Author: Lars Kepler

Genre: Thriller Mystery 

Publishing house: Blue Door

Lars Kepler, the Swedish author couple has written 8 books with Joona Linna, a detective inspector as a protagonist. Every book is stunning and breath taking, no false praises cause THE NIGHTMARE is not the first one I have read. Trust me, with every book you will keep craving for more.

Ever since I have read THE HYPNOTIST, the duo has been on the list of my favourite authors. Every book I have read spiked me with shots of adrenaline and to an extent scared me too. No, I am not talking about ghosts but the nail biting and goosebump thrills that are just OMG. 

The story opens up with a TV debate that has a Swedish pacifist activist, Penelope, opposing the country’s arms policy and to contradict her, is a very powerful arms dealer in the country. 

Later on, Penelope with her boyfriend and younger sister, Viola goes on a pleasure trip on the yacht, drifting around Stockholm Archipelago. While Peneolpe and her boyfriend go for a swim in the calm water leaving Viola on the yacht, something terrible happens.

Viola is dead on the yacht while Penelope and her boyfriend are still in the woods nearby. The strange thing that is reflected in the autopsy report is the cause of death. Viola died of drowning but surprisingly she was never in water and her clothes are dry and there is no trace of water on the now absconding yacht. 

Next day, a government official, Carl Palmcrona is founded dead, hanged in the apartment that proved it to be a suicide. Carl was the person with the final authority in making the decisions regarding the manufacture and export of Swedish munitions. The news of death though appears calm but has ruffled a lot of papers under the desk.

As Carl was a government official with some serious authorities at his hands, the case is assigned to Jonna Linna, Detective Superintendent of the National Crime Unit. As Joona is busy investigating this open and shut case which has nothing to hide except the reason for suicide, his opinion is asked by a pathologist from Forensic Medical Department about Viola’s death. 

Saga Bauer, an investigator of the Swedish Security Service is investigating Viola’s death. Joona intervenes after whatever he discovered from the discussion with a pathologist friend of his. Something is so intriguing to him that he finally teams up with Saga despite their mutual conflicts to follow the single lead, a controversial photograph.

Axel Riessen is newly appointed Director General of the Inspectorate for Strategic Products and that includes licencing of the military equipment exports. The position was previously occupied by Carl Palmcrona. 

The top brass from the Trade Ministry is anxious and pushing Axel Riessen to join quickly and carry forward the pending list of Carl Palmcrona’s work. This nudging from higher authority is making Axel a bit nervous and he is just not able to comprehend the reason behind it. Axel has his dark side to battle with and he is failing miserably in it.

Peneolpe and her boyfriend are on run for their life on the island. They are being pursued by a mysterious hitman on their tail to hunt them down. It is the same man who has killed Viola. 

Joona is somehow convinced that Peneolpe is still alive and being hunted. Following his instincts that something is far more sinister than it appears, he launches his investigation from Peneolpe’s and her boyfriend’s flats but a massive fire breaks out, vanishing every possible trail to a larger conspiracy. 

Will Joona be ever able to close the case…?

Who is the handler of the mysterious hitman…?

Are the two deaths connected…?

Will Peneolpe be able to make a run for her life…?

Is Peneolpe a victim or an actual culprit…?

To find the answers…. A must read…. THE NIGHTMARE…. By…. Lars Kepler.


As I have mentioned before, Lars Kepler had been on my top 10 favourite authors list. THE HYPNOTIST kept me giving goosebumps and that was my first read of this author but THE NIGHTMARE slumps down a little bit in that.

The opening scene and the first few chapters can give you a small adrenaline rush tour but you’ll need a lot of patience halfway through the story. However, the distorted Joona Lina and his ability to see the things beyond had still been intriguing to me and kept me going ahead in the book.

The character nurturing is something I had always admired about this author but it was kind of different this time. In Nightmare, I found a subsidiary storyline which I feel was not very much required in building up the main storyline but again that’s what I feel, just my perception.

There are small suspense bumps which in the climax you may not find connected to the pinpoint in the broader picture it does makes the sense. In the whole journey of this book, I can assure you’ll be seeking the justification of the title but you won’t be till you reach the climax. The pace of the story is not as fast as compared to the previous books of Lars Kepler but the twist and the surprises did help in building up the plot. All you need is a lot of patience and let Joona uncover a lot for you but slowly…


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