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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy addition to the 'must read' Nordic noir list
The Fire Witness is a skilful and subtle Scandinavian whodunnit. It blends the understated and sparse writing style which typifies Nordic noir with a genuinely gripping narrative. It says more in fewer words than many dense blockbusters, and the prose has real impact.

This is the third Joona Linna investigation, and you don't need to have read the preceding...
Published 13 months ago by Rowena Hoseason

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Thriller
This is a well written and engaing thriller. The novel is easy to read and full of suspense. This is the first book I have read from this author but I will seek out more. Recommended.
Published 12 months ago by dali


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy addition to the 'must read' Nordic noir list, 16 Aug 2013
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
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The Fire Witness is a skilful and subtle Scandinavian whodunnit. It blends the understated and sparse writing style which typifies Nordic noir with a genuinely gripping narrative. It says more in fewer words than many dense blockbusters, and the prose has real impact.

This is the third Joona Linna investigation, and you don't need to have read the preceding ones to enjoy it (although they are good and worth picking up - perhaps not as accomplished as this one, which is definitely the best yet). The action is presented in very short segments which pushes the pace rapidly along, and the writing doesn't dwell on flowery description or deep character analysis. Instead we're shown a slice of the investigation, from a limited perspective, which keeps us as much in the dark as Joona himself.
And then it turns out that Joona has a skeleton in the cupboard - and that particular story thread looks like it'll form the backbone of the next book. Can't wait.
Before then, however, Fire Witness was an entirely enjoyable episode and a self-contained story which wraps up with a satisfactory solution. There are many plot twists en route, and I can't mention a couple of the inconsistencies without giving away too much (but ask yourself how Flora knew about the rock...) A decent mystery in any case, set in a suitably stark Swedish landscape and featuring some very interesting characters.

Not too much like Steig Larsson, to be honest: more heading towards Karin Fossum territory.
Easy to recommend, either way!
8/10
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three in a row, 30 Aug 2013
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
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It seems an odd coincidence that, having read 'The Keeper' which gave us a Detective with almost miraculous intuition (by getting himself into the mind of the killer) we are now back to Joona Linna, the creation of Lars Keppler. Joona Linna, a Finn working in Sweden, similarly makes it his job to get into the mindset of the killer.

I have to say, Keppler does a much better job at allowing this intuition to progress the story. It was difficult not to compare the two books which is a little unfair but the Kepplers know their job. Their two previous books were excellent and this one is even better, if that's possible.

It's a gripping story and one which doesn't leave go until the end. There is little doubt in my mind that were we to compare authors, Lars Keppler is certainly alongside Jo Nesbo in the way they can hold the reader with twists and turns, excellent character building and a story which is quite different but perfectly acceptable. I really enjoyed it. And more, Joona Linna does rank alongside Harry Hole though, fortunately, without the angst and self-destruction so prevalent in Harry Hole.

Linna rebels against most of his superiors except for his immediate boss who has a kindly disposition towards the man, probably because he knows Joona will get the job done and, I think, secretly admires the way he treads on loftier toes.

If you've followed the series, you'll know Joona has unfinished business with his own family. We follow him, too, as this story begins to unfold.

Anyway, buy the book if you like Scandanavian thrillers (even if the detective is Nordic!). Actually, buy the book just because it is a well written, well crafted thriller in its own right and will hold your reading interest to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another well-made thriller with good story recommended for all existing and future fans of Swedish Kepler couple, 28 April 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
"The Fire Witness" by Lars Kepler, which is the pseudonym for Alexander Ahndoril and his wife Alexandra, is third thriller in their series who introduced us to Swedish Detective Joona Linna.

Their previous novels were "The Hypnotist" and "The Nightmare" that are both true representatives of the Scandinavian thriller school, full of macabre crimes and scary villains that make these thrillers exciting, although sometimes hard, to read.

This novel starts when Joona Linna, who is currently under suspension and relieved from active duty while investigation about previous case will be finished, is called as help in the investigation of some new violent murders.
Two dead persons were found at a home for emotionally disturbed girls - first was a teenage girl who was severely beaten to her death in locked room and found with her hands covering her face and crossed legs.
The other victim was a nurse who was also killed in similar way, although keys for her isolation room were nowhere to be found.

Currently, the only suspect police has is Vicky, another teenager who is also missing but a hammer full of blood was found under her pillow making her the culprit for these horrible crimes...

The authors had chosen an interesting setting for their latest thriller, describing in details conditions in the youth home, the issues that even highly developed Swedish society have with the neglected foster system, and the horrors of child trafficking.
As in their previous releases, police procedure was described in detailed way, again emphasizing rivalry between the local and national police, as well as the entire bureaucracy of government that hinders that this case be resolved as quickly as possible.

Similar to the "The Hypnotist" there are some twists that will keep reader deeply involved into the story while speculating in which direction the investigation will unravel.
Also for the first time, what you'll notice if you have read their previous books, reader will found out about Joona's previous life, events that caused his separation from kid and wife for many years.

Besides always interesting anti-hero Detective, reader will meet some other interesting characters that was not the case earlier, and in that way improvements compared to their previous thrillers can be seen.
The novel chapters remained short with open ending that obviously is their trademark and make their novels great for reading while travel to work or similar.

"The Fire Witness" is another thrilling and well-made thriller with good story and due to which it can be recommended for all existing and future fans of Swedish Kepler couple.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would the Swedish police do without Joona?, 31 July 2013
By 
Penny Waugh "A reader" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
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I thought the first two books in this series were excellent, and this one is equally good if not better.
The case is complicated and the National Police seem inclined to wrap the whole thing up quickly, taking the line of least resistance. Unsurprisingly, Detective Inspector Joona Linna, although under virtual suspension from matters arising from his last case, is not prepared to let the matter drop and ignores rules, advice and his own safety to get the result he knows is there. Joona is a big character who sometimes seems out of control and his colleagues opinion of him is understandable but they do themselves no favours.
The story revolves around the murder of a young girl at a state-approved home for troubled girls, and the murderer is assumed to be another girl who has disappeared, only to be connected later with the kidnap of a four year old boy. Naturally assuming there is more to it than that Joona plunges in, once literally, and eventually sorts out what turns out to be a highly convoluted case.
Joona is the overwhelming character in this book; his colleagues and his suspects, with some exceptions, are little more than sketches, but the whole book had me suspending disbelief and going with it, finding it hard to put down.
The ending leaves the way open for the next installment, and it seems that Joona, this time more personally, will again be under the spotlight.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good it gave me nightmares..., 18 July 2013
This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
Remember how everyone was reading The Hypnotist last year and how everywhere you looked you saw creepy posters or adverts for the book? I can guarantee you The Fire Witness will be no less popular and just as well read.

I always know that I'm going to enjoy a book when I actually dream about it. From get go, The Fire Witness gave me horrible, violent nightmares that mirrored the violence of the book. Husband and wife writing duo, Lars Kepler, spare no punches when it comes to describing murder scenes and acts of brutality.

Like The Hypnotist (which I too read last year) chapters are short and punchy, some of them no longer than a page and a half making it easy to keep reading, promising "just one more chapter." My husband gave up on me after I said that five or six times! The language mirrors the directness of the chapters and there's no filler or fluff. You get the story 100% and there aren't any bits that the book could easily do without.

The Fire Witness, while an easy read, has very difficult subject matter. Violence aside, there are issues of mental health in both adults and young girls as well as the bureaucracy of the police system. All of these joined with the violence create a very disturbing book that you can't help but devour. Though it's long at 512 pages (hardback) it will fly by.

Be warned-if you're into deep character histories and such, you won't get it here. You'll know what you need to know about various characters, including Linna, but you won't get their life story. You won't necessarily find out what makes them tick. I personally didn't mind, particularly as I'd read Kepler before and knew to expect that.

I will just add that if you haven't read The Hypnotist or The Nightmare, both of which feature Detective Joona Linna, don't worry. I haven't actually read The Nightmare myself-each book is fairly standalone. Yes, there are mentions of characters and events from books one and two however they're so well explained (and so infrequent) that you don't miss out on anything.

As ever, The Fire Witness leaves off with such a creepy cliffhanger that I can't wait to read the next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected., 2 Aug 2013
By 
bookworm8 "bookworm8" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
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Having been disappointed by several books recently that were over-hyped and quite poor, this came as a pleasing change. Tense, engaging, well-drawn characters, plot that carries you with it - well worth the time spent reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely five stars!, 2 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Kindle Edition)
Wonderful plot with very descriptive scenes. Sometimes I could almost smell the blood or feel the cold. The story is really compelling and kept me hooked, wanting to read one more page every time I finished one chapter. It was the first book that I've read from this author (or authors, as it was a couple that wrote it) but even tough I didn't know Joona before it was easy to understand the character and now I'm looking forward to read more books with him. The only problem is deciding between the first one (the hypnotist) or the following one (the sandman), starting where this one ended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another novel about murder, 13 Aug 2013
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
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This is the best Lars Kepler novel yet. That, at least, is my wife's opinion, whereas I'm not sure. The couple who write the Kepler novels certainly play for high stakes. It's a no-holds-barred detective story full of action, twists and suspense. The danger with that kind of approach is that credulity is stretched to breaking point. There are enough sensational ideas in this novel to create a few more. Putting them all together may be a little over the top, but that depends on the reader's taste. It hasn't stopped Dan Brown yet.

As usual, the hero is the police inspector, Joona Linna, a man who ignores all advice because he's always right. He's under internal investigation at the start of 'The Fire Witness' and I suspect that in real life he'd be suspended several times over before the end of it. Unusually for modern fiction, his private life remains invisible for most of the novel, as it does in the first two novels.

The introduction of a medium as a character is dangerous in a realist novel, but in this case is interesting because it's handled somewhat ambiguously. What the authors also demonstrate is that a crime novelist can create any number of cunning plots by researching psychological disorders. This book wallows in them, which is not surprising given that the initial crime centres on a home for troubled girls.

The book's structure aids quick reading. It is divided into very short chapters, nearly two hundred of them. Consequently, though the book is physically big, it contains a lot of blank space. The back cover contains comparisons to Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. I don't think such comparisons help any author, but they do give a useful indication of the kind of read 'The Fire Witness' is. It is definitely an entertaining one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars for me is by far the best. I found it hard to put down for ..., 16 July 2014
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Paperback)
I have read all of the books in the series and this ,for me is by far the best.I found it hard to put down for any length of time and every page was superb.Really enjoyed the original storyline.Loved the ending too as we find out a bit more about Joona linnas past.I really cannot wait to read the next book.For me(and I do read a lot of books) this was one of the best books I have read for ages.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Badly writtin, 7 July 2014
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This review is from: The Fire Witness (Kindle Edition)
The story was OK but the almost constant use of the present tense annoyed me. Every other page there was a new chapter which made the story seem really choppy and disjointed. The last 15% of the book had nothing to do with the plot of the book at all. It was setting the scene for the author's next novel. The story had potential but it was very badly written. I won't be reading any more books by this author.
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The Fire Witness
The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler (Hardcover - 18 July 2013)
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