The Sandman by Lars Kepler

The Sandman

Lars Kepler

Fans of police procedurals, murder mysteries, and psychological thrillers will be completely engrossed by The Sandman.

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“With its tight, staccato chapters and cast of dangerous wraiths lurking everywhere, The Sandman is a nonstop fright.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

The #1 internationally best-selling thriller from the author of The Hypnotist tells the chilling story of a manipulative serial killer and the two brilliant police agents who must try to beat him at his own game.

Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier, he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden's most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Now Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman. Years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna made an excruciating personal sacrifice to ensure Jurek's capture. He is keenly aware of what this killer is capable of, and now he is certain that Jurek has an accomplice. He knows that any chance of rescuing Mikael's sister depends on getting Jurek to talk, and that the only agent capable of this is Inspector Saga Bauer, a twenty-seven-year-old prodigy. She will have to go under deep cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and she will have to find a way to get to the psychopath before it's too late--and before he gets inside her head.

Advance Galley Reviews

This is a great, dark thriller. In the same vein as Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Snowman. Creepy and twisty. A real joy to read.

Super creepy and fast-paced. I haven't read the Joona novels before this one, but I didn't feel like I was missing much -- I was pulled in quickly and never looked back. It was hard to put down, and the short chapters kept the action moving. Jurek is one of those villains that is so sinister and superhuman he can't be real, but by midway through my gut clenched every time he entered the room. My only complaint -- and it's not one that stands up to criticism -- is that after a novel this creepy I'd sleep better if I got some closure, but the epilogue here is agonizing. And, well, it wouldn't be a Swedish thriller without a sex criminal on the side, even if he's not the main villain, and when I get to that part in any in this genre I cringe just from the predictability of it. But a really amazing ride and great storytelling. I got a copy to review from First to Read.

I really wish First to Read was better about clarifying books in a series. I would have loved to read this one but I'm super anal about reading books in order and there's no way I could work in the first ones and still get this read in time. The first two chapters I read though before I realized it was part of a series though were very intriguing and I'll be looking for copies of all of these eventually.

I read the previous three books in this series a few years ago and I recall thinking they were pretty grim and gory but that the actual stories were good. This one, not so much. The only character whose behavior made sense was the killer and I still don’t understand why he was able to make otherwise sensible people do such irrational things just by speaking to them. Character development was limited. However, the rationale for the murders was very clever and I give it two stars for that. Also, I hate a cliffhanger ending. If a book in a series is good, readers will come back for more. Just not me. I am a fan of Nordic Noir but not this one.

The Sandman is a very captivating thriller and is hard to put down. While the book is on the darker side, the unique plot and characters made for an intriguing and mysterious book. While most of the characters were well-developed, I think the author could have done more to develop the villain’s character. While often villains do not give a black and white account of motives and methods some aspects of this villain were left unexplained which was a little confusing with regards to his manipulative power over people. The ending also carried on with some twists and turns that were a little too much and hard to believe, but there is an ending that though it leaves it open for another book you do not feel dissatisfied. Though the book is part of a series it can be read as a stand-alone book. 4/5 stars

This book is special in its manner of weaving crime, thrill, and extraordinary characters together seamlessly. I enjoyed the many twists and turns by especially the moments that shocked you out of your own breath.

A first class thriller! A wounded young man is walking in a far away railroad in the middle of the night. He has just escaped from a place he has been held captive for thirteen years. He was abducted, along with his younger sister when they were children. The have disappeared in the darkness and the authorities thought them to be dead. They all did. All, but police inspector Joona Linna. Several years ago, Joona and a colleague arrested a man red handed. He was a psychopath and serial killer under the name Jurek Walter. Jurek Walter is now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. However, Joona believes he has an accomplish, he always had. He needs to find this accomplish and the location where the young man was held. His sister is still there and she must be set free as well! They have to hurry, or her illness will be irreversible! “The Sandman” is the fourth book in the in the series with Police Inspector Joona Linna, written by Lars Kepler. Even though I have not read the three books ahead of it, I could easily get in the plot and under the main character’s skin. He is a very determined police inspector! He is devoted to his work and he never underestimates the criminal he is after. He always puts himself in the enemy shoes and tries to think the same way, in order to lead the investigation forward. He has gone under a sacrifice, no man should ever have to go through, and this explains a lot on his character! The villain in this book is a very intelligent person. He is someone that is locked at a clinic/prison, without any communication with the outside world, and yet he manag

First of all, can we have a Saga Bauer series? Or at least a follow-up? I'd take a prequel, even. Okay, on to the review. This was twisted and creepy from get go, right down to the very last page. I don't know how the husband & wife team comprising Lars Kepler comes up with it but damn. This book is the poster child for page-turner. Here are some highlights: 1. Fast-paced plot, which still took time to flesh out characters, by making the chapters pretty short. 2. Who would have thought that a Scandinavian crime thriller could be so diverse? The authors use names and short descriptions of characters to make sure that you know that everyone in this book isn't white, blond-haired and blue-eyed. 3. Two amazing main characters, and a very, very creepy villain. Lots of side characters with little details and anecdotes to bring them to life. 4. All the twists and turns and WTF moments you could ever want. The hits just keep coming, so don't even try to catch your breath.

A gripping thriller that kept me turning the pages with many twists, engaging characters and an interesting foreign setting. I'll look forward to reading more novels in the series, and I'm adding the author to my growing list of favorite Scandinavian crime writers.

As a fan of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, I was excited to read Lars Kepler's "The Sandman." While I liked the main characters, Detective Inspector Joona Linna and Inspector Saga Bauer, I found the writing stilted and the last third of the novel predictable. The story is a chilling one about a serial killer outside Stockholm, and it's a quick read. Unlike most of the other reviewers, however, I found this book disappointing.

There are so many good things to be said about this book. Many of which are mainstays of books that I always find enjoyable can be found in this book. The Sandman is a fast paced thriller and read that is hard to put down. The characters are so interesting and well developed that I found myself trying to picture them, as it relates to movie casting. The book has a GREAT villian(s), who reminded me of a Hannibal Lecter type.

This book gave me vibes of Patterson’s Kiss the Girls and Silence of the Lambs! Jurek reminded me so much of Hannibal Lector! The short chapters and constant moving plot helped to keep me engaged until the end of the novel! I did enjoy the twists that I did not see coming! I wasnt aware of this being a series, but I will be checking out the others!

I didn’t realize this book was part of a series. I usually won’t read books out of order but I started this one and I’m definitely glad I did. It kept me hooked until the end. I can’t wait to read the first 3 books in the series. This is a must read!

I didn't realize that this was the fourth book in a series. I don't feel like that keeps you from being able to read it out of order though. I wouldn't usually read a book in the middle of a series, but I really enjoyed this book. It was a great plot, great characters, and a great read. It was full of twists and turns. It was really riveting.

I didn't realize this book was part of a series until I started reading, but I had no trouble keeping up with the story. It was a real attention getter. The story kept me wondering how things were happening and what was going to happen next. And now I can't wait to read the other books in the series to learn more about Joona!! Great read!!!

That was definitely a roller coaster ride. I didn't see many of the twists and turns. Several times I thought it was going to end a different way only to have something else thrown into the mix. It definitely kept you on the edge of your seat until the very end. I am tempted to read more of the series to find out what happened to Joona since the ending didn't give you much of anything to go off of. Highly recommend this book, though.

Wow-- all I can say is Wow! That was so intense! I was white-knuckled, on the edge of my seat to the end! This one would make a fabulous movie-- I can see it now on the big screen-- it has all the key elements for a hit! The suspense, mystery, plot and how it advanced were very well written. I literally could not put it down-- seriously I read all 400+ pages in 2 days! I think this is one of the best books I have read in this genre so far this year-- I give it 5 stars! I am going to keep my eye out for more by this author!

I didn't realize that this book was part of a series until after the fact, when I went to look up some information on Amazon about it. It clearly works well as a stand alone, though now I'm desperate to read more of the Detective Inspector Joona Linna series (THE SANDMAN is book 4 of 6). Pros of the book: + Super fast paced plot line that kept me hooked. + Serial killer with a very interesting back story that starts to build but is never quite clear until the one missing piece of information is revealed. + The characters are hateable (and likable). Too often lately, serial killers are given a back story that makes you almost be able to connect with them. While I was able to see how Jurek Walter became the killer he became, I was still able to hate him. Negatives: - Clearly, the book wasn't first written in English. This becomes clear when there are consistent inconsistencies in measurement adjustments (I know, America's a pain for using their own measurement system.,,but if you're going to convert from one to the other in a book translation, do it across the board. In one section, temperature is described in Fahrenheit while in another it is described as Celsius, etc.). - (or, really, I guess it's a +), I now have to go get the other five books in the Joona Linna series to read them. Like my "to be read" list needed help growing.

Oh First to Read, you've done it again! Sucked me into another excellent series. This is book 4 in the Joona Linna series, but works very well as a stand alone. I've seen quite a few reviews comparing it to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I don't think there were really any similarities (other than Sweden). The Sandman was brutal, gritty, twisty, and un-put-down-able! I felt Jurek Walter was what you'd get if Hannibal Lecter and Charles Manson had a really creepy, old, baby. I really liked this book and I can't wait to go back and read books 1-3 if the series.

So far what what I’ve read has been fantastic. It’s kept me anticipating what’s coming next and wondering how it’s all possible. I highly recommend reading this.

When I started reading the book i knew nothing about the author. The genre soon became apparent. Not by plot but by genre it was very reminiscent of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" I started reading the first 30 pages were hard getting through it kept going from one scene to another without seeming cohesion but then it came together and it was an exciting read.

This was the first book I have read from this husband and wife team, but will definitely not be the last. This definitely reminded me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in some ways, but it far surpasses these in my opinion. I was enraptured with the character development and was completely shocked at the culmination of this book. I have already wishlisted more books from this author and cannot wait to get back into the world created by these brilliant minds. Thanks, First to Read for the opportunity to read this book.

I loved this book! It was fast-paced and full of twists and turns.

When a man thought to have been a victim of a serial killer resurfaces and claims his missing sister may still be alive, the Stockholm police send agent Saga Bauer undercover in a high security psychiatric facility in an attempt to gain clues from psychopathic murderer Jurek Walter. The Sandman inevitably brings to mind The Silence of the Lambs; however, Lars Kepler plants enough plot twists to prevent it from being an inferior imitation. Through short chapters, Kepler keeps the story building with horrific, disturbing details. Not for the faint of heart.

What a fun, twisty book! While I realized several of the twists before they happened, that didn't lessen the suspense or my interest in seeing how the characters found out what was happening and how they handled it. I truly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. Curious to see what this husband-wife team write next!

This was the first book I have read by the husband and wife duo. When I requested the ARC I didn't realized it was the fourth book in the series. Having said that I don't feel I have missed out on to much back story on the characters and that this novel works well as a stand alone. I felt that this has a fast paced plot with a few surprised that I hadn't really anticipated. There were a few scenes that I had found sort of disturbing, but over all found the read to be enjoyable. I look forward to going back and reading the earlier novels in the series. Thank you, Lars Kepler, and First to Read for the digital copy to read and review.

Publisher Description During a cold winter night in Stockholm a man is found walking alongside a railway bridge, suffering from hypothermia and legionella. After he's rushed to the hospital, it's discovered that, according to a death certificate, the man has been dead for over seven years. He is believed to be a victim of notorious serial killer Jurek Walter, who was arrested years ago by Detective Inspector Joona Linna and sentenced to a life of total isolation in forensic psychiatric care. As Joona Linna investigates where the "dead man" has been all these years, some unexpected evidence leads to the reopening of a cold case. Danger is imminent, and someone needs to get under the skin of the serial killer--fast--as they are running out of time. My Reflections This was the first book I have read by Lars Kepler. Since finishing, I have learned that this pseudonym is actually a husband and wife writing team and that this is the fourth book in their series. I enjoyed the story and didn't feel like I had been dropped in the midst of a series, thus missing vital information, so for me at least, it worked as a standalone. I plan to go back and read the first three books though, so my opinion might change causing me to update this review. Any serial killer story I have read has been dark, creepy and disturbing. Some authors just do it better than others and this one was certainly very well written. The characters were complex, the plot was fast-paced, and The Sandman, Jurek Walter reminded me of Hannibal Lector, another character you definitely do not want in your head. When one of The Sandman's victims is found alive, it is a race against the clock to see if any others might be saved. 2017 was an excellent reading year for me, and I wondered as 2018 dawned if the books I would read could meet or exceed the prior year. So far, everything I have read has been very good and The Sandman was no exception. Thank you, Lars Kepler, and First to Read for the digital copy to read and review.

This book takes a little while to get going, but once it does, you'll have to hold on for the ride! I wasn't aware until after I finished the book that it is a later installment of a series- I generally prefer to read a series in order, but in this case, I don't think I lost too much by jumping in midstream. While a few of the plot twists were a little far-fetched (don't worry, no spoilers!), I enjoyed this book overall, although in the grand tradition of Nordic Noir, it is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

I think The Sandman was just what I was looking for in suspense novels. I was engrossed but yet it broke my heart at the same time. There were some twists I was expecting. Joona and Saga I rooted for. I am guessing the theme is acceptance because both of the detectives have broken family ties. I didn't realize this book was fourth in a series but I didn't have trouble keeping up.They are both interesting characters. At first, I thought Reider Frost was a terrible person until I found out he was a grieving man. I am a first-time reader of this author and I will be a long-time fan

OMG! This book just blew me away! In “The Sandman”, the 4th installment in the Joona Linna series, a young man has appeared walking across a train bridge one night. But this young man disappeared as a 13 years ago along with his sister, and has been declared dead. Detective Inspector Joona Linna was on the original case and even though a suspect was arrested, prosecuted, and is still incarcerated, Joona had always believed there was an accomplice. Now he’s sure of it, and the hunt is on. Jurek Walter is securely imprisoned with no contact with the outside world, so why was Mikael released? And who released him? He claims his sister is still alive, but where is she being kept? Can Joona and his team unravel the clues before the girl’s time runs out? This was my first time with DI Joona Linna but I don’t think it will be my last. The suspense is unbelievable. The storyline has lots of twists but it all comes together brilliantly for a totally unexpected ending. I thought the characters were great with a depth to them that made them feel real and relatable. The scenes in the mental hospital took my breath away. This book takes place in Sweden which was new for me and some of the names were a bit challenging but I got to learn about a different country so it balances out. Everything about this book is 5 star.

I got about a quarter of the way into this book before I finally acknowledged that I was going to have to give it up. It’s just a lot darker and twisted that I was expecting. Seriously, this book could give me nightmares, so I’m going to have to say no. What I read was well-written, but it’s just not for me.

First thing I want to thank First to read for giving me an early addition of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have never read any of the other books in this series so I was completely unaware of the backstory of the characters, but I had no problem at all following the story. I am sure there are some connections and undertones to characters that I may have missed, being new to the series, but it didn’t effect my enjoyment of the story in any way. I was able to understand the characters well and this particular story was very well written and fun to read. The Sandman is the fourth book in the Joona Linna series. This is a police procedural that takes place in Stockholm Sweden. It follows a police detective Joona Linna as he matches wits with a serial killer named Jurek Walter. Walter is caught in the beginning of the novel and put into a secure psychiatric hospital but Joona Linna believes that Walter had an accomplice named The Sandman. Linna’s family will never be safe as long as he is unable to find this accomplice. I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I will just say that Linna and his team decide to send in an undercover agent to get information from Walter so they can find a missing girl they know he kidnapped years earlier. I really liked this story. It was very well written and thought out. The characters are really interesting and complex. My only real complaint is that it ended in a cliffhanger, which is my biggest pet peeve. I really hate feeling like I have to buy the next book in order to finish this story. It is a cheap trick in my opinion to get people to continue to buy your books. This’s book was written well enough that I don’t think the author needs to do that to get people to buy their books. But maybe they just like the suspense it adds to the story. All that being said I really liked the book and I would recommend it to fans of police procedurals and Swedish crime fiction. I give it 4 stars out of 5 stars.

This was an INCREDIBLE find, and I'm so happy that I didn't know that it was book four in a series going in, or I'd never have requested it... (I hate reading series books out of order as a rule.) When I was getting ready to read this one (which intrigued me immensely with its blurb, title, and cover art), I looked it up on GoodReads - there I saw a number of comments about it being the (at least theoretical) last book in the Joona Linna series, and almost immediately didn't open it. Reading series books out of order is bad enough; reading the final book in a series when you haven't read any of the others is usually a non-starter, since all the loose ends are usually being tied up at that point and it's tough to make the story stand alone. Having not read any of the earlier books, I can't tell you anything about loose ends. I can, however, tell you that I never once felt lost or behind the eight ball when reading this one. It's possible (and likely) that I would have found the read to be richer if I'd known backstory - but it's honestly hard to imagine that the story could have been better for it, because I absolutely LOVED this book... The characters are immensely compelling, the plot was intricate and sinuous and fascinating to watch develop. There was darkness inside of nearly every character - a roiling, living darkness that varied in degree and complexity but made everyone all the more intriguing for it. The writing was deft and taut and kept me furiously flipping pages to see what would come next. This is not a book for the faint of heart - in my experience, most Swedish thriller fiction is not. But it is an incredible thrill ride of a tale, and I am now dying to get through my review backlog so I can dig in to the first three books in this series!

The Kepler team requires a serious commitment from readers of this tale. Think Hannibal Lector meets Salt meets Jack Reacher meets a Scandinavian fairy tale with a great deal of Swedish geography to wade through. If readers are able to muddle through and invest in the narrative the potential of good to overcome diabolical will come into question. How far will the good guys go to save others and defeat evil? Is the war ever really over?

The story is well-paced and well-written. The characters on the police/crime force were nicely fleshed out. I was disappointed in the less-dimensional side players. Jurek is an excellent villian - his complete emotionlessness adds a level of otherness about him that plays well into the story. That said, his manipulative ability on characters other than Saga didn't really seem to have a reason behind it. I spent time wondering how he managed to bend these people with whom he had little actual interaction to his will. Definitely worth a read

This book played out like a movie in my mind. It was scary in all the right places, and also creepy as all get out! I did not read the previous books by this author but that wasn't a problem. Enough character background was provided to help me work out the details. There were several scenes that made my skin crawl, mostly due to the violent and abusive nature of the topic, so I wouldn't recommend this to a teen. Some parts of the story felt bogged down by Hollywood-type details. Additionally, the story was written in 3rd person present tense, which made it feel more like a script than a book. It would be a great book for fans of X-Files or police drama shows. Overall, it was a good read that made me think!

A young man, Mikael Kohler-Frost, is found wandering outside Stockholm. He and his sister Felicia went missing thirteen years prior, presumed dead, victims of serial killer Jurek Walter. When Mikael tells police he and his sister were being held captive by the Sandman and that she is still alive, Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins his search. Jurek is being held as part of his life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital where he is not allowed to have any contact. Joona sends Inspector Saga Bauer deep under cover to the facility to gain Jureks trust and find out where Felicia is being held before it's too late. All the stars for this one...The Sandman is a fast paced action crime thriller that I could not put down. I have not read the other Joona Linna books in the series but did not find it a problem to keep up with the story line. I am an instant fan of this dynamic writing duo and will be adding more of their books to my TBR list. I found Jurek Walter's character to be an absolutely terrifying serial killer with manipulative capacities along the lines of Hannibal Lecter. I absolutely loved this novel and devoured it in a couple of days. I would definitely recommend this novel.

Intriguing. Closer to 3.5/5 stars for me. I'm a little torn on this one. On one hand Jurek Walter is the most sadistic, terrifying serial killer I've ever seen brought to life on the page. He makes my skin crawl the same way Kilgrave from Jessica Jones does. On the other hand, his sheer evasion, escape, ability to overpower and intuition seem almost supernatural in a somewhat annoying way. As in, nobody is that good. But, it's fiction and deserves a little suspension of disbelief. Besides that, it was great. Fast paced, easily digestible chapters, well developed characters, a truly detestable bad guy and an ending that leaves it open for another book. All in all, worth a read.


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