Reaping a nightmare,
This review is from: The Nightmare (Hardcover)
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The couple who write under the Lars Kepler pseudonym appear to be aiming for Hollywood. It will be no surprise if they get there with 'The Nightmare'. I read their previous novel, 'The Hypnotist', which like this story possesses a great deal of forensic ingenuity and delivers many grisly moments for those who like that kind of touch. In terms of action and thrills, 'The Hypnotist' matches the likes of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, but 'The Nightmare' goes further. It is five hundred pages of carnage.
One curious difference between the Kepler novels and those of their contemporaries is that the heroic detective's personal life isn't drawn deeply. In 'The Hypnotist', Joona Linna isn't even the main character. In 'The Nightmare' the authors give us more of his private life but it is relatively unexceptional. He isn't the usual Rebus-like alcoholic-with-a-broken-marriage type.
As for the story, it's a rampant page-turner that gains momentum until the climax. It also, however, becomes increasingly over the top. In that respect, it reminds me of Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' which, though I read it greedily, I ultimately hated for what I felt was its contempt for the reader's intelligence. 'The Nightmare' is far better, partly because the authors seem to have done their research on mundane issues such as police procedure and partly because the premise behind the story is rooted in reality.
It does, however, develop from a gripping hunt for a ruthless killer into Bullitt and then James Bond, a problem made worse by some excruciatingly unbelievable coincidences and miraculous heroics. The story also continues too far beyond the climax, containing several superfluous chapters where a short one would have sufficed to tie up loose ends.
What isn't in doubt is that 'Kepler' knows how to hook and keep the reader. 'The Nightmare' is as much an adventure thriller as it is a police procedural.