Author: Lars Kepler
Publish Date: March 6, 2018 by Knopf Publishing Group
Genre: Crime Fiction / Suspense / Thriller / Nordic Noir
Hardcover: 464 pages
My Rating: 5 stars
Thirteen years ago, Mikael Kohler-Frost went missing along with his younger sister – they were thought to have been victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter. Mikael was recently found alive, and tells the police that his sister is being held by someone called the Sandman. Detective Inspector Joona Linna enlists the help of Inspector Saga Bauer to find the Sandman. Bauer must go undercover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and find a way to get to the psychopath before he gets to her first.
From the moment I heard about this book, I knew it’d be right up my alley. I included it in my Most Anticipated Reads of 2018, and I was not disappointed! Successfully able to run with the big boys in Scandinavian Crime Fiction like Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, this novel was the perfect combination of edge-of-your-seat thriller, meticulous plotting, and a bone chilling serial killer to rival Hannibal Lecter. It is action packed and cinematic – I was on the edge of my seat with my heart racing by chapter 3!
It was just as good as the Stieg Larsson series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with it’s larger than life characters, a bad assed woman, international intrigue, and a chilling villain. The serial killer at the heart of this story takes on an almost mythical quality. He is kept in total isolation at the mental hospital where he is imprisoned. The wardens are so afraid that he’ll manipulate them inside their heads that they wear ear plugs when they interact with him. To make things more tense, along comes two more specially placed patients to share the ward with Jurek, one of which is Saga Bauer, a tough as nails under cover agent, who has to get close enough to manipulate Jurek into revealing where Mikael’s sister is being kept, without letting him get inside her head first.
This is a multilayered plot with multidimensional characters that kept me intrigued from the first page to the last. I thought it was incredibly suspenseful and well written, without a wasted page or scene. Every part of it was important to the story. In the scene between the prison warden and his wife straight out of Fifty Shades of Grey, I wondered how that fit in to the rest of the story, but rest assured, it did!
The Sandman is part of the international best-selling Joona Linna series by a husband and wife team who go by the pseudonym Lars Kepler. I whole heartedly give it my endorsement that it can be read as a stand alone – that is how I read it and loved it!