Thursday, January 27, 2022

An EXCLUSIVE excerpt from a NEW international Bestseller!


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: True story. “Lars Kepler” is the pen name for Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril, a husband and wife writing duo who live in Stockholm.  Listen to this:  Both Alexandra and Alexander were established writers in their own right before they adopted the Kepler pen name together.


At first, they kept their real identities secret—no one knew who Lars Kepler was when they published their debut Kepler novel, The Hypnotist. Their debut was so popular in Scandinavia that there was an actual manhunt to uncover their identities! 

 

The Swedish media hired a profiler to build a profile of Kepler, and even had a tip line running to try to identify who was behind the pen name. And eventually they were discovered.

 


But with their identities revealed–their success has continued.  They are #1 international bestsellers and their books have sold more than 15 million copies in 40 languages. Their newest bestseller is
THE MIRROR MAN. 

 

And listen to this, Reds and readers.

Lars Kepler has—have?—arranged for you not only to read an exclusive excerpt of their brand new sure-to-be blockbuster bestseller (and this is not available anywhere else!)

>but they are also giving away THREE copies of the book!

 

Read the excerpt, then see how to enter to win below.


In this exclusive excerpt from The Mirror Man, detective Joona Linna is called to the scene of a crime in Stockholm, Sweden. A young woman’s body has just been found in a city park, and Joona quickly recognizes her as the very same woman whose unsolved disappearance five years prior sparked national attention. Where has she been all these years? And who could have committed such a heinous crime?


Answering these questions will bring Joona Linna face to face with the most terrifying villain he’s ever encountered.


 

FROM THE MIRROR MAN

    by Lars Kepler

 

“So . . . we’ve followed the people who were in the area before and after the murder. Some of them appear on several cameras before disappearing.”


Johan picks up a pack of Pop Rocks, tears off one corner, and tips the contents into his mouth. They crackle between his teeth, popping and hissing as he brings up the footage.


“What time frame are we looking at?” asks Joona.


“I’ve been checking from nine o’clock the evening before and onward. There are a lot of people milling around then—several hundred pass the playground during the first hour And I stopped at four-thirty the next morning, when the place is crawling with cops.”


“Perfect.”


“I’ve cut together the relevant clips, person by person, to make it a bit more manageable.”


“Thanks.”


“Let’s start with the victim,” says Johan, hitting “play.”


The dark CCTV footage fills the screen, a time stamp in the top corner. From the far side of Svea Road, the camera captures the entrance to the Rådmans Street subway station. At the edge of the screen, a section of the park and the rounded façade of the university building are visible. The resolution is fairly sharp, despite the darkness.


“She’s coming soon,” Johan whispers.


The time stamp shows three in the morning, and in the glow of the streetlamp, the heavy rain looks like a series of sloping scratches.


Outside a shuttered convenience store and the steel door of the public restrooms, the pavement is glistening.


A man in a thick coat and a pair of yellow rubber gloves searches the trash can and then shuffles off along the wall of torn posters and pressure-washed graffiti.


Otherwise, the city is almost deserted. A white van drives by. Three men drunkenly stagger toward McDonald’s.


The city seems to darken as the rain becomes heavier.


A paper cup trembles on the low wall surrounding a pond. The water surges

through a grate.


A person enters the shot from the left, rounds the entrance to the subway station, and pauses beneath the overhanging roof, her back to the glass doors.

 

A taxi passes by on Svea Road. Its headlights sweep over her face and her blond hair. Jenny Lind.


In just ten minutes’ time, she will be dead. Her face is in shadow again.


Joona thinks about her brief struggle, legs kicking so hard that her shoes come off.

When the blood supply to the brain is cut off, the feeling of suffocation is nowhere near as gradual as it is when you hold your breath. Before the darkness finally overtakes you, the feeling is explosive and panicked.


Jenny hesitates and then steps out into the rain, turning her back to the camera, and walks past the convenience store, down the path at the end of the pond. Then she disappears from view.


One of the security cameras from the Public Library has captured her from a distance. The resolution is poor, but her hair and face catch the light from a streetlamp before she enters the blind spot around the playground.


“That’s all we have of her,” says Johan Jönson.


 “Understood.”


As Joona plays the footage back in his head, he realizes that Jenny knew exactly where she was going, only she hesitated—perhaps because of the rain, or because she was early.


What was she doing in the playground in the middle of the night?


Had she agreed to meet someone?


He can’t escape the feeling that it was a trap.

 

 


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: SO good, right? Incredibly atmospheric and sinister. And cinematic. Thank you, Lars Kepler!


And to enter to win?  Reds and readers, just tell us in the comments who you might imagine playing the role of Joona Linna in an (imaginary) movie.  (I imagine Harrison Ford. But then, I always do.)


And an extra entry if you tell us something about Sweden—have you been there?


(When I went, so long ago, I took a tour of..someplace, and there was one bus with a placard in the window that read: Special bus for Camerafans. I thought—where is Camerafans?)


75 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Lars, on your newest book . . . this excerpt is quite intriguing and I’m really looking forward to reading "The Mirror Man."

    Have I ever been to Sweden? Sadly, no, but perhaps someday when we are allowed to travel freely again . . . .

    I have to agree with Harrison Ford, Hank . . . but how about Morgan Freeman . . . or perhaps George Clooney????

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    1. Oh, Joan, you are a GENIUS! Both of those are SO brilliant!

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  2. I'm always bad at casting characters in books, mainly because I don't see characters as actors. So I'll go with Harrison Ford, too. Why not? Hank can't be wrong, right?

    I'd love to go to Sweden sometime. Fiction works if not in real life.

    And, to circle back to Monday's topic, guess who played Wordle for the first time on Wednesday. Yes, I gave in to peer pressure. Did pretty well, so we will see if I can continue doing well or not.

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  3. That is an intriguing excerpt, as was the hunt for the author(s)!

    I was in Uppsala for a conference, and in Stockholm some years later with my baby. My friend and I took her young son and mine to a big anti-nuclear rally downtown. We had her big pram, and the bus driver jumped down to help lift it into the bus. Karin's friends had a toddler, and the father had had a full year of paid paternity leave. There were lots of lovely coffee shops, also accommodating to little children. Much to be impressed with!

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    1. Yes, apparently it was quite the media adventure! Fantastic.

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  4. That's a vivid scene with me definitely wanting to know more!

    If Joona Linna is a senior detective, then I choose either Christoph Waltz or Jared Harris for the role.
    Have not been to Sweden yet, but it's on my wishlist when we can travel again.

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  5. How about Liam Neeson as the lead? I am dying to go to Sweden, though I feel that I've been there after watching The Sandhamn Murders. In fact Jakob Cedergren would be perfect!

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    1. Lucy, I love the Sandhamn books but I didn’t know there was a TV series about them.

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    2. Oh, I don’t know those books or that show? On to check it out!
      And of course Liam Neeson! Perfect.

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  6. Very gripping excerpt. I will definitely put Lars Kepler on my list. I have very much enjoyed some of the Detective Inspector Irene Huss books by Helene Tursten and would love to go to Sweden. How bout Benedict Cumberbatch for the role of Joona Linna?

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    1. Oh, very interesting choice! But you can picture it, right? Totally!

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  7. I'm no good at picking actors, especially since I never know who's popular now. So I'll agree on Harrison Ford, since I actually know who that is and who doesn't love Indiana Jones!

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    1. I so agree… I am woefully behind on current famous people :-)!

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  8. Jens Hultén was born on December 6, 1963 in Stockholm as Jens Charley Hultén. He is an actor, known for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015), Skyfall (2012) and Alpha (2018).

    Hulten has a cop look about him. His stare is penetrating, his build is athletic. I have not read Lar Kepler before (I am about too) so I don't know their concept of the character.

    One other question, if I may, who did the translation, from Swedish to English? Whoever it was, they did a really good job.

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    1. Oh! Let me find out… I just read a book called the red queen, which was originally in Spanish, and I was so impressed by the translation that I included that in my blurb! The book is fantastic, by the way .

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    2. What a great suggestion, Coralee! I just looked him up.

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  9. Welcome Alexandra and Alexander !
    After the snippet, I have to know more and get The Mirror Man.
    I will have to read the book before forging an image of Joan in my head to pick up an actor.

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    1. Well, they will be thrilled that you are reading the book! Hooray!

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  10. Welcome to JRW, Alexandra and Alexander. Loved the snippet of The Mirror Man. It must be extremely unsettling to sit watching film of someone whom you know is about to die. It takes a certain kind of toughness inside to be a detective. I'd cast Daniel Craig, although Hank is right that Harrison Ford fits any role, except that he may not pass for fifty anymore.

    I have been to Sweden, and I have a story about that trip. It was the summer of 1973 and my friend Sandy (we taught at the same elementary school) and I bought Eurail passes and copies of Europe on $5 a Day. Sweden was on our itinerary. Sandy, the school art teacher, was the perfect companion for this trip. She was cheerful, had a great sense of humor and was knew all about the art we'd be seeing. We planned to visit museums and all kinds of cultural sites were on our list. Sandy was a simply gorgeous blond, blue-eyed young woman while I am brown-haired, brown-eyed and olive skinned. We wore our hair long, were each about 5'4" and both of us weighed less than 120. We had already had men coming after Sandy in the countries where blonds are rare. I'd been to Europe before, with my blond, stepmother and stepsister and knew that wherever I went, people would be guessing my origin.

    In Stockholm, we were to stay in a room in someone's apartment. We left the train station in the early morning, carrying our suitcases and shoulder bags, and trudged towards the apartment. We usually walked if we could in every city. Suddenly two scruffy, raggedy men jumped up from a stoop and grabbed on to me shouting, "Italiano, Italiano!!" The scene was positively hysterical. Sandy was swatting at them and pulling on my other arm yelling, "She's not Italian, she's American!" The tug of war, with me in the middle, lasted several minutes and I am so sorry to say that of all the cultural sights and art and food, that is the one thing I remember best about my visit to Sweden.

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    1. What a crazy scene! And what a truly fun memory… Hilarious! But I hope it wasn’t scary…

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  11. There's such a sense of melancholy in this scene--watching this woman go to her death. Brilliant! Since I don't know the character of Joon, not his age, etc., it's hard to cast an actor--but my vote goes to Viggo Mortensen.

    And congratulations to the authors and the translator--how hard is it to let your work be given into the hands of someone to translate into other languages? Especially if you aren't familiar with the language?

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  12. Years ago I was invited to Sweden by the Husqvarna sewing machine company--many sewing educators were back then. Every other year the company would host teachers from all over the world to tour the headquarters and factories, and then to have outings around the country. At the time I could not afford to pay for the travel to Europe and shortly after that the company was bought or otherwise merged and they stopped the tours. I later regretted not trying harder to find a way to go, and have not had the opportunity since.

    For now, armchair travel is the most I can manage, and The Mirror Man sounds like a great way to enter the country without risk.

    I'd love to know how it felt to be the center of a crazy author manhunt. A profiler! What did they get right, or very wrong?

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    1. Someday you will go! And that is very cool to be invited. Hasn’t the profile or thing come under some criticism now? Something in the back of my mind says so…

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    2. Interesting, Hank. I've always wondered about it, since it seems so subjective.

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    3. Yes it has, the sample was based on incarcerated individuals who are not prone to tell the truth.

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  13. Never been to Sweden. Never been to Norway. My grandpa was first generation American, his parents were from Norway, or was it Norway? When I looked, up what I assume is, the family lumber mill, in Wisconsin, the history says Isaak Isaakson was from Sweden. Hmm, Norway and Sweden were once joined as one country, I know that, so which was it? It's it a mystery or family lore getting mixed up by the storyteller?

    Who should play Joona? Does the actor need to be alive today. Imaginary movie - how about Sean Connery, if he was still alive?

    Adding Lars Kepler to my list of authors. This book sounds to great. I want to check out the other books they have written.

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    1. I love your stream of consciousness! xxx I love the Sean Connery idea---and we said it was imaginary, right?

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  14. I clicked the link to Joona Linna and found the amazing website for your books - wow! I have never been to Sweden - the closest I came was Denmark, where I was actually mistaken for being Swedish! I’m not sure who I’d cast as Joona, as I haven’t read a description of him and don’t know anything about him … yet, but don’t quite see him being played by 79 year old Harrison Ford (sorry!). I’ll have to read your books to remedy this situation ~

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  15. I have never visited Sweden but hope to one day soon. An actor for the role would be Gerard Butler. This thriller is unique and amazing.

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    1. SO good. The whole thing is intense and creepy and fabulous.

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  16. This is so exciting! Joona Linna - hmm craggy and scandinavian. Steve McQueen... if we still had him around.

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    1. Wouldn't that have been great? With those eyes.... And yes, it's an imaginary movie. SO it could be anyone. (But probably not Cary Grant...:-))

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  17. Excellent excerpt, and it reminded me of an article about Lars Kepler in Publishers Weekly. Their first books had been published in the US, but were selling far less than their agent thought they should, given their massive success elsewhere (and, I assume, the proven American fondness for Scandinavian noir.) So he read the American books and discovered the translations were bad. Evidently, the "voice" sounded nothing like the authentic Kepler voice.
    So the agent bought the rights back from the American publisher, hired a UK translator, Neil Smith, to re-translate the books, and THEN sold the series back in the US to a different publisher.

    So if you're going to look for their backlist, look for the books published by Knopf, otherwise you won't be getting the full Lars Kepler experience!

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    1. Fascinating, Julia. I agree that a translation must get the "voice" right or it's wasted. It would be interesting for us to compare the two translations, not for a whole book, but possibly just to see the change.
      Speaking of that, Rhys speaks several languages and I wonder if she has ever read one of the translations of her books.
      Rhys, have you done that? What did you think?

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    2. That's fascinating, Julia, that the translation can make such a difference. I do wonder if my "voice" comes across better in some languages than in others.

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    3. WOW. That is an amazing--and chilling--realization!

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  18. Oh, and I've been streaming A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and now I see Matthew Goode as perfect for a world-weary Stockholm cop.

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  19. I really think it should be a Scandinavian actor. I looked up Lucy's suggestion, Jakob Cedergren, and he would be fabulous!! Now I'm going to look up The Sandhamn Murders, and The Mirror Man!

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    1. I just looked him up, too! Where else but Jungle Red could you get to look up movie stars as part of "work"? :-)

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  20. Thanks for the excerpt!

    My mental image of this character is Sting, but I don't think he can act.

    The closest I have come to Sweden was an acquaintance with a woman in the 90s when we were both exchange students in England. I was young and straight out of the boondocks. She was older and urbane. She was warm and generous. She was the most common-sense person I had ever met. She introduced me to clogs and the idea that one could wear more than one pair of socks at a time.

    I have one Swedish person I would like to see. Nicklas Edin, a curler. I don't have to meet him, I'd just like to see him play. Since I'm in Canada, that might even happen. Oh, sorry. We were talking about books.

    If not Sting, then Jonny Lee Miller.

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    1. Well, I saw Sting on Broadway in his musical The Last Ship. I loved it! But I'm not sure it was because of his acting. But he was SO cool!

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    2. We also saw The Last Ship! We really enjoyed it, quite moving; it exceeded my expectations (perhaps because I didn't now what to expect). He was very nice post-show at the stage door.

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    3. Oh, you saw him! I waited, too, then my friends made me leave. Yes, I really loved it. But the plot...I mean, where was the ship GOING? and why? But whatever.

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  21. I’ve read a couple in the series and envisioned Daniel Craig. Harrison Ford is too American for the story. For me at least.

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  22. Hi, Congratulations on your new book! I have been fortunate to have listened and watched an interview with both of them on FB, I really enjoyed it and they seem like a great couple, how awesome that they write books together! I have to agree with Harrison Ford, he would be great for the part! I have never been to Sweden, but I think it would be a beautiful place to visit. Have a great weekend and stay safe. aliciabhaney(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

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    1. Alicia! SO great to see you! I will have to go find that interview!

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  23. As to casting: Hugh Jackman.
    As to Sweden: most, if not all, my knowledge is attributed to Stieg Larsson.

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  24. I was delighted to meet Alexandra and Alexander at Bouchercon, in Dallas I think. What great fun they are! I finished The Mirror Man a couple of nights ago, reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon But I’d still treasure a signed copy. And they told me the source of the name “Lars Kepler,”. I hope they will share that here

    What a page turner. What a denouement. What a book! Waiting for more of Joona Linna

    Also, I recall that Alexandra, who is fluent in English, is the translator.

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    1. And Stanley Tucci for Joona Linna. Because he was great in Fortitude and because I done know a single Finnish actor. So there

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    2. Ann, I LOVED Tucci in Fortitude. And I wished I'd quit after that season:-)

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    3. “And so Lars Kepler was born. The name Lars was a homage to Stieg Larsson, while Kepler was a nod in the direction of the scientist, Johannes Kepler”

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  25. Ooo, spooky! Congratulations, Lars (or Alexandra and Alexander)!

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  26. Oh, The Mirror Man sounds so good. I looked it up and found that it's #8 in the Joona Linna series. So, I have to ask. Can this one be read as a stand-alone novel, or is it important to have read the previous seven books?

    I can imagine Daniel Craig or Jeff Bridges or Pierce Brosnan or Liam Neeson playing the part of Joona.

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  27. Oooh, sounds intriguing! I'm with Flora and Kathy's suggestions, esp. Viggo, Daniel or Liam. In a Geography class we drew names of countries to learn about, write a report & include their flag. I got Sweden, so off to the library and the encyclopedia I headed. I recall mentioning the beautiful actress Ingrid Bergman...and I got an A on my paper!

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  28. This is thrilling!!! I loved The Hypnotist and have been a huge fan ever since! Delightful to have you here today!

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  29. Welcome to Jungle Reds!

    A social media blogger loves your books and I have been following Abby's book recommendations. I discovered your books when she mentioned how much she loves your books.

    Thinking Viggo or Alexander Skarsgard or the Scandinavian actor married to Maggie Gylenhaal would be perfect for the role.

    Diana

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