Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable, and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught they rarely survive their punishment.

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Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. And now when Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer-and the murderous rampage has just begun.

As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

My Review

This moves at such a breakneck speed I almost forgot to breathe. At times too nasty to read – I skipped much of the dog fight – almost too far-fetched to be believable, but I still carried on, only stopping to work and sleep.

I said this in another review, but I am going to repeat is at it relevant to The Mirror Man. ‘There’s something about Scandi noir that makes it different from our own crime novels and police procedurals. It’s stripped back, realistic, never shies away from anything. It’s quite ‘hard’ though I’m not sure how to explain what I mean by that. The hero or heroine is usually tired, in or out of a messy relationship, drinks too much, has been around the block a few times.’

Our hero in this case is Joona Linna, a detective with The Swedish National Crime Unit, who appears damaged beyond repair, to the point where his daughter is distancing herself from him and he sometimes resorts to visiting an opium den. However, it’s not Joona who is the drinker – that is reserved for Pamela, whose husband Martin almost died when he fell through the ice on a fishing trip and Pamela’s daughter from a previous relationship is missing, presumed drowned.

Martin is in shock after the accident, and has totally retreated into himself, suffering from complex PTSD. So when he sees a murder in the local park while walking his dog Loke in the middle of a rainy night, he freezes and remembers nothing, other than that he was there.

The murder he has seen is that of Jenny Lind, abducted five years earlier while walking home from school. The autopsy reveals that she was freeze-branded on the back of her head, which triggers a memory in Joona about a ‘suicide’ many years before.

In the present day, Pamela wants to foster a troubled teenager called Mia as she feels she is ready to offer a stable home. Unfortunately social services turn her down because of Martin’s unstable behaviour and his arrest for the murder. And now Mia has also been abducted and the police are struggling to find any clues.

The plot becomes more and more complicated, the abductions and treatment of the victims kept in cages more and more sinister, a raid on a house just weird and the trip by Joona and two undercover police officers to a horrendous secret ‘night club’ called Eagle’s Nest the worst of all. Illegal boxing, dog and cock fighting, prostitution, drugs – it has it all.

This is not a book for the squeamish or faint-hearted – I’ve said that before – but I really mean it in this case. It’s dark, really dark, and there is no humour or police banter to lighten it. Having said that it’s brilliantly written, terrifying and compulsive.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours and to NetGalley for an ARC

About the Author

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (b. 1966) and Alexander Ahndoril (b. 1967), authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series.

With seven instalments to date, the series has sold 15 million copies in 40 languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published several acclaimed novels.

About Bonnier Books UK

Bonnier Books UK is a major UK publisher with sales of £80m. Home to 12 adult and children’s imprints, we publish across a wide variety of genres for different ages. From crime to reading group fiction; memoir to self-help; activity to reference – we believe every book matters.

Our talented authors include Wilbur Smith, Lynda La Plante, Heather Morris, Rosie Goodwin, T.M. Logan, Stacey Halls, Prof. Steve Peters, Ollie Ollerton, Konnie Huq, Garth Nix, Jonny Duddle and Rochelle Humes – to name but a few. We’re also proud to publish for major brands including Disney, Marvel and Bear Grylls.

Bonnier Books UK is owned by Bonnier Books, a family-owned company headquartered in Sweden. Bonnier Books is a top-15 world publisher.

1 Comment on “The Mirror Man by Lars Kepler

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