Erik Maria Bark has sworn never to hypnotize anyone again. But when a young boy is the only survivor from a deadly attack to his family, where his father, mother and little sister have been murdered and his other sister is at risk, he has to think again. Bark is now specialized in working with victims under pain and he is requested to act drastically so as the boy that is under shock is able to give the police details of the attack. He doesn’t want to perform hypnosis again, but he understands that a girl’s life is at risk and their only hope to help her is to practice what he promised not to. Detective Inspector Joona Linna is counting on his help to protect the girl.
Joona Linna is a Detective Inspector that is never wrong. So when he founds out about a coach that is found murdered in the lockers and later on, almost all his family is murdered as well, he knows that the killing has not stopped. He needs to find what happened. He needs the right person for the job and therefore calls for Erik Maria Bark. Once Bark does as he is asked, things start to take a dramatic effect, as Bark is threatened and his own son goes missing. Joona says they are going to find Erik’s son and he is never wrong.
This is the first installment in the Joona Linna series. The book is written that way, that the reader get’s to know Joona Linna, but not too deep. He is the one calling the shots, but he is not the real protagonist throughout the book. When he hears about the murder in the locker room, he calls local police and makes himself part of the investigation. At a glance, he can tell that this does not end there. When the local police finds the family slaughtered and the son still alive, he is more than certain that the father was the first victim and it means that more will follow, as the eldest daughter in the family was not found within the victims. He turns to be right as forensics move on with their investigation and he takes over the case. Joona Linna is still the protagonist up to this point and up to the point he persuades Bark to practice hypnosis again. Then it all goes around Bark.
The focus of the story changes and moves around the doctor and his family. It is very important to note that when we meet Bark he is sleeping and he founds sleep via the help of pills. This is a very important part of the plot, as it shows home much Bark has suppressed his mind and that is also why he cannot bring forward all the memories from the past. He doesn’t want to remember anything from the time he was researching the benefits of hypnosis on people under stress and pain. As we later learn, it was a very traumatic period in his life, which has turned everything upside down.
However when his son is kidnapped, he is forced by Joona Linna to think over his past and find out who might wanted to harm him. This is when the memories flow, for several pages, and they are so revealing. Erik Maria Bark had a very good reason to have stopped practicing hypnosis. He has convinced himself that he was wrong. That all his work has been harmful and that he should never do it again. And that, along with the incidents of those days, were enough to make him want to bury that part of his life deep down in his mind and never to think of it again. This is the part of the book that Bark is taking the leading role while Linna is has some highlights that really add to the story and the investigation itself.
About the author:
Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series. With six installments to date, the series has sold twelve 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.