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Books 210-211: Simple Genius and The Sandman

These two novels are linked in that the female leads each have a stay in a mental hospital though for very different reasons.

Book 210: Simple Genius (King and Maxwell #3).
Author: David Baldacci, 2007.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Serial Killer.
Other Details: ebook. 433 pages. .

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are both haunted by their last case. Realizing that Michelle is teetering on the brink of self-destruction from long-buried demons, Sean arranges therapy for his reluctant partner. But instead of focusing on her recovery, Michelle unearths disturbing secrets in the hospital . . .Sean accepts a much-needed job. A physicist, Monk Turing, has died in mysterious circumstances near Babbage Town – a secretive establishment populated by an eccentric group of scientists and cryptographers, funded by an anonymous but powerful group. ,,,,, Directly across the York River from Babbage Town lies the sinister CIA training ground, Camp Peary, where Monk Turing’s body was found. With both the FBI and CIA breathing down Sean's neck, can he discover the truth? And will he be in time to save Michelle from herself? - synopsis from UK publisher's website,

Another highly engaging and intelligent thriller from Baldacci. I did question a little as to whether Michelle's experiences in Book 2 were traumatic enough to lead to her being admitted to mental hospital. Still, this was explained in the course of the story as an underlying condition that had been stirred up by those events.

The author's notes provide the fascinating background to the novel. Great series that I plan to continue with. It is one to read in order as otherwise the whys of Michelle's situation won't make sense.

Book 211: The Sandman (Joona Linna #4) .
Author: Lars Kepler, 2012. Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith, 2014.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Serial Killer. Police Procedural. Nordic Noir.
Other Details: Hardback. 496 pages.

He's Sweden's most prolific serial killer. Jurek Walter is serving a life sentence. Kept in solitary confinement, he is still considered extremely dangerous by psychiatric staff. He'll lull you into a sense of calm. Mikael knows him as "the sandman". Seven years ago, he was taken from his bed along with his sister. They are both presumed dead. But Jurek Walter has one target left. When Mikael is discovered on a railway line, close to death, the hunt begins for his sister. To get to the truth, Detective Inspector Joona Linna will need to get closer than ever to the man who stripped him of a family; the man who wants Linna dead. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

One of my pet peeves is publishers who get the synopsis wrong. In this case Mikael and his sister disappeared thirteen, not seven, years ago. Of course, this has nothing to do with the novel itself, which was a terrific crime thriller that really pulled out all the stops. Joona is once again joined by Saga Bauer, who takes a dangerous assignment of going undercover at the high security psychiatric unit where Jurek Walter is being held.

Jurek Walter was a baddie that gave Hannibal Lecter a run for his money. Some important questions about Joona's past were answered though what of his future? A thrilling climax and all I can say is that I am so relieved there will be a Book 5 in the series.
Tags: crime fiction, police drama, thriller, translation
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