Catalogue


The nightmare /
Lars Kepler ; translated from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg
edition
1st Picador ed.
imprint
New York : Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013, c2010.
description
500 p. ; 21 cm.
ISBN
1250024102 :, 9781250024107 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
added author
imprint
New York : Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013, c2010.
isbn
1250024102 :
9781250024107 :
general note
Sequel to: The hypnotist
abstract
"In this sequel to THE HYPNOTIST, Detective Joona Linna returns to investigate a series of interlinking murders surrounding a suspicious Swedish arms deal"--
catalogue key
9958356
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Audie Award, USA, 2013 : Nominated
First Chapter
1
foreboding

 
A cold shiver runs down Penelope Fernandez’s spine. Her heart beats faster and she darts a look over her shoulder. Perhaps she feels a sense of foreboding of what’s to come as her day progresses.
In spite of the television studio’s heat, Penelope’s face feels chilled. Maybe the sensation is left over from her time in makeup when the cold powder puff was pressed to her skin and the peace-dove hair clip was taken out so they could rub in the mousse that would make her hair fall in serpentine locks.
Penelope Fernandez is the spokesperson for the Swedish Peace and Reconciliation Society. Silently, she is being ushered into the newsroom and to her spotlighted seat across from Pontus Salman, CEO of the armaments manufacturer Silencia Defense AB. The news anchor Stefanie von Sydow is narrating a report on all the layoffs resulting from the purchase of the Bofors Corporation by British BAE Systems Limited. Then she turns to Penelope.
“Penelope Fernandez, in several public debates you have been critical of the management of Swedish arms exports. In fact, you recently compared it to the French Angola-gate scandal. There, highly placed politicians and businessmen were prosecuted for bribery and weapons smuggling and given long prison sentences. But here in Sweden? We really haven’t seen this, have we?”
“Well, you can interpret this in two ways,” replies Penelope. “Either our politicians behave differently or our justice system works differently.”
“You know very well,” begins Pontus Salman, “that we have a long tradition of—”
“According to Swedish law,” Penelope says, “all manufacture and export of armaments are illegal.”
“You’re wrong, of course,” says Salman.
“Paragraphs 3 and 6 of the Military Equipment Act,” Penelope points out with precision.
“We at Silencia Defense have already gotten a positive preliminary decision.” Salman smiles.
“Otherwise this would be a case of major weapons crimes and—”
“But, we do have permission.”
“Don’t forget the rationale for armaments—”
“Just a moment, Penelope.” Stefanie von Sydow stops her and nods to Pontus Salman, who’s lifted his hand to signal that he wasn’t finished.
“All business transactions are reviewed in advance,” he explains. “Either directly by the government or by the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products, if you know what that is.”
“France has similar regulations,” says Penelope. “And yet military equipment worth eight million Swedish crowns landed in Angola despite the UN weapons embargo and in spite of a completely binding prohibition—”
“We’re not talking about France, we’re talking about Sweden.”
“I know that people want to keep their jobs, but I still would like to hear how you can explain the export of enormous amounts of ammunition to Kenya? It’s a country that—”
“You have no proof,” he says. “Nothing. Not one shred. Or do you?”
“Unfortunately, I cannot—”
“You have no concrete evidence?” asks Stefanie von Sydow.
“No, but I—”
“Then I think I’m owed an apology,” says Pontus Salman.
Penelope stares him in the eyes, her anger and frustration boiling up, but she tamps it down, stays silent. Pontus Salman smiles smugly and begins to talk about Silencia Defense’s factory in Trollhättan. Two hundred new jobs were created when they were given permission to start production, he says. He speaks slowly and in elaborate detail, deftly truncating the time left for his opponent.
As Penelope listens, she forces aside her anger by focusing on other matters. Soon, very soon, she and Björn will board his boat. They’ll make up the arrow-shaped bed in the forecabin and fill the refrigerator and tiny freezer with treats. She conjures up the frosted schnapps glasses, and the platter of marinated herring, mustard herring, soused herring, fresh potatoes, boiled eggs, and hardtack. After they anchor at a tiny island in the archipelago, they’ll set the table on the afterdeck and sit there eating in the evening sun for hours.
*   *   *
Penelope Fernandez walks out of the Swedish Television building and heads toward Valhallavägen. She wasted two hours waiting for a slot in another morning program before the producer finally told her she’d been bumped by a segment on quick tips for a summer tummy. Far away, on the fields of Gärdet, she can make out the colorful tents of Circus Maximus and the little forms of two elephants, probably very large. One raises his trunk high in the air.
Penelope is only twenty-four years old. She has curly black hair cut to her shoulders, and a tiny crucifix, a confirmation present, glitters from a silver chain around her neck. Her skin is the soft golden color of virgin olive oil or honey, as a boy in high school said during a project where the students were supposed to describe one another. Her eyes are large and serious. More than once, she’s heard herself described as looking like Sophia Loren.
Penelope pulls out her cell phone to let Björn know she’s on her way. She’ll be taking the subway from Karlaplan station.
“Penny? Is something wrong?” Björn sounds rushed.
“No, why do you ask?”
“Everything’s set. I left a message on your machine. You’re all that’s missing.”
“No need to stress, then, right?”
As Penelope takes the steep escalator down to the subway platform, her heart begins to beat uneasily. She closes her eyes. The escalator sinks downward, seeming to shrink as the air becomes cooler and cooler.
Penelope Fernandez comes from La Libertad, one of the largest provinces in El Salvador. She was born in a jail cell, her mother attended by fifteen female prisoners doing their best as midwives. There was a civil war going on, and Claudia Fernandez, a doctor and activist, had landed in the regime’s infamous prison for encouraging the indigenous population to form unions.
Penelope opens her eyes as she reaches the platform. Her claustrophobic feeling has passed. She thinks about Björn waiting for her at the motorboat club on Långholmen. She loves skinny-dipping from his boat, diving straight into the water, seeing nothing but sea and sky.
She steps onto the subway, which rumbles on, gently swaying, until it breaks out into the open as it reaches the station at Gamla Stan and sunlight streams in through the windows.
Like her mother, Penelope is an activist and her passionate opposition to war and violence led her to get her master’s in political science at Uppsala University with a specialty in peace and conflict resolution. She’s worked for the French aid organization Action Contre la Faim in Darfur, southern Sudan, with Jane Oduya, and her article for Dagens Nyheter, on the women of the refugee camp and their struggles to regain normalcy after every attack, brought broad recognition. Two years ago, she followed Frida Blom as the spokesperson for the Swedish Peace and Reconciliation Society.
Leaving the subway at the Hornstull station, Penelope feels uneasy again, extremely uneasy, without knowing why. She runs down the hill to Söder Mälarstrand, then walks quickly over the bridge to Långholmen and follows the road to the small harbor. The dust she kicks up from the gravel creates a haze in the still air.
Björn’s boat is in the shade directly underneath Väster Bridge. The movement of the water dapples the gray girders with a network of light.
Penelope spots Björn on the afterdeck. He’s got on his cowboy hat, and he stands stock-still, shoulders bent, with his arms wrapped closely about him. Sticking two fingers in her mouth, she lets loose a whistle, startling him, and he turns toward her with a face naked with fear. And it’s still there in his eyes when she climbs down the stairs to the dock. “What’s wrong?” she asks.
“Nothing,” he answers, as he straightens his hat and tries to smile.
As they hug, she notices his hands are ice-cold and the back of his shirt is damp.
“You’re covered in sweat.”
Björn avoids her eyes. “It’s been stressful getting ready to go.”
“Bring my bag?”
He nods and gestures toward the cabin. The boat rocks gently under her feet and the air smells of lacquered wood and sun-warmed plastic.
“Hello? Anybody home?” she asks, tapping his head.
His clear blue eyes are childlike and his straw-colored hair sticks out in tight dreadlocks from under the hat. “I’m here,” he says. But he looks away.
“What are you thinking about? Where’s your mind gone to?”
“Just that we’re finally heading off together,” he answers as he wraps his arms around her waist. “And that we’ll be having sex out in nature.”
He buries his lips in her hair.
“So that’s what you’re dreaming of,” she whispers.
“Yes.”
She laughs at his honesty.
“Most people … women, I mean, think that sex outdoors is a bit overrated,” she says. “Lying on the ground among ants and stones and—”
“No. No. It’s just like swimming naked,” he insists.
“You’ll have to convince me,” she teases.
“I’ll do that, all right.”
“How?” She’s laughing as the phone rings in her cloth bag.
Björn stiffens when he hears the signal. Penelope glances at the display.
“It’s Viola,” she says reassuringly before answering. “Hola, Sis.”
A car horn blares over the line as her sister yells in its direction. “Fucking idiot.”
“Viola, what’s going on?”
“It’s over. I’ve dumped Sergei.”
“Not again!” Penelope says.
“Yes, again,” says Viola, noticeably depressed.
“Sorry,” Penelope says. “I can tell you’re upset.”
“Well, I’ll be all right I guess. But … Mamma said you were going out on the boat and I thought … maybe I could come, too, if you don’t mind…”
A moment of silence.
“Sure, you can come, too,” Penelope says, although she hears her own lack of enthusiasm. “Björn and I need some time to ourselves, but…”


 
Copyright © 2010 by Lars Kepler
Translation copyright © 2012 by Laura A. Wideburg

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-07-06:
On a June night, a pleasure boat is found drifting on a bay in the Stockholm archipelago; its only passenger is a young woman who drowned although her clothes are dry. The next day a well-dressed man is discovered hanging from a lamp hook in his apartment, an apparent suicide. There seems to be no connection between the cases until Insp. Joona Linna identifies the victims. The dead woman is the sister of Penelope Fernandez, a well-known peace activist, and the hanged man is Carl Palmcrona, a government official in charge of approving Sweden's arms exports. Now Joona must race to find Penelope before a ruthless killer does. Verdict As in The Hypnotist, Kepler (a husband-and-wife writing team) displays a sharp talent for intricate multistrand plotting and nail-biting suspense. The scenes of Penelope and her boyfriend trying to escape their single-minded pursuer on a remote island are almost unbearable in their gripping tension, yet the reader can't stop turning the pages. Unfortunately, the gothic creepiness and shocking violence turn cartoonish when the villain is finally confronted in an unbelievable and ridiculous denouement that comes out of a bad James Bond movie. Still, fans of Swedish crime fiction may enjoy, although they will hate themselves for wasting precious vacation reading time after finishing this disappointing thriller. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/12; previewed in Kristi Chadwick's "Crime Travels" spotlight feature, LJ 4/15/12.-Ed.]-Wilda Williams, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2012-05-14:
Joona Linna looks into two bizarre deaths in Kepler's complex second novel featuring the Stockholm detective inspector (after 2011's The Hypnotist). Carl Palmcrona, the general director of the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products, which oversees military exports, is found hanged in an empty room in his house, while the Coast Guard discovers Penelope Fernandez drowned on a drifting motorboat in dry clothes. Linna senses there's more to both deaths than meets the eye, especially after Penelope's peace activist sister-who wasn't one to keep her views on Sweden's arms export business to places like Sudan a secret-goes missing. With the possible terrorist angle to consider, Linna must vie for control of the case with Sapo, the Swedish Security Service, and reluctantly joins forces with a 25-year-old female Sapo inspector. Fans of slow-burning Scandinavian crime fiction with troubled heroes will feel right at home with Kepler, the pseudonym of a Swedish literary couple. Agent: Jonas Axelsson, Bonnier Group Agency. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
Praise for Lars Kepler "Kepler's ability to inhabit the workings of psychotic psyches is authentically shocking. Larsson is destined to have many heirs....Kepler is by far the best."--- Time "Methadone for readers suffering from Stieg Larsson withdrawal...Outrageously entertaining."---Laura Miller, Salon "Kepler provides a master class in noir. Linna is a marvelous creation, a man filled with compassion and well-earned wisdom, but whose work regularly takes him into the darkest recesses of the heart."--- The Boston Globe "Kepler's characters are admirably flawed....It's a smooth collaboration...with frequent surprises and grace notes amid the carnage. With any luck, we'll hear more of Lars Kepler."--- The Washington Post "Gripping...Kepler will have you turning pages long after your bedtime."---David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Action-oriented, inventive, with over-the-top plots and larger-than-life heroes and criminals...Even stronger [than The Hypnotist]."--- Los Angeles TimesMagazine Praise for Lars Kepler "Kepler's ability to inhabit the workings of psychotic psyches is authentically shocking. Larsson is destined to have many heirs....Kepler is by far the best."--- Time "Methadone for readers suffering from Stieg Larsson withdrawal...Outrageously entertaining."---Laura Miller, Salon "Kepler's characters are admirably flawed....It's a smooth collaboration...with frequent surprises and grace notes amid the carnage. With any luck, we'll hear more of Lars Kepler."--- The Washington Post "Gripping...Kepler will have you turning pages long after your bedtime."---David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer
This item was reviewed in:
Boston Globe, July 2012
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Summaries
Main Description
"Kepler provides a master class in noir."--- The Boston Globe A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago---strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment---but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. From the internationally bestselling author of The Hypnotistcomes another spellbinding tale of Nordic crime.
Main Description
Author of The Hypnotist International Bestseller "Action-oriented, inventive, with over-the-top plots and larger-than-life heroes and criminals...Even stronger [than The Hypnotist]."--- Los Angeles TimesMagazine A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago---strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment---but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. From the internationally bestselling author of The Hypnotistcomes another spellbinding tale of Nordic crime.

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