The Hypnotist: a serious, disturbing, highly readable novel that is finally a meditation on evil. Just to say in a word: Horrible.
The authors have presented something like a bad mishmash of what they thought the audience may like. All in all stay away from it. But let’s get in to details on why I ask you to stay away.
The novel opens with a horrific crime: A father, mother and their 5-year-old daughter are butchered. The couple’s son, 15-year-old Josef, survives but has been stabbed hundreds of times and is unconscious. He may be able to identify the attacker and thus save other lives (especially his elder sister Evelyn), so the strong-minded Detective Inspector Joona Linna persuades Erik Bark, a retired hypnotist, to enter the dark recesses of the boy Josef’s damaged consciousness – and it soon becomes apparent that Josef played a markedly different role in the slaughter than originally believed. Soon, the reader is in very disturbing territory indeed.
Kepler’s characters are admirably flawed. We meet teenagers who’ve built their lives around Pokemon. And these are the sane characters. I mean why bring a game and it’s characters inside a thriller/ horror novel? What’s the need? And there were worst of Pokemon characters too. The Wailord is definitely ONE. Then there are doctors who wouldn’t believe their colleague’s research and an intern who actually seduces a doctor whom she was supposed to interview as her project. Yuck.. But then Bark tells us of this fling. Who will choose words like “We had sex carelessly, drunkenly,” Later after like 10 years, his wife, embittered by the betrayal, has a fling of her own, even as the search for her son continues.
And the plot travels on various dimensions, which made me hard to keep up with the flow and characters. I’ve never confused since Inception and Source Code movies. Josef kills his whole family in a brutal way and wants his elder sister to have sex with him, threatens on failing his wish, he’ll kill everyone she knew. Bark’s son was kidnapped on breaking his promise of never to practice hypnotism. Everyone thinks, Josef has kidnapped Benjamin but NO. Erik’s research group patients suddenly comes in and turns out they’ve helped Lydia to kidnap Benjamin. Here comes a great story behind this. Lydia, a demented woman thought that Benjamin was the son she had killed ten years ago, unbeknown to the police.
She blames Erik for this because during one session of hypnotism, she confesses to the whole group saying how brutally she tortures the little kid. She became obsessed with Bark and his unfinished therapy group. So she kidnaps Benjamin to inflict the same pain on Erik, the pain when she lost her child, twice.
The kid she killed also turns out to be the one kidnapped. She kidnapped the child when he was 2 years old, from Joakim Samuelsson, her boyfriend from Psychiatry clinic. Lydia gets pregnant when she was 14 with Joakim’s child, but made to get aborted. This abortion in the psychiatry house makes her incompetent to get pregnant in the future. This story is revealed by Joona on talking to Joakim.
Joona, Erik and Simone finally find Benjamin hidden in a cottage in the middle of the mountains close to a lake, just in time to save him from the madwoman who is going to “discipline” him, probably causing wounds which would have killed him. The woman tries to run away in a school bus, but it ends up on thin ice. Bark will rescue Benjamin from the drowning bus.