Lars Kepler creates the perfect serial killer in ‘The Sandman’

Title: The Sandman
Author: Lars Kepler
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Knopf
Length: 464 pages
Available: 6 March 2018


“His name is Mikael Kohler-Frost. He went missing thirteen years ago and was officially declared dead six years later.”

sandmanDetective Joona Linna is back in Lars Kepler’s The Sandman, the fourth installment of the series. He never thought that, despite serial killer Jurek Walter being locked up in a high-security psychiatric facility, his job was done. His gut told him Jurek was still coordinating the kidnappings and murders of entire families–an instinct that is vindicated when one of the children Jurek kidnapped is found walking along train tracks in the middle of the night. But with Walter being locked up, and court-ordered to have no communication with the outside world, there’s no way Mikael could’ve been released by Jurek. Again, Linna’s suspicions that Jurek isn’t working alone are given weight. Weight enough that he helps organize an operation that puts the life of the young detective Saga Bauer in danger.

Bauer is written as the definition of  “strong female character”: well trained, thin, with nerves of steel, who has survived her own horrifying childhood trauma. She accepts the assignment to go undercover in the psychiatric facility in order to help try and root out information from Jurek to help rescue Mikael’s still-missing sister. Jurek is the least of her problems, not when she has to deal with an overtly misogynistic fellow patient and a doctor who pushes boundaries too far both at work and at home.

“The victims are the ones who were left behind, the ones who were waiting until they couldn’t bear to wait anymore.”

Written in short, fast-paced chapters, from multiple points of view, Lars Kepler’s The Sandman is a prime example of a perfect psychological thriller. The style closely resembles watching a television show between the set up of the scenes and the detail in which Kepler sets up scenes and characters. With a blood-soaked, twist ending, established fans of the Jonna Linna series, and new readers, will not be able to put down this thrilling page-turner.

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