Review: Stalker | Lars Kepler

This Review contains spoilers.

Stalker“All I know is that God lost me somewhere along the way, and didn’t bother to go back and look” 

Series: Joona Linna
 2017, by HarperCollins.
Pages: 585
Format: Paperback
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Fiction
Contains: Strong Language, Violence, Death, Anger, Sexual Content, Drugs/Alcohol, Abuse

‘Stalker’ follows a murder case where the killer sends Stockholm’s National Crime Investigation Department a video of their next victim minutes before they strike. Investigators, Margot and Adam, have no leads, meaning they rely the smallest clues available in attempt to find the killer before they receive the next video.

I will admit, I’m not an avid crime reader. In all honesty, this is the first I’ve read for a long time, so this review may comment on some crime conventions that I’m not aware are part of the genre. Also, this book is the fifth instalment of a series that I haven’t had the chance to read; however, personally I don’t think it impacted the story as a whole.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story as a whole. The idea of a serial killer filming victims before their deaths was incredibly unsettling, yet cripping to read. I adored the concept, and found myself losing myself in the story fairly quickly. The short chapters were a blessing also, assisting my enjoyment as I found myself able to read in all environments. (I hate reading long-chaptered novels on public transport, so thanks, Kepler!) However, the amount of unnecessary chapters largely impacted my enjoyment of this book. For a book with 140 chapters, I found around 40-50 pointless. The amount of sub-plots, background characters and relationship drama filled so much space, and the book could have been a more intense pace if those chapters were cut. Also, sometimes the chapters cut themselves halfway through a situation then continued at the beginning of the next – what’s with that?

Adam’s character was a personal favourite, loving his dialogue and personality throughout the book. His kindhearted, yet strong personality helped move the story forward until his trauma towards the end of the novel. This progression was fun to read, and the impact it had on his character and loved ones was the moment I began to connect to the story more.

However, the thing that hindered my enjoyment the most about this novel was the language. Although, this may have simply been an issue regarding the translation, the language was extremely simple throughout the novel. This meant that descriptions were limited, and as someone who likes knowing the gory details – especially with crime – it led to incredibly underwhelming violence. The character’s attire were described in detail, yet everything else about the story was hardly spoke of. Plus, the unnecessary sex scenes were somewhat cringe-worthy with the lack of description; they were practically over in half a page.

Overall, for my first crime in a while this was a mostly enjoyable read. However, I will admit that it might have assisted my reading more if I had a familiarity with the characters, yet I mostly cared for the case anyway. (The book wasn’t advertised as part of a series, which makes me wonder whether it should be? There seems to have been multiple readers in a similar situation.)



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