as confusing. I have to say that I really enjoyed the Audible version of this book. It had lots of twists and turns and kept me engrossed. The narrator did a superb job of giving a distinct voice to all of the characters. It was a thriller in the true sense of the word.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Disappointing... Confusing....

This listen was less than an okay story for me. Three stars are "okay" but it rates more than 2 stars.... maybe 2.5 stars. I'm not sure if was the writing style, the format, the narrator or was it because the story stopped building about midway through and became totally disjointed and somewhat confusing. But there were bits and pieces of the story that were interesting so I kept listening.

To me, it seemed that two stories were made into one by an illogical connection. It didn't seem to have a focus, the story was all over the place. The first third of so of the story was told from one character's point of view and then suddenly changed to another character's point of view. Additionally, there were flashbacks where new characters were introduced as well as new characters introduced in the present. There were no unexpected twists or turns, except for the illogical ending as it related to the central character - "the hypnotist." Also, the "why" of the story made no sense at all.

I agree with reviewer, Jennifer of Monroe, WA, that the Swedish names were hard to follow so that added to some of the confusion that I felt pretty much throughout the novel. Also, I would have preferred a more linear storyline for this novel.

I suppose the narrator was okay, hard to know since the story was confusing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Monroe, WA, United States
  • 12-22-11

Disjointed, fragmented, frustrating but alluring..

This is a very hard book to review, because after coming to the end I am trying to decide whether it was difficult because of the style of writing or characters, and whether I hated it or not, or whether my expectations influenced my final opinion of the book. I will try and do my best to give a comprehensive review and my experience reading the book without giving too much away;

First I think that the title "The Hypnotist" can be slightly misleading, because really the story is no more about the hypnotist than it is about the lead detective/the hypnotist's wife/the hypnotist's son/the suspect.... The fact that the narrative does not seem to focus on one character more than another is partially why the book has a disjointed feel. We start with the perspective of the lead detective and stay with him for long enough to get comfortable, to see the world through his eyes and his thoughts, and then we get jerked away quite suddenly to another character, which would be fine if the first person perspective went back and forth between a few characters following a linear story line, and experiencing it from their eyes, but from there it gets more confusing...
If you have seen the movie Go, or Pulp Fiction that will help to understand how the first 1/4-1/3 of this book is told, and it is confusing because you do not realize right away that you keep jumping back in time because new characters are being introduced in both the past and present. I am not sure if this is more difficult in a written format than a cinematic, because you do not have visuals to go on, and the Swedish names are already hard to follow. To make things even more confusing this format of story telling is abandoned and goes back to a linear format.

I hardily agree with other reviews that this book is in need of some MAJOR editing, because the characters that we think we should care about are in some ways abandoned and we go down literary rabbit holes as it were with story arcs about the hypnotist's wife's affair, their son spending time with a girl friend in a mall, all seem perfunctory and do not have much (if anything) to do with the central point of the story, which itself get's lost *(more about that in a minute).
This book I think is all the more frustrating because it is not so out rightly bad that you would just stop reading, instead you keep thinking there must be some big reveal, that things are all going to come together in the end (they don't). But with the afore mentioned film "Go" the storytelling tightens everything up, brings the story together, and the different plot lines come together for a satisfying whole, this book does the opposite, the storytelling makes the plot spread out like an ink stain, and rather than everything coming together, everything seems to spread apart into fragmented pieces.
*Now to address my earlier comment about what we think is the central point of the story; our grisly murders are basically solved (in a sense) quite early in the book, and the main suspect is known, something then happens that keeps this plot flowing, BUT suddenly we are diverted to a side story about a former patient of the hypnotist that has nothing to do with the murders at all, and this side story has another side story that has nothing to do with either of the other side stories and is about kids playing Pokemon. Confused yet?

I will quickly note that the reader does a good job of the narration.

Ultimately this book is confusing, frustrating and unsatisfying, all the more so because you sort of feel inclined to stick with it because you think everything must wrap up neatly in the end, it doesn't. Rather it feels like a small group of rather talented writes sat in a circle, started a story, and then said "tag you're it", and passed it on to the next writer to do whatever with it, and so on.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Can't wait for it to be over

This audio book drags on and on. As another reader reported, the plot changes several times. With so much detail about the gore of a murder at the beginning of the book you might be led to believe that solving this murder is the main point of the plot - not even close. There is way too much trivia about people and places that will never be mentioned again. It is driving me crazy, yet I am determined to finish it. This author is not a rival for Steig Larson. If I could get my money back, I would. Don't bother to buy this one of you love good books.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Compared to Steig Larsson?

I can find few similarities to the Millennium Trilogy....this book is depressing, dreary, and goes from one dismal scene to another. Can't finish, wish I hadn't purchased it

6 of 7 people found this review helpful