Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

I've never been too enamored with hypnotism, but this book certainly whet my appetite to learn more about its use as therapy.

There's been a horrific murder— a couple and their young daughter have been found hacked to death. The only survivor is their son who is in the hospital with multiple stab wounds. The detective assigned to the case, Joona Linna, wants to question the son, but his condition and the trauma make that risky. He wants the boy hypnotized in order to garner some leads about who could have perpetrated this grisly deed. He's also concerned about an older daughter who is not living with the family.


Years beforehand Dr. Bork, a well known psychiatrist, had been an expert hypnotist. We learn that he has ceased to use that method of treatment because of some event that happened with his last therapy group. Joona persuades Dr. Bork, whose marriage is unstable and who pops pills because of persistent pain, to question the young man under hypnosis.

Then the domino effect begins—Dr. Bork puts the young man under and discovers that he is psychotic and he in fact killed his parents and wants to kill his sister. We also learn of the last therapy group and the cataclysmic revelations and traumas his therapy unleashed. Add to that scenario there's a fourteen year old boy who has been abducted, Nazi like characters who engage in bullying.

The storyline becomes more like a tentacle with numerous feelers—with ample space devoted to the horrific backgrounds of the clients engaged in therapy. The author's , yes there are two —a husband and wife—Alexandria and Alexander Ahndoril, place the blame for the twisted lives of Dr. Bork's therapy group on the failure of a mother's nurturing.

The setting of the book, Swedish winter, lends a shiver or two to the story.

Library Book Challenge

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