The police receive a video clip of a woman in a window and reason that someone must have been standing in the garden just outside her house to be able to film her. The next day the woman is found dead in her home, the vicious violence of the scene shocks even the most seasoned investigators.
A few days later, another clip is sent anonymously to the police, but there's no way of identifying the woman before she too falls victim to a brutal attack. When he
finds her, the woman's husband is so traumatized by the violent scene that, in a state of panic, he starts cleaning the house. He even washes the blood from his
wife's body and puts her to bed, as if nothing is the matter. He may have seen a vital clue but is in such an extreme state of shock, and seems to be suffering from
short-term memory loss that the police cannot usefully question him.
Criminal psychiatrist and hypnotist Erik Maria Bark is called in hypnotize the man in order to unlock his memories of the murder scene. But what Dr Bark uncovers in his sessions with the dead woman's husband make him decide to lie to the police.
It becomes clear that the case cannot be solved without the help of Detective Joona Linna, the man who's been missing for more than a year and has been presumed dead.
Kepler's stellar fifth Joona Linna novel finds Joona, who faked his death in 2018's The Sandman to protect his family from a serial killer, replaced as the Swedish National Police Authority's expert on "serial killers, spree killers, and stalkers" by Margot Silverman. In Margot's baffling first case, Maria Carlsson, an Ikea product adviser, was stabbed repeatedly in her home, and her facial features were almost completely effaced. Maria's killer posted a video of Maria putting on tights, filmed from her garden, to YouTube shortly before the murder. Before Margot can make any progress, another video is posted of a woman eating ice cream and watching TV that also is followed by bloody slaughter. Joona reenters the picture after he learns that his nemesis is dead, but his unconventional methods again land him in trouble. The reveal of the stalker's identity is a genuine gut-punch, albeit fairly clued. Kepler (the pen name for the husband-and-wife writing team of Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril) does a masterly job of elevating the serial killer thriller beyond genre clich s and tropes. 50,000-copy announced first printing.