More Scandinavian psychopathy from the pseudonymous husband-wife team.
Sometimes a boy needs his dad. It being a Shakespearean world, sometimes a boy just needs to kill his dad, even if the paternity is not firmly established—in which instance you can bet on plenty of collateral damage. In Kepler’s newest, the bodies stack up quickly. The first to fall is Sweden’s foreign minister, who is decidedly not a nice guy and has his eyes shot out for his transgressions. That’s not the least icky of the ugly fates visited on the so-called Rabbit Hunter’s victims, as when the killer gazes meaningfully at one of them and “decides that he’s going to cut his legs off and watch him crawl like a snail through his own blood.” Against this gruesome backdrop, only Joona Linna, the ethnically Finnish Swedish supercop, stands a chance of sussing out what’s going on. Trouble is, he’s in the slammer, having been locked away in a maximum security prison for the last two years for his part in events that unfolded in Stalker (2019). It’s only when the prime minister, suspecting that his foreign minister’s death has come at the hands of terrorists, intercedes to make Joona “a highly unorthodox offer” that he can swing back into action with Stockholm cop Saga Bauer and figure out why it is that the trail of blood leads to a TV studio by way of a Chicago psychiatric hospital. As always, along with the many bodies left behind by the “spree killer,” there’s a shoal of red herrings in Kepler’s narrative—human smugglers here, Afghan refugees and the FBI there—and all sorts of ancillary unpleasantries, from rape to evisceration and the chilling thought that when the Rabbit Killer’s victims finally die, various bits of their bodies removed, “the world becomes completely still, like a winter landscape."
Fast-paced and fluent, with all the authors’ trademark stratagems. Sure to be a hit, though best read by those with strong stomachs.