Let The Right One In vs Let Me In

This book has been sat waiting patiently on my bookshelf for some time but when Hubby downloaded the movie version, ‘Let Me In’, I had to read the book (I have a rule where the book has to be read first before the movie is watched – Do other readers share this ‘obsession’ too, I wonder?)  The book is a chunky 500+ pages but I got through them pretty quickly as it’s a good story which demands to be read.

In the book, we meet awkward pre-adolescent Oskar who has very few friends and is bullied mercilessly at school by a particular group of boys.  He lives with his mother and very rarely sees his father due to the reasons why his father left his mother (hinted at but made clear in the book but not referred to at all in the movie.)  Eli and who-is-a- first-assumed-to-be her father move in to the apartment next door. One night, Eli and Oskar meet in the playground outside their block and start talking.  Eli tells him from the start that they can never be friends but Oskar sees her as an ally and little by little, a strange but necessary friendship does develop between them.

This ‘friendship’ is equally disturbing and yet moving.  We piece together Eli’s story and what she actually is (you know this is a vampire story, right?) and more importantly, who her ‘father’ is and what he has to do.  This aspect of the book almost forms its’ own storyline as does that of a group of local ‘drunks’ (for want of a better word) and the direct impact Eli moving into their town has on them.  I really enjoyed this by-line actually and wanted more.  For reasons only known to themselves, the producers decided to omit these characters from the movie version completly, so for those of you who have only seen the movie, I strongly advise you to read the book as it is so much more complex and full-filling than its’ screen version.

This is turning into quite a lengthy review so I’ll stop now and leave you with a little quote from the book, which seems to highlight what the story is about as well as portraying the simple beauty of Oskar and Eli’s relationship.

“Are there a lot of you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know.”

“No, I don’t.”

Oskar’s gaze roamed the ceilings, trying to locate more cobwebs.  Found two.  Thought he saw a spider crawling on one of them.  He blinked.  Blinked again.  Eyes full of sand.  No spider.

“What do I call you then?  This thing that you are?”

“Eli.”

Hypnotised

My apologies in advance for the possible vagueness of this post. I read this book over a month ago – not usually a problem – but add to that a return to work, Christmas-mush brain and general over-tiredness as the year draws to a close, and you get this Blogger not quite remembering details of the book I read and about to review.  Sorry!

I do know that I did enjoy it and as crime/detective novels go, I found it quite an original one.  The Hypnotist is written by one of a number of Swedish crime authors coming out of the woodwork since the Millennium Trilogy. Of all the ones I have read, none of them match up to Stieg Larsson, in my opinion, but these Swedish crime authors seem to know their stuff and how to write compelling, original crime fiction.

The story begins when we first meet Josef, a young traumatised boy – suffering from numerous cuts and stab wounds – as he relives the horror of home where his family has just  been brutally murdered.  He tells hypnotist, Erik Bark, of  the graphically violent murder of his family.  Through hypnosis, they (Erik and the Detective assigned to the case) find that Erik has potentially witnessed the whole gruesome affair and therefore becomes their Key Witness.  As further hypnosis sessions happen, they learn of a missing sister who the police are baffled as to her whereabouts but they realise that she is in grave danger.  However, Erik starts to question the feasibility of Josef as a witness and isn’t entirely convinced that he is reacting as he should when under hypnosis.  This then leads to the reader questioning everything you ‘learn’ throughout the hypnosis sessions, and also causes you to doubt Erik, Josef, the Detective and the whole policeforce working on the case!  Where is Josef’s sister?  Is her life in danger too?  Why were the family selected to be slaughtered?  What exactly did Josef witness??

I love a book that raises more questions than it answers early on in the book. ‘ The Hypnotist’ keeps you guessing and once you know what is really going on – relatively early in the story – the ensuing confusion and mayhem certainly holds your interest.  I’m not sure if Lars Kepler has written other crime novels but I will be reading them if he has.

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