Stockholm is up against a serial killer with an idiosyncratic method: the murderer sends the police a link to a video showing a woman at home and unaware that she's being watched, and not long afterward she is fatally maimed. After a third woman's body is found, detective Margot Silverman, who is handling the case, notes, "The level of brutality... appears to have extended far beyond the moment of death."
The killer's style recalls that of the Rebecka Hansson murder almost a decade earlier. Rebecka's death was attributed to Rocky Kyrklund, a priest who had a drug habit and has since been in a psychiatric hospital. The hospital staff insists that Rocky couldn't have escaped to commit the new crimes, bolstering psychiatrist Erik Maria Bark's fear that nine years ago he ensured that the real killer would remain free to murder again: when Erik did Rocky's psych evaluation all those years ago, he didn't believe the man's alibi, so he didn't pursue it.
As in the other books in the superb Joona Linna series, credited to Lars Kepler, a pseudonym of the wife-and-husband team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril, there's not an ounce of flab on Stalker despite its heft, which accommodates both scrupulous character development and elaborate scenes of derring-do. Fans of the series will be rewarded for their patience awaiting the appearance of detective Joona Linna; of course, given the conclusion of Stalker's predecessor, The Sandman, they'll be wondering how he will return and in what capacity. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer