Having read two books in the Joona Linna series, I can easily say that European detectives are equal in stature to their American counterparts. I find it interesting that Lars Kepler – the author couple always have a thing or two for mental or violent retards. They have them in all their books
Narrative initiates with where ‘The fire witness’ left off. Jurek Walter is hard core felon and no one knows him better than Joona Linna, the lanky detective. Jurek Walter is also held in a highly secure psychotic unit. He has been incarcerated for the last 13 years and though the facility is made for 3 patients, it only houses one. One of Jurek Walter’s past victims is suddenly found alive after 11 years and he is in a dismal condition. Mikeal Frost had been abducted when he was merely 10 years old. He communicates his misery as that of continuing darkness in a capsule with his sister, Felicia, who was 8 years old when she was kidnapped with him. Somehow, Mikeal Frost has eluded and Joona Linna races against time to save Felicia. The only person that knows about Mikeal’s capture and eventual release is Jurek Walter as he tightly linked to kidnappings. Under no circumstances, Jurek Walter will crack and hence, Joona will not divulge any whereabouts of Felicia. So Joona Linna concocts a plan to get special agent, Saga Bauer, to be transported to secure psychotic unit as a hard core felon who is also mentally unsound. This is an attempt for Jurek Walter to open up about his past and reveal some details about himself that will lead to release of Felicia. Felicia has legionnaire’s disease and has little time to survive as Joona Linna makes every endeavour to uncover Jurek Walter’s past in Russia and determines how he turn out to be the most feared murderer in the whole of Sweden.
Mikeal labels his familiarities with kidnapper as those of Sandman. Sandman is largely the bedtime story that Mikeal and Felicia’s mother used to tell them before bedtime. That is how the book name sandman came about. This book is sluggish in the beginning and there are lots of avoidable chapters but storyline picks up pace after the first half and becomes captivating for the reader to uncover Jurek Walter’s past and Saga Bauer daring attempt to get material from Jurek Walter. As mentioned earlier, I like the Joona Linna series and Lars Kepler – with their fascination for the world of crazy maniacs – the line between reality and fantasy is thin. You never know the facts that you are reading about the case is figment of imagination or true story. I rate it 4/5. Happy reading!!