The Nightmare by Lars Keplar

The Nightmare by Lars Kepler Book Review



The Nightmare by Lars Keplar (Translated by Laura A. Wideburg)

Series: Joona Linna #2

Published by: McClelland & Stewart(First Published by Paganinikontraktet)

Published:July 3rd 2012 (First Published 2010)

Pages: 500

Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Nordic Noir

Purchase: Book Depository Amazon


Detective Inspector Joona Linna has received two calls for a couple of suspicious deaths, one for a suicide and the other for a young women who drowned. Others might think this is an open and shut case but Joona believes something more sinister is at hand.


Since, this is told in third person omniscient we are introduced to several characters in this book but I am only going to focus on the following three characters.

  • Joona Linna is a detective inspector with the National Criminal Investigation Department in Stockholm, Sweden. The Nightmare is the second in the series and I feel like I should know Joona better but you know very little about him. He is Finnish and he is held in high esteem for his ability take one look at a crime scene and know exactly what happened. Oh and he is always right.
  • Penelope Fernandez is a peace activist who finds herself caught up in tragic and murderous events. I liked Penelope, she is smart and strong-willed.
  • Axel Riessen a former violin prodigy who now is the General Director for National Inspectorate of Strategic Products. He also is an insomniac with a liver condition. I found Axel to be an interesting character as well as his “relationship” with Beverly.

My Thoughts                                                  

I read the first book in the series, The Hypnotist, last year and found it an enjoyable read but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this one as much.  The reason for that I think is the creepiness factor that is in The Hypnotist.


  • Not a fan of the writing, there was just something about it that felt awkward. I am not sure if it was because it has been translated or written by two people but it came of as amateurish.
  • This is 500 pages and it did not need to be that long. With better editing it could have been cut down to around 350 pages.  One suggestion would delete unnecessary descriptions because they don’t add anything to the story. See below paragraph.

    “Penelope Fernandez walks out of the Swedish Television building and heads toward Valhallavagen. She wasted two hours waiting for a slot in another morning program before the producer finally told her she’d been bumped by a segment on quick tips for a summer tummy. Far away, on the fields of Gardet, she can make out the colorful tents of Circus Maximus and the little forms of two elephants, probably very large. One raise his trunk high in the air.”

  • The next paragraph goes on to describe what Penelope looks like. I’m not sure why the authors choose to this little bit about a circus but to me it messed with the flow of the narrative.
  • This book has a lot going on there are several characters and each of them has this other side plot going on. And the way the authors developed those characters was to go into each of their back story and this was a bit jarring at times.


  • Short chapters. I am a big fan of short chapters, it makes me feel like I am making progress. And that is a great feeling when you are reading a 500 paged book.
  • The mystery aspect was what kept me reading and the suspense if Penelope was going to make it or not.
  • I liked the complex plot and how it all unraveled even though it did take a while to get there.

“To the picture in his mind, Joona adds two sets of shoe prints on the floor circling the dead man.

This case is not over.”

I will continue on with the series because I already own them. I hope that I will find The Fire Witness enjoyable like I found the first book to be. If you enjoy intricate plot driven books then you might enjoy this one.

2.5 Stars

Bookish Matters



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