The Spider
July 20, 2023

Book Review

The Spider

Back for another adventure in the Joona Linna series, I turned to the latest book by Lars Kepler. A collaborative effort by two strong Swedish authors, Kepler captivates the reader while also keeping things moving at a break-neck pace. While Linna has been saddled with many tough cases, this one could be the most complex, as members of the police appear to be the target, with gruesome outcomes.

 As Linna tries to stay one step ahead of the killer, clues point that he could be the next victim, sending the entire team into a tailspin. Racing against the clock, Linna must locate the killer and stop their actions before more die. Kepler keeps the reader flipping pages in this sensational Scandinavian noir thriller!

Three years ago, a postcard arrived at the home of Saga Bauer, who had been doing some work with the National Police Service in Sweden. The text on the back, while somewhat cryptic, carried an ominous tone that nine white bullets were earmarked for members of the police. Saga took notice, but it was the promise that one would be used on Joona Linna, her boss, that made Saga feel the heat. However, as time passed and nothing happened, it all became a distant memory.

After a body is found, highly decomposed, with a white bullet inside, the memories of that postcard come back to the surface. The victim is soon identified as a member of the National Police and Joona Linna is called in to help find the killer. With a knack for locating some of Sweden’s worst killers, Linna will stop at nothing until the culprit is identified and behind bars. One killing soon leads to more and the game is on!

Odd clues, including tin figurines and a goading message, fuel the search, in which Linna brings Saga Bauer back into the fold. However, as things progress, there are suspicious clues that emerge, leaving some to believe that Saga might be behind the whole thing. Linna wrestles with trying to distance himself, but also has a great deal of trust for his former team member, all while he remains the primary target for this, as yet, unidentified killer.

When the killer is given the moniker ‘The Spider’, Linna tries to lure them out and learns of a horrible incident in the past that could be fuelling the killings. Still, as Saga becomes the primary suspect, there is something within Linna that refuses to believe that his friend and former colleague could be this dark. Still, with no clear path to solving the case, the web gets even more complex and Linna finds himself tangled in the middle of it all. A chilling piece that will have readers wondering as the story progresses, proving Lars Kepler’s superior writing ability.

I discovered the work of Lars Kepler a number of years ago, pulled in by the dark and addictive thrillers that had been written. Now into the ninth book, I cannot get my hands on these novels fast enough. Lars Kepler uses a strong narrative style to keep the reader hooked from the opening pages and never backs down, weaving tales and plots into each chapter. The characters, many of whom emerge for the first time, are strong and keep the reader in the middle of the action, adding depth to an already stellar piece of writing. Joona Linna continues to receive some development, a Finn working in the Swedish police system. Plot twists emerge and develop with ease, which is nothing new for Kepler fans. It is the speed at which things happen that will force the reader to hold on tight in order not to get lost in the lightning speed of developments. Something I have always noticed is that there is such an easy flow to Lars Kepler novels, which is surprising not only because it is a collaborative pair of strong Swedish writers, but also due to the translation factor. There appears to be no jaggedness when it comes to reading, nothing jilted or lost in translation. This adds to my enjoyment and I can only hope that others will see that as well. Dark, Scandinavian, and full of surprises. What else could you want in a book?

Kudos, Lars Kepler, for a stunning ninth novel in the series. I cannot wait to see what you have in the works!

The Spider is available at:

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