The Nightmare by Lars Kepler was the eleventh book that I read in 2017. This was more than what I achieved in the last three years combined, which excited me and encouraged me to keep on going. I was well on my way to the 12 Books for the 12 Months of the year goal that I had set up for myself. It is the second book in the series although it can be read as a stand-alone book because the storyline doesn’t quite depend on the first one. The first book was The Hypnotist, which was a fast-paced thriller, and so my expectations with The Nightmare were also pretty high. The books are written by the Swedish husband-wife authors Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril together. The titles for both were very mysterious which is part of the allure of the books.Now, onto the actual review. The Nightmare still follows Joona Linna, the Swedish detective who is now investigating another case.
It starts off with the death of two very different people that Joona believes as a hunch, must be connected. The death of a journalist’s sister who’s on a boat, and the apparent suicide of the General Director of the government agency that handles permissions of military exports. Joona has to fight for the right to be the detective in charge of the proceedings of these two murders but his initial insights prove true, landing him the cases. He starts at the home of the Director, finding crucial clues that could lead him to the killer, and some similar but disturbing similarities on the boat murder.
Parallelly, the story of how the Killer is proceeding is also outlined in separate chapters, and he is always one step ahead of Joona Linna – in destroying evidence and throwing him off his trail. The whole concept revolves around the fact that how the Killer is The Nightmare, killing ruthlessly, and keeping on his mission no matter who gets hurt. I’ll divulge that the whole story is about a photograph, that can spell the downfall of some very influential people involved in illegal activities.
The chapters are small, concise and alternate between Joona Linna, the killers, and the survivors of the boat murders. Yes, there were survivors. Which is also how the story progresses. The readers are aware of the mind games and plot twists that push forward the narration. The writing is still easy, which is also thanks to the simple translation from Swedish. The plot is easy to follow. But some moments described in the book are very difficult to digest. It is most bashed for the scene where the new Director of the military exports department is able to identify the melody by the hand placement of a musician in a band, just by looking at a photograph. It may seem like a lot, but some such elements have been added to up the drama in the novel.
Overall, the book is a nice suspense thriller, where the readers also get to learn a lot of crime-related terms, and how investigative agencies work. Or might work, devoid of the drama and high-octane sequences. It lives up to the expectation of being a sequel, even though the books amazingly work as standalone masterpieces. You can find my review of the first book, The Hypnotist here. Fun titbit: Lars Kepler is the pen-name of the Swedish husband-wife writing duo, Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril. With a Goodreads rating of 3.8, I and a lot of the reading population will recommend The NIghtmare. It is a light read, page turner and unique in concept. Although, bear in mind that not everyone seems to love this fiction style so individual preference will always stand. Because the ending is almost predictable, and the twists are not for everyone.
My rating: 3/5
Suspense Rating: 4/5
Simplicity of Writing: 5/5
Logic Realism: 3/5
Recommendation: Well, yeah!
Some of my other reviews are:
Pride and Prejudice
Of Love and Other Demons
All my book reviews are here.
Currently Reading: I’ll Never Get OUt of this World Alive, by Steve Earle