The Mirror Man
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Lars Kepler brings action, suspense, and heart-wrenching moments to The Mirror Man, the eighth novel in the Joona Linna Killer Instinct series. This is an unforgettable police procedural and crime thriller set in Sweden. Lars Kepler is the pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril.
While this novel is the eighth in the series, it worked as a standalone novel for me. However, I believe reading the previous novels would reveal additional background and insights into Joona’s character growth as well as his family and work relationships.
Jenny Lind was abducted on her way home from school and taken to a remote location where she and other girls face many horrors. Five years later her body is found in a playground with few clues as to where she’s been and who her killer is. Detective Joona Linna gets involved and when another girl goes missing, he fears a killer is escalating his activities.
Joona is a likeable character who feels strongly that everything should be done to find the killer and rescue Mia Andersson. This doesn’t always sit well with his immediate superior who want the quick solution and often leads to some intense situations. His character is well-developed by this eighth novel. Of the secondary characters, Pamela and Martin Nordstrom as well as Dr. Erik Maria Bark have the most depth with believable flaws and are unique in their own ways.
The conflicts and sense of urgency move the story forward and through some unexpected twists. The internal dialogues and the narrative pulls readers into the inner world of the characters making us unsettled, distressed, and thankful that Joona has the tenacity to keep investigating.
A memorable beginning sets the stage for what is to come. Reading on, the suspense was high through-out most of the novel. The plot is complex and has twists and turns to keep a reader guessing. The high stakes kept me engaged throughout the story. The well-written story and the incredible characters, combined with unnerving action, culminates in an astounding conclusion.
What a novel! Will you guess the identity of the killer? This novel contains several graphic and disturbing scenes and the antagonist’s deranged actions have a terrifying realism that is memorable. However, it is well-written, with a brilliant plot, and extraordinary characters. This reader was transported to the dark and horrifying world of the investigator and the victims. Themes include abduction, murder, family, child abuse, grief, severe trauma, physical abuse, mental health disorders, and much more.
Overall, this was an intense, dark, and gritty story with complex characters that kept me turning the pages. I am looking forward to reading the prior books as I wait on the next one in the series. Crime enthusiasts and thriller fans may want to check out this series if they can handle the triggers.
Thanks to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group – Knopf and the writing team of Lars Kepler for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for January 18, 2022.