Monday & Murder

True to form I’m the last person in the world to get to some books. I’m either one of the first or the last on book hypes it seems. In a quick phone conversation with my parents this weekend I mentioned that I had started reading Kepler, and how much I was enjoying it and I could literally hear my father making a face on the other end like ” Oh really? I’ve been a fan of these books for years and now you see the point?”. And yes, I did learn to “bitchface” from my father.

Well, I’m always saying that are a time and place for most books. There are some genuinely bad books out there, and a few of them become bestsellers oddly enough. I have no problem understanding why people are such huge fans of this series however , I just haven’t been in the mood for contemporary crime for a few years ( the first book about Jonna Linna came 7 years ago. Been busy with fantasy, Russian classics and non-fiction during those years apparently). And all of a sudden I’m also reading sci-fi. Is Mercury in retrograde? Because that would explain lot.

Are these plots realistic? No. Do they add up completely? No. But during the time I’m reading them I’m completely absorbed; train rides just fly by, I nearly miss appointments and when people cancel plans I’m like “No problem”. When I’m finished though I start that process of ” but if? Why did he? Do these people never think properly?”. No, they don’t, it’s book not real life. My best analogy is that this is the Hollywood version of Stockholm. The police force doesn’t act like that, crimes like these are rarely seen in Sweden, especially not of this magnitude. Hyperreality kind of.

The first in the series, Hypnotisören, introduced Jonna Linna. He is troubled as detectives are wont to be in novels.( With the exception of Miss Marpel and Hercule Poirot; Christie famously liked her sleuths well-balanced). In any case the cause of the troubles is a bit of a sub-plot and being only two books in I don’t know that much yet. He is a migraine sufferer so I feel affinity I guess. But the main plot involved several psychopaths with high intelligence, means to murder and defenseless children. Nothing is in fact taken out of thin air, many of the things are inspired by real events like Marc Dutroux in Belgium, but put together to create a larger then life story. The same goes for the second book.

What does save these books is that the couple behind the Lars Kepler pen name do point it out in the book, and always try to point out social injustices. They are not making light of events but try to put in a message about social injustices and point out the failings of society, which is very much in the tradition of Sjöwall-Wahlö (another famous crime writing duo that changed (and maybe started) the Nordic crime scene). How successful are they in that? I don’t know. I was kind of in that whole “human rights is important, fascism is non acceptable and opinions are not facts”-vibe before.

Point is, these have a certain amount of depth and intelligence  too them (and are fairly cultured) and I wouldn’t be surprised if I have read all of them at the end of the year.


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