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Lazarus by Lars Kelper: A Fast-Paced Crime Thriller

Lazarus is the seventh book in the Joona Linna thriller series. Detective Joona Linna thinks his life has moved on, the serial killer who so devastated his family is dead. That is until bodies start piling up all over Sweden. Linna fears Jurek Walter is back from the dead and his family and loved ones are at serious risk. Walter is a serial killer with a difference; he does not kill you; he takes your family and destroys them - a fast-paced crime thriller.

This is my first Joona Linna book, but I had no trouble falling straight into the story. Kepler covers the background a new reader to the series needs well, at no time did I feel I was missing information. It’s clear from the outset there is significant and bad history between Linna and Walter. Linna knows Walter is back, but his colleagues think otherwise. Jurek Walter was shot dead, and even some body parts recovered. DNA can not lie; there can be no doubt the man is dead.

As the body count starts to rise, Linna takes action. He contacts his daughter and has her join him in hiding. He tries to convince his partner she is at risk and to come with him, but she refuses to see the danger, and so Linna has to leave her behind. Still, Linna’s colleagues think Linna is crazy; no way is Walter coming back from the dead.

The novel follows two separate but interconnected stories of Linna and his colleague, Sabrina. I connected far better with Sabrina, a character I very much liked. Linna can not convince Sabrina that Walter is back, so he has to leave her to find this out for herself. Sabrina worries about her father and younger sister, Pellerina. Pellerina has downs syndrome. The sisters are close, Sabrina worries a lot about her younger sister. The reader follows Sabrina as she gradually realises that her family are in danger and that Linna may be right.

The man with the pearl earring the reader meets at the start of the novel is a violent criminal, and there are several scenes which are quite graphic, but I suspect this is usual for this genre. But readers be aware, there is a lot of gore and grotesque killings throughout this book. If you do not like reading violent scenes, this novel is probably not for you. Personally, I found there was so much of this in the story it began to have less impact on me the further I read on. The action scenes are well written, and the pace is furious—a pager turner for most of this quite lengthy book. Again, for me, the story would have been more taut and suspenseful if it had been a little shorter and if there had been more balance between physiological tension than so much graphic violence.

The series is written by a husband and wife team Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril who live with their family in Sweden and write under the pseudonym of Lars Kepler. The ending is a satisfying one and left open, setting the scene for book eight. I would prefer to read the earlier books in the series before reading on but judging by Lazarus book eight will be worth waiting for.

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