Book Review – The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler

077135-FC50The Fire Witness – Lars Kepler
Publisher: Published by Blue Door, a Harper Collins imprint
Release Date:  18 July, 2013
Rating: 5/5
Source:  Sent over by the folks at Blue Door
Synopsis:  One girl is dead

Detective Inspector Joona Linna has been called to a home for troubled girls, north of Stockholm. A young girl has been brutally murdered, her body arranged in bed with her hands covering her eyes.

One girl is missing

Vicky Bennet is the only girl unaccounted for. Did she run away to escape the chaos or does a bloody hammer found under her pillow make her the prime suspect?

One girl claims to have witnessed it all

In Stockholm, Flora Hansen works as a medium, pretending to commune with the dead. When she begins to suffer crippling visions of the young girl’s murder, will anyone believe her?

As Joona refuses to accept the easy answers, his search leads him into darker, more violent territory, and, finally, to a shocking confrontation with his past.

Remember how everyone on the Tube was reading The Hypnotist last year and how everywhere you looked you saw creepy posters or adverts for the book?  I can guarantee you The Fire Witness will be no less popular and just as well read on public transport.

I always know that I’m going to enjoy a book when I actually dream about it.  From get go, The Fire Witness gave me horrible, violent nightmares that mirrored the violence of the book.  Husband and wife writing duo, Lars Kepler, spare no punches when it comes to describing murder scenes and acts of brutality.

Like The Hypnotist (which I too read last year) chapters are short and punchy, some of them no longer than a page and a half making it easy to keep reading, promising “just one more chapter.”  My husband gave up on me after I said that five or six times!  The language mirrors the directness of the chapters and there’s no filler or fluff.  You get the story 100% and there aren’t any bits that the book could easily do without.

The Fire Witness, while an easy read, has very difficult subject matter.  Violence aside, there are issues of mental health in both adults and young girls as well as the bureaucracy of the police system.  All of these joined with the violence create a very disturbing book that you can’t help but devour.  Though it’s long at 512 pages (hardback) it will fly by.

Be warned–if you’re into deep character histories and such, you won’t get it here.  You’ll know what you need to know about various characters, including Linna, but you won’t get their life story.  You won’t necessarily find out what makes them tick.  I personally didn’t mind, particularly as I’d read Kepler before and knew to expect that.

I will just add that if you haven’t read The Hypnotist or The Nightmare, both of which feature Detective Joona Linna, don’t worry.  I haven’t actually read The Nightmare myself–each book is fairly standalone.  Yes, there are mentions of characters and events from books one and two however they’re so well explained (and so infrequent) that you don’t miss out on anything.

As ever, The Fire Witness leaves off with such a creepy cliffhanger that I can’t wait to read the next book.

The Fire Witness is out on 18 July 2013 and can be found online and in all good bookstores.


If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at]

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