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INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLER • “A nonstop roller coaster of suspense, taking us deep into the hearts and minds of perfectly realized characters. And, oh, what a villain! ... The definition of a one-sitting read!” —Jeffery Deaver, New York Times best-selling author of The Goodbye Man
Sometimes the past won't stay buried.
All across Europe, the most ruthless criminals are suffering gruesome deaths. At first, it seems coincidental that their underworld affiliations are finally catching up to them. But when two of the victims are found to have disturbing connections to Detective Joona Linna, it becomes clear that there’s a single killer at work. Still, police are reluctant to launch an investigation. If a mysterious vigilante is making their jobs easier, why stand in his way? Joona, however, is convinced this is no would-be hero. These deaths serve a much darker purpose.
Desperate for help, Joona turns to Saga Bauer. If his hunch is correct, she’s one of the few people who stands a chance at bringing this criminal mastermind down. But Saga is fighting her own demons—and the killer knows just how to use them to his advantage. He continues to strike with impunity, and no one, it seems, is safe. When the killer begins targeting those closest to Saga and Joona, it appears more and more likely that Joona has been right all along, and that tracking down the person responsible will force him to confront a ghost from his past ... the most terrifying villain he’s ever had to face.
In Kepler's relentlessly grim seventh Killer Instinct novel (after 2018's The Rabbit Hunter), Joona Linna, a superintendent with Sweden's National Crimes Unit, who has "solved more complex murder cases than anyone else in Scandinavia," returns to active duty after completing a community service sentence following time in prison for assault. Meanwhile, a suspected grave robber is murdered in Oslo, and in his refrigerator is the skull of Linna's late wife, which the robber apparently dug up in Sweden and brought home to Norway. The dead man has whip marks on his back, injuries similar to those Linna saw on the brother of his dead Hannibal Lecter like adversary, Jurek Walter, in a previous outing. In Germany, those same injuries show up on the body of another murdered criminal, who made a call to Linna's cellphone shortly before his death. Linna becomes convinced that Walter is still alive and recruiting men across Europe to serve as accomplices in his crimes. Kepler (the pen name of a husband-wife writing team) maintains an almost unbearable level of tension throughout and does an outstanding job of making readers fear that anyone could die a horrible death at any time. Fans of serial killer fiction won't want to miss this one.