November is coming to a close, but I didn’t forget about paying homage to one of my favorite Nordic Noir authors. For this year’s author spotlight, the Nordic Noir edition, I decided to dedicate it to Swedish writing duo Lars Kepler.
Ever since I discovered the Scandinavian genre, I’ve been reading from various authors. Of course, Stieg Larson is my first author I absolutely devoured, and he is the one who opened up my appetite for the atmospheric, complex, and dark thrillers.
If you are familiar with my blog, you know that authors from the Nordic countries are my favorite go-to. I’ve featured a few of them in previous posts, including Camilla Lackberg, Stefan Ahnhem, and Samuel Bjork.
So I only saw it fitting to continue with my tradition of featuring authors from my favorite part of the world to celebrate Nordic Noir November.
Hence, let me introduce you today to another favorite author, husband and wife team Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. Famous for their Joona Linna series, their books are as dark and twisted as they get. Exactly what you would expect from Scandinavian thrillers.
If you’re not familiar with the series, although better read in order, they can all be read as stand-alones as well. Their latest installment is The Spider, which was published on July 25, 2023, by McCelland & Steward.
For 2023’s Nordic Noir November, the author spotlight goes to Lars Kepler. Let’s get right down to it and see what their books are all about.
The first installment in the Joona Linna series, The Hypnotist starts off with a gruesome triple homicide. While the killer meant for the whole family to die, a small boy survives. Linna seeks help from his friend and colleague, hypnotist Dr. Erik Maria Bark in order to solve these brutal crimes. A solid debut, the author sets the stage to one of the most famous and popular Nordic Noir series ever written.
Two mysterious deaths are at the center of this story. While detective Joona Linna tries to solve the seemingly unrelated deaths, they are just the beginning to what is to come next. Brilliantly written, the second installment displays disturbing events that get you hooked from the first page.
In my opinion, although it is longer than 500 pages, the packed action makes this book very easy to read.
3.The Fire Witness
From the first page until the last, this book has you on the edge of your seat. I think this is where the writing duo find their groove, and if you haven’t read the first two in the series, you can definitely start with this one.
Linna is drawn into an intricate case involving a gruesome murder that took place at a youth home for troubled teenage girls. While off duty due to an ongoing internal review by the National Police, he’s asked to act as a consultant on the case.
This is the book where the notorious serial killer Jurek Walter comes into focus. Saga Bauer, a young, brilliant investigator joins Linna in his quest to solve a series of related crimes. He is convinced it is the work of the sadist he put in prison years ago. But he also believes Jukek Walter has an accomplice. That is why Saga goes undercover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek spends his days. They hope to solve this mystery before this psychopath gets inside her head.
Out of all their books, Stalker is my favorite one.
In the fifth book in the series, Linna reunites with hypnotist Dr. Erik Maria Bark for a collaboration in his search for a sadistic killer. There are a few videos that show up online, only for the women featured in them to turn up dead the following day. With an unbelievable twist, will the duo manage to stop this stalker before more bodies turn up?
A propulsive serial killer thriller that you won’t be able to put down despite its hefty size!
6.The Rabbit Hunter
From their latest works, this is my least favorite book. I find it moves a bit slower than the previous ones, although it is still worth reading.
In this installment, Linna is freshly out of prison after serving time for assaulting an officer during his last investigation. The rebel detective tries to solve a series of horrifying, bizarre murders before more victims are killed. While he gets overwhelmed and realizes he can’t manage on his own, he asks Saga for help.
Another great book in the series, Lazarus features the Linna Bauer duo. The two investigators are hard at work trying to solve the brutal crimes that are hitting too close to home. All the victims seem to have some ties to the two detectives, so it makes things even more personal for them. They come head to head to a vicious killer, but are they able to stop him before he takes more victims?
I recently this seventh book in the series this past summer, after having it on my to-be-read list for a while.
8.The Mirror Man
Following the similar action-packed thrills from the last book in the series, The Mirror Man is a close contender for a favorite in the series. Well developed with many twists and turns, the book keeps you engaged throughout.
Linna tries to make sense of a mystery that has been haunting him for years. But when another seventeen year old girl goes missing, he’s racing against time to try and save her. Is he too late, or is the sadistic killer way ahead of him?
This is the last translated installment in the series, but I heard the duo is at work on their tenth book in Sweden. Here in North America, we don’t have a definite date of its release yet.
In this ninth installment, Saga takes a past threat seriously once she realizes she’s the only one who can save Linna. But is the duo able to save each other, or is the killer too close for comfort?
While I enjoyed the fast-paced action and ease of reading, I didn’t love this one as much as the last couple of books in the series.
You can read my review here:
I hope you enjoyed this author spotlight post featuring Lars Kepler, one of my go-to authors.
If you like fast-paced, action filled thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then I definitely recommend Kepler’s books. But be forewarned, they do contain gruesome details, so their books might not be for everyone.
Until next time, keep reading fellow bookworms.