The Rabbit Hunter (Joona Linna #6), by Lars Kepler

Eight starsIn this sixth instalment of the Joona Linna series, Lars Kepler reminds readers what true Scandinavian psychological thrillers are meant to entail. When Sweden’s Foreign Minister is murdered by someone lurking in the shadows of his own home, the only witness to the event mumbles something that confuses authorities. Joona Linna, Sweden’s most prolific hunter of serial killers is not available to assist, having been sentenced to prison. However, no one is taking any chances and Linna is given a brief pass to aid in the investigation. When all presume the attack was terror-based, Linna promises to deliver a message from a suspected terrorist leader, in hopes that this will bring the case to a close. However, things go drastically wrong and Linna is back behind bars with no new answers. More murders occur, with this mysterious individual taunting victims by reciting an old children’s rhyme about rabbits. Swedish authorities remain baffled and cannot piece things together, knowing full well that their only hope is Joona Linna. The murders turn international and all eyes are on Sweden, forcing Linna’s release from prison in a negotiated settlement, which allows him to work on a plan he’s concocted. Could this ‘Rabbit Killer’ have a larger and more concrete plan when it comes to choosing victims? This spree of deaths seems to trace back decades, though once Linna pulls a thread, even he cannot know what will unravel. Kepler stuns readers again with a powerful psychological thriller that is not diluted in its translation. Recommended to series fans, who have had to wait a few years for this stunner, as well as those who like a little dark with their thriller reads.I remember wondering about Lars Kepler a handful of years ago, having seen the books on shelves but never taking the leap. Once I accepted that I could try something that had not been penned originally in English, I was hooked by these books, which flirt with the mind as they pull the reader deeper into the story. Joona Linna has had much development within these novels, though he is also a very dark person and hard to admire. The fact that Kepler painted Linna into a corner and sent him off to jail did little to lessen the story’s impact, as he is able to spin his mind while incarcerated and ends up blowing the case wide open. Other characters prove to complement Linna well, giving that essential ‘tug of war’ sentiment that keeps the police procedural aspect of the story strong. Some of these ‘one time’ characters are also highly entertaining, providing the reader with some subplots that drive the story home, though nothing too earth shattering. Turning to the story itself, it was strong and flowed well, though I am having a hard time feeling as eerily connected as I had been to past Kepler novels. Perhaps I am inundating myself with psychological thrillers or Scandinavian dark novels, but I almost felt as if I wanted more scintillating aspects to leave me gasping. That being said, the book read so easily and the narrative was well-paced throughout. There was a seamless translation into English and, as I have said with all books in this series and many other Scandinavian dark pieces, it is as though the move to English fits the story like a glove. I could not ask for anything more and am so pleased to feel a connection throughout. Those looking for a series that will keep them up well into the night (both for the writing style and subject matter) need look no further.Kudos, Lars Kepler, for another wonderful novel. I can see Joona Linna is in fine hands with you at the helm. And now I wait to see what else you have coming down the pipeline. A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: