I discovered the Swedish husband and wife writing team of Lars Kepler with the first book in their Inspector Joona Linna series - The Hypnotist. (my review) I loved it and it only got better with the second book - The Nightmare. (my review) I've been eagerly awaiting the North American release of the third book - The Fire Witness. And up front, I have to tell you it was a five star read for me.

Inspector Joona Linna is on suspension, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. Linna doesn't play by the rules, he goes for results by whatever means he sees fit.

"It is a serious charge, but this is not the first time Joona has run up against the authorities. It seems to be his nature....But what they can't ignore is that in the almost fifteen years Joona's been on the job, he's solved more challenging cases than any other Scandinavian officer."

And the cases Kepler come up with for Linna are challenging - not just for him but for the reader as well. I read a lot of crime fiction and this series keeps me guessing right 'til the end.

In the Fire Witness, Linna is called to 'observe' a particularly nasty case. A young girl has been found brutally murdered in her group home. Her body has been arranged with her hands covering her eyes. None of the other girls saw anyone or anything. Or did they? These are girls with a myriad of problems and getting a straight answer out of them seems impossible. And of course Joona can't stand by and just be an observer - he sees much more at crime scenes than his colleagues - clues and connections that others don't. The case begins there and Kepler builds layer upon layer into the case, including a would be psychic who may actually be the real thing. (Gentle readers be warned - Kepler pulls no punches with descriptions)

I've used the word creepy before to describe Kepler's books and I would use it to again to describe The Fire Witness. The settings, the plot, the characters and their actions are all unsettling, keeping readers on their toes.

The secondary plot line deals with Joona Linna's past. It has been alluded to in the past two books and at last we get to know what has happened to him. Not what I expected or imagined at all. (again, I love that I can't predict where Kepler is going to go next) The ending - oh, what an ending. I will be waiting on the edge of my seat for the North American release of the fourth book - The Sandman.

Definitely recommended. Kepler just gets better and better. Fans of Jo Nesbo and Jussi Adler-Olsen would enjoy this series.  Read an excerpt of The Fire Witness. You can find Lars Kepler on Facebook.

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